Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Peta Mullens won the Silver Medal in the Australian National Criterium Championships in a close sprint at the end of the 33km race in downtown Ballarat, Victoria.
The 25-year-old Victorian was just pipped on the line by New South Wales’ Sarah Roy (Vienne Futuroscope), with former Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products) taking third.
The 52-minute race, on Ballarat’s Sturt Street, saw a number of crashes that took out a number of the peloton’s big names, as Mullens explained afterwards.
"This left left the race wide open for me,” she said. “As a one-out rider I knew I had to stay out of trouble and look after myself for a hopeful and potential sprint finish, so I watched the moves and rode myself into position in the final few laps.
“I let Sarah get the jump on me and we both pushed the wind the whole straight but she was just too strong,” Mullens added.
The result comes after a successful, but tough Bay Crits campaign for Mullens and Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, where the Victorian won the sprints jersey for herself after working hard for teammate Giorgia Bronzini.
"For me, I'm pleased with my result as I've had a tough week battling an old back injury that has flared up off the tail end of Bay Crits,” Mullens explained. “I'm hoping it won't affect my performance in Saturdays road race where I hope to better my result of 10th last year."
Mullens will once again be the lone Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider in Saturday’s 10km road race in Buninyong, Victoria, but is confident in the face of some of Australia’s most powerful teams.
"If the race plays into my hands I may even see myself on the podium again, but with the Orica-AIS Women's team yet to snatch a win at these Championships I'm sure they'll be on a mission."
1. Sarah Roy (Vienne Futuroscope)
2. Peta Mullens (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products)
Photo credit: Jarrod Partridge/Peloton Café
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