18 May 2014
Bootjack Road Race
Stage 4, Mariposa Women’s Stage Race
Melanie Wong (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing) soloed for close to 75% of today’s P/1/2 Bootjack Road Race and went on to win a stage of the Mariposa Women’s Stage Race.
Going into the race, the ICE Sportswear versus Joanna Dahl Stage Race was very much in the Metromint racer’s favour. Dahl’s general classification lead of 2m 31s was a difficult ask of anybody over the 97km race distance. Therefore, the last of the spoils was the race itself and ICE Sportswear were determined to send out riders and cover Dahl.
Wong quickly started building a big lead early in the second lap, over her teammate Sara Bird and Dahl, and reached 1m 40s at the halfway mark of the race on the backside of the course.
“I attacked at the base of the climb at the second lap,” described Wong. “That was our cards to play. We knew if I could get off then Joanna [Dahl] would have a hard time chasing me or she would let me go because I was far down in the standings already. We hoped that if I was caught, Sara [Bird], my team mate would launch off and we would get another really good break going.”
With the big lead built up, Wong said “It became a big staying point to keep going. It was nerve-racking at times. It was great to have the time gaps told to me but after a while it was always look over your shoulder to make sure nobody’s there. I really tried to keep a good steady tempo that I knew I could maintain.”
At the finish line, the gap closed down to 15 seconds between Bird and Wong. “I knew they were coming up that close,” continued Wong, “and at one point I even had them in eye shot. At that point my legs were pretty much jello so I put my head down and said to myself ‘OK, here we go, let’s do another interval and push as hard as we can go.’ I knew they were closing the gap and where I was at in the standings it didn’t really matter as long as I got across the line.”
Despite willing to fall to team tactics, Wong took the much deserved win after staying out front for the better part of 75km.
1. Melanie Wong (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing), 3h 32m 7s
2. Sara Bird (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing), +15s
3. Joanna Dahl (Metromint Cycling), same time
4. Emily Matheu (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing), +22m 46s
5. Jane Despas (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing), DNF
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