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Dream run for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling at NSW Grand Prix
Lauren Kitchen has taken out the first round of the NSW Grand Prix with an impressive solo victory in Cronulla. The 23-year-old stormed away from her lead group to claim victory ahead of her team mates Charlotte Becker and Emily Collins, making it a clean podium sweep for the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team.
"The conditions were really tough out there today," explained Kitchen. "Our plan was to be aggressive as we had the numbers and the strength to be able to do so. We didn't want to sit in and wait for the race to unfold, so we took charge of the race right from the start."
The dominant Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team animated the race from the gun with Peta Mullens and Lauren Kitchen launching repeated attacks to string out the peloton. A counterattack by Kitchen half way through the 15 lap race saw her gain a solo lead over the lead peloton which grew quickly to half a lap.
Behind her, a strong chase grouped formed containing teammates Peta Mullens and Charlotte Becker as well as Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist Chloe Hosking, Specialized-lululemon's Loren Rowney and New Zealander Sophie Williamson.
Recognising the threat up ahead, Tiffany Cromwell (Orica-AIS) and Sarah Roy (Roxsolt Sydney Uni) went in pursuit of the leaders with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's newly crowned New Zealand National Criterium Champion neatly tucked away in tow.
With 4 laps remaining, Kitchen had re-joined the front group, only to launch herself off the front of the group again with just under 2 laps to make what would be the winning move of the day.
"Going up the hill on the last lap and saw the gap, I knew that if I put my head down I could back myself for the win," said Kitchen. "I was very happy with how we rode together as a team and I'm very happy to have crossed the line first, but it could have been any one of us out there today."
Becker jumped away early in the sprint to take out second place whilst Collins won the bunch kick for third.
Team owner and manager Rochelle Gilmore, who also featured in the race, couldn't have been happier with the day's result in her hometown and paid tribute to her team's tremendous efforts to have been able to win in such a dominating fashion.
"I'm extremely proud of how the team performed today," explained Gilmore. "I was really confident when I saw that we had three riders in the break, then four when Emily joined the front group. Knowing that I have very smart and educated bike riders in my team I felt very confident with the situation that unfolded. Even though we are a strong international team expected to win, I know that each of our riders had to work very hard to dominate in the conditions that they did out there today."
The Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team will look to defend their lead in the NSW Grand Prix as the race moves to its final stage in Wollongong tomorrow. For more information on the race visit [http://www.nswgrandprixcycling.com.au/]
Lauren Kitchen (Wiggle Honda)
Charlotte Becker (Wiggle Honda)
Emily Collins (Wiggle Honda)
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS