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  Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Preview  
  Another strong field for the second round of the 2015 National Road Series following on from the Santos Women's Tour. Orica-AIS have elected not to race but Wiggle DownUnder is here as it the Roxsolt squad full of riders from the professional European peloton.

NRS Standings

After the Santos Women's Tour the rankings are dominated by riders who will not be riding the full season. Ruth Corset and Jenelle Crooks have picked up a few important early season points. Series leader Melissa Hoskins is not riding and with only seven points for the win here there is nobody riding who can take it off her.

1 Melissa HOSKINS 19
2 Valentina SCANDOLARA 17
3 Loren ROWNEY 8
4 Ruth CORSET 7
5 Amanda SPRATT 6
6 Giorgia BRONZINI 6
7 Rachel NEYLAN 5
8 Jenelle CROOKS 4
9 Miranda GRIFFITHS 3
10 Lizzie WILLIAMS 2

The Route

It might be called the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race but actually very little of it is run on the Great Ocean Road. The race starts and finishes in Geelong, the location of the finish of the 2010 World Championships.

The 113km race starts off relatively easy with around 50km of flattish roads with only some very minor undulation. Important to note though much of kilometres 20-40 is run along the coast between 13th Beach and Bells Beach. While the roads there might not be hilly wind could be a factor. Expect the stronger teams especially Wiggle DownUnder and Roxsolt to take advantage of any wind.

The second half of the race is where the climbers will shine. At around the 50km mark there is a short sharp climb and over the top there is rolling roads before the Bells Beach Rd climb and the only QoM point in the race after 57km.

Rolling roads continue to around the 85 kilometre mark before it is up and down all the way to the finish. Expect the attacks to come thick and fast in the final 25km and riders will be tested not just uphill but on the descents as well.

The final climb tops around with around 5 kilometres remaining. Most of which is a fast downhill. A solo rider or a small group who goes over the top could well hold any advantage to the line. The final two kilometres are on flat roads setting up a potential small group sprint finish.


Sprint Points
Sprint 1: 24km - Hitchcock Ave, Barwon Heads
Sprint 2: 46km - The Esplanade, Torquay

QoM Points
QoM: 57km - Bells Beach Rd, Torquay

The Contenders

Start list available here

Orica-AIS dominated the Santos Women's Tour but their absence leaves a much more open field. Wiggle Down Under are here but they again bring a team of sprinters. Roxsolt is here with their traditional strong teams but the NRS is well represented as well. The new High5 Dream Team on paper has a very young but talented line-up and Holden Women's Cycling Team and Specialized-Securitor also bring strong teams.


Any team that includes Tiffany Cromwell, Jo Hogan, Loren Rowney, Carlee Taylor and Lucy Martin you should take note of. Cromwell is Australia's top ranked female rider and finished fifth at the World Championships in 2014. Cromwell's form at the Nationals and Santos Women's Tour was not her best so don't expect to see a flying Cromwell here. Despite her height Loren Rowney is a rider that still manages to find herself a little under the radar. Packs a decent sprint but can also climb reasonably well. Finished fourth on the Queen Stage of the Santos Women's Tour and then due to a split on the final stage found herself on the overall podium. Has the confidence of a strong result and 2015 could be the year Rowney steps up.

Not a team short of options as they also have Carlee Taylor. A pure climber but also has the ability to sit on the front and ride all day. The up and down nature of the course gives her plenty of opportunity to attack knowing that should it come back together Loren Rowney could be an ace up the teams sleeve.

Jo Hogan is a fourth card the team has to play, has finished on the podium at the National Championships twice and finished in the main bunch this year. A strong all rounder if she gets a gap could be hard to bring back.

High5 Dream Team

Ellen Skerritt set the NRS on fire last year when she returned mid season. Finished second overall to then teammate Ruth Corset in the overall rankings. Comes in off silver in the under 23 time trial and bronze in the road race at the National Championships. Won Amy's Otway Classic and the National Capital Tour last year and this is another course that suits her. Give her an inch on one of the climbs and you quite possibly wont see her again.

A young team but in Tessa Fabry and Kendelle Hodges they have yet another two cards to play. Hodges won a stage of the Tour of Murray River last year before her stint with the Australian development team in Europe. Her time in Europe ended early with a broken collarbone but the early end of the season might have been to her benefit this year when she won the sprint for fifth at the National Championships.

Tessa Fabry did one better at the National Championships finishing in fourth. All four were front group at the Nationals and with supercoach Donna Rae-Szalinski behind them expect to see them produce some strong results.

Holden Women's Cycling Team

The team dominated last year but have lost two of their key riders in Ruth Corset and Ellen Skerritt. Miranda Griffiths dominated the Tour of Bright at the end of 2014 winning both road stages. Few in the field will be able to out climb her and if she gets a gap could well time trial to victory.

Shannon Malseed took out the under 23 criterium at the National Championships before surprising everyone and backing up to do the double. Was off the back on the climb on the final two laps and the up and down nature of the final half of the race could prove to be too much.


The little climbing talent that is Anna Leeza-Hull is ready to step up further in 2014. Still a junior and looked set to podium in her first NRS race last year at Mersey Valley Tour before a crash forced her to abandon. Hull bounced back just weeks later finishing third at the Battle on the Border weeks later. Claimed bronze in the junior time trial at the World Championships before returning to Australia and taking fourth at the Tour of Bright. A strong showing, just slightly off the pace at the Santos Women's Tour but could produce a strong result here.

Michaela Parsons is another young rider looking to step up this year. The 20 year old is new to the sport and is starting her first full season in the NRS. Climbed her way to sixth at the Tour of Bright in a sign of her strength on the climbs.

Ruth Corset (Total Rush Hyster)

Corset has raced in Europe, been National Champion and a multiple overall winner of the National Road Series and is back to try and defend her series title. Took an early lead over her rivals in the series finishing fourth at the Santos Women's Tour. Also finished eighth at the National Championships and as one of the strongest climbers domestically is a name to watch.

Wiggle Down Under

Wiggle brings a team of sprinters and on a course like this it will be hard for one of their riders to win. Giorgia Bronzini is their standout rider here, dual World Champion and often thought of as a sprinter but climbs very well. Won the Queen stage of the Santos Women's Tour last week ahead of Melissa Hoskins. The constant up and down nature of the final 50km will put Bronzini under pressure and she is unlikely to have many if any teammates to try and drag her back. Depending on the pace it is not out of the question for Bronzini to be in the mix and if she is there will be near impossible to beat in a sprint.

Lucy Bechtel

Bechtel rounded out the podium at the Tour of Bright after finishing second and third on the road stages. A strong climber who will be another to factor in to the final stages of the race.

Other names to watch: Taryn Heather, Verita Stewart, Verita Stewart, Jess Huston, Alex Nicholls, Laura Darlington, Lisa Keeling and Nicole Moerig.
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