Queensland’s Lucy KENNEDY has ridden her way into the history books, taking out the Lexus Of Blackburn Women’s Herald Sun Tour in Churchill this afternoon.
The 30 year old, part of the Australian powerhouse Mitchelton-SCOTT team stormed home to win by 36 seconds over team mate and World Championship silver medallist Amanda SPRATT (Mitchelton-SCOTT) with 2018 winner Brodie CHAPMAN (Team Tibco-SVB) in third place.
The race was blown open just before the final climb, which included a gravel Queen of the Mountain section, as riders including Kennedy’s teammate Gracie Elvin split the peloton in the cross-winds.
As the select leading group hit the climb, Spratt attacked solo before Kennedy and Chapman bridged shortly after.
However Kennedy’s power proved too much for the defending champion – riding solo for the final 15kms of the race.
The former triathlete and cross country runner claiming it was the biggest victory of her short career.
“My single favourite piece of road in the whole world is gravel in Brisbane, so I’ve had a bit of practice.”
‘”It’s awesome to be able to cross the line and go and hug Gerry (Ryan – team owner) … it’s really, really special to win at home, this is by far my biggest win in Australia, so I was just… it feels amazing. (I feel) pride I guess, you know we are the big Australian team, in Australia, being able to cross the line with your arms in the air feels amazing.'”
“That’s just what’s really cool about this team, everyone’s just so committed and what goes around comes around, some races you work hard for someone else and other days you get the opportunity to get everyone to work for you and you don’t feel pressured to pull it off but when everyone’s so committed you just really want to.”
Spratt credited Kennedy’s resilience after an injury plagued 2018 season.
“The plan was just to make it as hard as we could with the team as soon as we hit the last climb. The girls did an absolutely amazing job and Lucy and I were protected for that final climb and then just make it as hard as possible. I went first and then Lucy came over the top off me.
“She was really strong today, she’s been building up over the summer and everyone in the team was so happy for her she had a pretty horrible season last year kept crashing, came back, kept crashing came back, every time she came back strong it’s just a really nice reward and showing that she’s really there now.”
Stage 1 winner Chloe Hosking cleaned up the two intermediate sprints to claim the Gatorade Sprint Classification.
“Coming away with the green jersey is the most we could have hoped for, I’m really satisfied with it, I was really happy with my girls upon until about 20k to go and then we’d just used all our matches so… we’re using this as preparation for Europe so I think we can take a lot of positives away from it. I think the race is growing every year and it’s exciting, there were two long road stages this year, I thought it was great.”