PIC BY WOMENSCYCLING.NET
Ten-time German champion Ina Teutenberg (T-Mobile), 31, claimed opening honours in the 2006 UCI Women's Road Cycling World Cup Series with a sprint victory on the 119km (eight-lap) course in Geelong, Australia on Saturday. Teutenberg proved the most powerful finisher over the final 200 metres, holding off Japan's Miho Oki (Nobili Rubinetterie) and 2006 Australian road champion Kate Bates (Team Nrnberger), who collected the minor placings.
"It doesn't get any better than winning the first World Cup," said Teutenberg. "The team can relax now a little bit until we go back to Europe."
World number one Oenone Wood (Nrnberger), who won the World Cup series in 2004 and 2005, launched a solo attack on the last lap, threatening to ride away with another victory to go with her 2004 Geelong win. But T-Mobile's Judith Arndt and the Univega team, who were trying to set up 2003 World Cup champion Nicole Cooke for the final sprint, reeled in Wood with two kilometres to go to the finish.
"Oenone did an amazing attack on the last lap and I thought I did pretty good to get up the hill in like second or third position," said Teutenberg. "She was just amazing going up there, but I think it was just a little too windy on the downhill (for her to stay away).
"She's so strong but the field was just so much faster on the run in and it's hard by yourself," explained Teutenberg. "Univega and Judith (Arndt) pretty much rode her in until we came to the ocean road and then she (Wood) helped Kate (Bates) get into the right position for the sprint, but Kate went a little too early and I was able to jump on her and bring it home the last hundred metres."
"Ina came past me like I was standing still, so she's the best bike rider out there today and we can only be happy that we've put all our cards on the table," said Bates, who had hoped for a win but had to be satisfied with her third place. "It's bike riding, it's a long season and I think that Nrnberg and T-Mobile are going to be head to head the whole year.
"It really depends on T-Mobile's tactics but we'll be riding a little bit more for race wins rather than conservatively for the overall," said Bates. "We've got the world champion (Regina Schleicher) in our team who's not even here this week."
Wood, who last week claimed overall honours in the Geelong Tour for the third straight year, said the team plan for the day had been for her to try to surprise the field with an attack on the final climb. "You've gotta give it a go and I mean our team plan was to have me go on that last hill and have Kate waiting there for the sprint. but today she got boxed in and she had to sprint from four hundred metres out so didn't have enough to come around Ina today," said Wood. "It could have worked, could have been the other way.
"I didn't actually realise how much of a gap I had until just at that top corner before you turn right, and then I realised I had a bit of a gap there, kept going but unfortunately I got chased back," added Wood, who last year won the series crown without winning any of the individual events. "I want to have a really good go of this season and be more aggressive in racing and this is just the start of it - 100 per cent go for the win, that's how our team want to race this year, we want to win races. Last year I sort of sat in waiting for sprints and I didn't win a World Cup (round) so this year I want to win a World Cup (round)."
The cyclists now head to New Zealand for the second round being raced in Wellington next Sunday.
1 Ina Teutenberg (Ger) T-Mobile 119km in 3.08.51 (37.81kph)
2 Miho Oki (Jpn) Nobili Rubinetterie
3 Katherine Bates (Aus) Nrnberger Versicherung
4 Tina Mayola-Pic (USA) USA
5 Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Safi Pasta Zara
6 Gina Grain (Can) Giant
7 Annette Beutler (Swi) Elk Haus
8 Nicole Cooke (GBr) Univega
9 Tamara Boyd (NZ) Bike New Zealand
10 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZ) Univega
PIC BY WOMENSCYCLING.NET