Hannah Gumbley takes third in the bunch sprint good for fifth place from the 30-strong field
The Skoda Criterium National Championships in Takapuna, New Zealand on Friday served as the official season-opener for #RoxsoltLadies. Georgia Catterick, Hannah Gumbley and Ruby Livingstone pulled on their freshly delivered Seight kits to toe the line in the small but mighty open women’s race. Defending champion Rushlee Buchanan (UnitedhealthCare) soloed to victory from a two-rider breakaway while Gumbley sprinted to second from a field battling it out for the final spot on the podium. Livingstone managed seventh place to give #Roxsolt Ladies two in the top ten.
“I’m very happy with what I saw today,” said team manager Kelvin Rundle. “Roxsolt rode a fantastic race tonight. The goal in our first outing was twofold. We wanted to communicate well and have fun while chasing the best possible result. We exceeded expectations on both fronts.”
The elite women lined up for their 35 minute race in what the New Zealanders describe as “mint conditions”, according to Rundle, who was on the ground to direct his team’s effort.
“There was a little bit of a breeze, and it was sunny - but not too hot,” noted Rundle. “It was a short race over a flowing course. The laps were fairly short and not overly technical.”
#RoxsoltLadies animated the early action. Gumbley was the first rider to put in an attack. Her acceleration immediately translated into a small gap, and the 18-year-old set out to stretch out her advantage. Within one lap, Gumbley had gained 15 seconds over the chasing field.
A prime lap incentivised the peloton to pick up the chase. At the mid-point of the 35-minute race, the field was back together. Buchanan took advantage of the slight lull in the action to make her move, and Mikayla Harvey (Black Magic) jumped to respond. With three laps remaining, the duo had pocketed nearly 20 seconds.
“As defending champion, Rushlee did all the work,” explained Rundle. “Ruby chased for about a lap, but I called her off when I saw that no one was willing to collaborate. We don’t have a pure sprinter, and it didn’t make much sense for us to do the work for the teams who had better options than we do in a field sprint.”
Buchanan parlayed her mid-race attack into her fourth elite national title ahead of Harvey. Madison Farrant won the bunch sprint to snag the final spot on the podium. Gumbley narrowly missed the podium in her first elite championships.
“It’s a good result for Hannah and a strong start for the team,” Rundle said. “We have our first race under our belt. We achieved our objectives. Life is good.”
On Sunday, Livingstone raced again to take first female in the Fred Ogle memorial race and Ella Scanlan-Bloor continued to mark her return to track with 2nd in the New South Wales Omnium Championship missing out on the top spot by a single point.
The next races for #RoxsoltLadies is the Taupo Challenge where Ruby Livingstone is looking to defend her 2014 title, followed by The Tour of Bright from December 4-6.