Katheryn Curi-Mattis of the Webcor Builders team took the biggest win of her career after outsprinting breakaway companion Emma Rickards (Cervelo-Lifeforce) in the first round of the women's world cup in Geelong, Australia. The pair broke clear during the third lap and held off the fast moving peloton, which was led home by Ina Teutenberg at 1'08 at the finish.
"It's a great way to kick off the year, I am still speechless," Mattis said shortly after receiving the first leader's jersey in this year's world cup.
With the High Road team expected to set the pace for most of the race, the pair was never expected to hold off the peloton, but as they approached the final lap with over three minutes in hand it became obvious that High Road and the other sprinters teams had left it too late.
Mattis was the first to attack in the final lap, testing her opponent's legs as they neared the top of the climb. But Rickards was still riding well and was easily able to jump on her wheel. From here the pair rode together to the finish, only starting to play a game of cat and mouse in the final kilometre, at one stage coming to a complete stand still. But with a two minute advantage, even this move was not enough for the peloton to shut the break down, and with 100 meters to go, Mattis opened up her sprint to take her first world cup race.
"Coming into the roundabout with about a kilometre to go, I swung right and got her in front of me and then we were kind of doing a little bit of track standing," Mattis explained of the run to the line. "I was certainly nervous about the charging peloton but I think we had about two minutes. I haven't been in a match sprint situation before so I just tried to be patient and I jumped with about 200m to go and just held her off.
"This is definitely my top win for me. In 2005 I won the National championship [USA] on the road which at the time was probably the best. I don't think of myself as a one day racer. I love stage racing but this is definitely the biggest win," she said.
Perhaps the most important outcome of this victory is that Curi-Mattis has now fulfilled the selection criteria for the US Olympic team - an important feat because the competition for the three spots available to the USA is strong this year.
Rickards crossed the line, slamming her fist on the handlebar, obviously thinking of what could have been, but after some time to reflect the Australian was gracious in her defeat.
"I am ecstatic that I am on the podium to come second in a World Cup is my best result ever, and definitely coming into the year that is ahead of us," she said.
"It is a great day for me and my team. I think I bashed the handlebars because I knew that I could win this race. When you are that close your perspective changes a bit. Afterwards when you think about it you have to say 'hey it's a world cup and in your home country and your on the podium and that is a great achievement."
Shortly after the pair crossed the line, Teutenberg stormed home to take third place. The German sprinter was not so happy with how the race had unfolded, expecting other teams to help take control in the final few laps.
"It's a bit frustrating because there are a lot of other sprinters in there and yeah, we did win the last two stages [of the Geelong women's tour] but it's a different sprint and bike race. They said that they would help us and there was a little bit of help but not much," she said.
"We did everything that we could, the girls were falling off their bikes after the race, and they did everything that we could ask for. We probably just miscalculated so next time we just have to start a bit earlier."
|1 Katheryn Mattis (USA|Webcor Builders Cycling Team)||3:04:46|
|2 Emma Rickards (Aus|Cervelo Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team)|
|3 Ina Teutenberg (Ger|Team High Road)||0:01:08|
|4 Rochelle Gilmore (Aus|Menikini Selle Italia)|
|5 Regina Schleicher (Ger|Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung)|
|6 Suzanne De Goede (Ned|Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung)|
|7 Tiffany Cromwell (Aus|Australian National Team)|
|8 Charlotte Becker (Ger|Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung)|
|9 Gina Grain (Can|Webcor Builders Cycling Team)|
|10 Sarah Düster (Ger|Cervelo-Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team)|
For full results, report and photos, visit Cyclingews.com