Soeder claims Geelong Tour crown
Austrian Christiane Soeder (Cervelo - Lifeforce) has been crowned the 2008 Geelong Tour Champion after a strong performance in the opening time trial set her up with an unbeatable lead.
Soeder held a 25 second lead over Germany's Ina Teutenberg (Team High Road) going into today's 91.2 kilometre Barwon Heads stage contested over six laps of a 15.2km course in blustery conditions. Soeder suffered a mid race puncture but her team mates rallied to tow her back up to the bunch.
Teutenberg claimed the stage win (2:32:16) and ten second bonus with Soeder crossing five seconds later in 23rd place but it was enough for the Austrian to take the win. Her final race time of 4:41:14 gave her a winning margin of 10 seconds over her German rival with Sweden's Susanne Ljungskog (Menikini Selle Italia) third overall at 25 seconds.
"I am really happy," said 33 year old Soeder. "It was for me a big victory, the first time I could win a tour, but it was a victory for the whole team.
"It is not nice if you have a puncture, but my team did a great job today," she added.
In a reversal of yesterday's Stage Two placings, Teutenberg crossed the line ahead of her team mate Australian Oenone Wood, with Regina Schleicher (Equipe Nurnberger) third.
The final stage saw a series of early attacks but Cervelo LifeForce regained control on the final lap bringing the race back together at which point the Team High Road train went into action to set up their sprinters.
"It all worked out perfectly as we (Team High Road) had the right amount of people there in the end," said Teutenberg. "But I was kind of running out of gears and worried about getting past Oenone."
Team High Road's Linda Villumsen retained the lead in the Best Young Rider classification with her 11th placing overall while Wood was crowned the Sprint Queen of the Tour claiming 18 points from Teutenberg on 14 points.
Team High Road's sprint strength in the Geelong Tour marks Wood and Teutenberg as favourites for the opening round of the 2008 UCI Women's Road Cycling World Cup Series being staged at Waterfront Geelong this Sunday from 10.30am.
"I think we have ridden really well in the past two stages and it has given me a lot of confidence that all the girls are in really good shape," said Wood, the 2008 Australian road race Champion.
"Sunday's a new race and everyone gets fitter after every race, but we pretty much have someone for every situation so we should have a very good race," Teutenberg added.
The Geelong World Cup is the feature event in the Wheels on Waterfront Geelong festival of sport and family activities incorporating the Geelong World Cup Challenge where enthusiasts can test themselves over an 80km course and the FREE Geelong Advertiser Family Fun Ride that provides an opportunity for the whole family to ride a lap of the World Cup course.
The race action will be shown live on a big screen with on-course commentary. Free family fun will be available in Steampacket Gardens including jumping castles, face painting plus games and activities with the Australian Sports Commission's Active After School crew.
For further information please visit www.geelongworldcup.com