Rochelle Gilmore wins women's World Cup opener, Petacchi unstoppable in Valencia - and beyond?, winPIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Australia's Rochelle Gilmore claimed the opening World Cup event of the women's season with victory in round one in Geelong. Riding for the New South Wales Institute of Sport team, the 23 year old outsprinted defending World Cup Series champion and 2004 Geelong round winner Oenone Wood (Team Nurnberger), with Katherine Bates (Ton van Bemmelen) coming home third to give Australia a clean sweep of the podium. Gilmore was keen to make a winning statement after missing out on selection for the Australian team to contest the upcoming track World Championships in Los Angeles. "I wanted to win the scratch race at the World Championships," said Gilmore who failed to convince selectors at last week's Sydney Track World Cup but turned the disappointment into motivation for today. "I won't have that opportunity and it was a real wake-up call. "I guess things worked out well with not getting selected for the Worlds because I can just concentrate on the road," said Gilmore who will travel to New Zealand this week to contest round two next Sunday in Wellington. "I couldn't not now could I, with the jersey! "I'm heading overseas straight after NZ to Safi, the team I rode with in 2003 and I'm looking forward to teaming up with Nicole Cooke (British star and past World Cup Champion) and taking on the world again." 1 Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) NSW Institute of Sport 119km in 3.11.26 (37.30kph) 2 Oenone Wood (Aus) Nurnberger 3 Katherine Bates (Aus) Ton van Bemmelen 4 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZ) Nobili Rubinetterie 5 Miho Oki (Jpn) Japan 6 Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel (Hol) Buitenpoort 7 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Buitenpoort 8 Sara Carrigan (Aus) Ton van Bemmelen 9 Tanja Hennes-Smidt (Ger) Buitenpoort 10 Katie Brown (Aus) AIS - Alessandro Petacchi is looking an increasingly strong favourite for Milan-San Remo on March 19 after taking the overall prize and three stage wins at the Tour of Valencia, which finished on Saturday. Petacchi admitted that he has started this season stronger than ever before, and that he had noticed he was faring better on the climbs than in previous seasons. His victory was effectively sealed in a snow-hit stage four, which saw the race's biggest climb, the Campello missed out because of the poor conditions. Despite the snow and icy conditions, some smaller climbs were left in and as riders debated the desirability of racing over them, the Liberty Seguros team attacked. A clearly irate Petacchi, who was in favour of a suspension of the climbs, was among those who responded, and there was some justice at the end of the day as his Spanish team-mate Juan Antonio Flecha took the stage win. Petacchi led the bunch in behind Flecha, and then took his third stage win in Valencia to wrap up the overall prize. Final overall 1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 19.07.31 2 Aitor Perez (Spa) Spiuk 0.34 3 Toni Colom (Spa) Illes Balears 0.38 4 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 5 Javier Cherro (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana 0.39 6 Xabier Zandio (Spa) Illes Balears 0.43 7 David Mu¤oz (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana 0.45 8 David Etxebarria (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.46 9 Jos Ruiz (Spa) Andalucia-Paul Versan 10 Matthias Kessler (Ger) T-Mobile - Rik Verbrugghe took his first win for his new Quick Step team when he beat Crdit Agricole's Patrice Halgand in a two-sprint at the GP Lugano in Switzerland on Sunday. It was Verbrugghe's first big win since he took a stage of the 2002 Giro d'Italia. 1 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Quick Step 157km in 4.14.19 (37.04kph) 2 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Crdit Agricole 3 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Panaria 0.14 4 Roberto Petito (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 5 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Liquigas-Bianchi 6 David Moncouti (Fra) Cofidis 7 Mikel Astarloza (Fra) Ag2r 0.26 8 Mauro Facci (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.09 9 Ronny Scholz (Ger) Gerolsteiner 10 Matej Mugerli (Slo) Liquigas-Bianchi - British cycling has received a significant sponsorship boost thanks to nutrition specialists Science in Sport, who have announced a four-year deal with the national federation worth £250,000. Dave Brailsford, the British team's performance director, said of the deal: "SIS has a really strong background in cycling and their understanding of our sport combined with their technical knowledge, will keep us at the cutting edge of sports nutrition technology. "We share SIS's belief that nutrition is a key determinant of athletic performance. In order to win Olympic medals our riders have to get their nutritional strategy spot on and in entering this partnership with Science in Sport I believe that we will be making a significant step towards optimising the GB Cycling Team's performances."