Loren Rowney sprints to stage two of the Women’s Tour of New Zealand
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Loren Rowney sprints to stage two of the Women’s Tour of New Zealand

by Ben Atkins at 5:03 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
23-year-old Australian takes first UCI victory; Kristin Armstrong takes third and holds race lead

loren rowneyLoren Rowney (VIS Women) has announced her arrival on the international scene - and her signing with the Specialized-lululemon team - with her first win in a UCI-ranked race. The 23-year-old Australian sprinted to victory in the second stage of the women’s Tour of New Zealand, on the Palmerston North circuit - via Apiti and Kimbolton - ahead of Judith Arndt (Specialized-lululemon) and race leader Kristin Armstrong (United States).

"The race was really aggressive," explained Rowney afterwards. "I attacked after the first intermediate sprint but it came back together so I spent the majority of the day sheltering team captain, Jo Hogan.

"In the last 25km another break went over a 6km climb that had girls like Evelyn Stevens [Rowney's Specialized-lululemon teammate, riding for the US team] and Shara Gillow in it and no-one from my team (VIS) so [Junior World Time Trial Champion] Jessica Allen and I just drove it on the front to bring it back.

"After that the last kilometre was just crazy!" she exclaimed. "The USA was putting what was left of the bunch in the gutter and then Evie attacked with Kristin Armstrong on her wheel. Judith went and so I jumped on her wheel and just went for it with 200m to go.

"I'm really excited to get this stage win, especially after such a hard race and in such good company!"

A wet and windy start to the 137km stage saw Kaytee Boyd (New Zealand), Gracie Elvin (Jayco AIS) and Yuan Yun Yun (China Chongming Island Giant Pro Cycling) escape early on; Yuan crashed on a slippery descent however, leaving just the two riders up front.

Armstrong’s United States team was keeping control of things behind them however, and, as Boyd led Elvin over the top of the KOM climb after 57km, the peloton was just 1’40” back.

"We wanted to make sure we got the break we wanted rather that one which was too large or with GC threats," Armstrong explained to RoadCycling.co.nz.

As the course headed back towards Palmerston the breakaway hit a strong cross/headwind and the USA-led peloton - with Arndt’s GreenEDGE-AIS team in close attendance - steadily reeled them in and the race was all together with 30km to go.

There were a number of further attempts to break away, but the peloton was not willing to let any further riders escape; the pace set by the US team in the tough conditions saw the rear of the peloton splinter however, and there were only 29 riders left as they approached the finish.

The battle for the stage saw Rowney, Arndt and Armstrong detach from the front of the peloton, which was given a time one second behind them. A six second bonus for Arndt sees the World time trial champion move into second place outright, ahead of former teammate Evelyn Stevens (United States); the German only moves two seconds closer to Armstrong however, since four seconds for third - plus the one second time gap - sees the American move five seconds further ahead of the rest of the field.

Despite looking slightly more secure in the race lead though, the Olympic time trial champion is still wary of Arndt and her GreenEDGE-AIS teammates, who occupy three of the top five places overall.

"They have a really strong team,” she said. “They don't have as many numbers as we do but they have been racing the early season races so they are a very fit team right now and I know they want to walk away with the yellow jersey as well,"

Result stage 2
1. Loren Rowney (Aus) VIS Women Team
2. Judith Arndt (Ger) Specialized-lululemon
3. Kristin Armstrong (USA) United States National Team
4. Monia Bacaille (Ita) Italian National Team @ 1s
5. Kaytee Boyd (NZl) New Zealand National Team
6. Sue Forsyth (Aus) NZCT Team
7. Liu Xin (Chn) China Chongming Island Giant Pro Cycling
8. Emma Crum (NZl) Cyclosport NZ
9. Joanne Hogan (Aus) VIS Women Team
10. Kate Chilcott (NZl) New Zealand National Team

Standings after stage 2
1. Kristin Armstrong (USA) United States National Team
2. Judith Arndt (Ger) Specialized-lululemon @ 15s
3. Evelyn Stevens (USA) United States National Team @ 22s
4. Linda Villumsen (NZl) GreenEDGE-AIS @ 27s
5. Shara Gillow (Aus) GreenEDGE-AIS @ 33s
6. Taryn Heather (Aus) Team Jayco-AIS @ 41s
7. Rachel Neylan (Aus) Armstrong Motor Group Team @ 42s
8. Joanne Hogan (Aus) VIS Women Team @ 49s
9. Carla Ryan (Aus) Team Jayco-AIS
10. Carmen Small (USA) Unites States National Team


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