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Edmondson Claims Maiden Road Title as A Clinical Bike Exchange Display Gets Groves His First Elite Championship 

Kaden Groves (Team Bike Exchange) and Annette Edmondson (Australian Cycling Team – Podium Track Endurance) stole the show on Friday evening with stunning victories in the elite criterium at the 2021 Federation University Road National Championships in Ballarat.

Maeve Plouffe (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) and Matt Rice (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) claimed under 23 honours. Lucy Stewart (Carnegie Caulfield CC) and Canberra’s Cameron Rogers took gold in the under 19 events.

WOMEN’S  

An Olympic medallist, three-time world and seventeen-time national champion on the track, Annette Edmondson added a maiden road title to her resume after winning the elite women’s criterium at the 2021 Federation University Road National Championships in Ballarat.

As they have multiple times on the track in the team pursuit, Edmondson worked in unison with her Australian Cycling Team women’s track endurance teammates in Alex Manly, Georgia Baker and Ashlee Ankudinoff to seal the win.

“I really wanted to make this one work; I didn’t know if it might be my last opportunity,” Edmondson said. “So, I put my hand up to be the lead-out and luckily I had a really strong team in Ash Ankudinoff, Alex Manly and Georgia Baker who allowed me to just focus on myself at the back, relax as much as possible and trust they would control the bunch and luckily my legs were good enough at the finish.”

Edmondson was ahead of a crash which brought down several riders in the sprint to the finish, and after holding the wheel of Manly, an impeccably timed sprint to the line saw Edmondson take the win ahead of ARA’s Ruby Roseman-Gannon, with reigning champion Chloe Hosking (Trek Segafredo) rounding out a stunning podium.

“I didn’t see the crash as I was on second-wheel behind Alex but I looked back and there was quite a big gap so that meant there wasn’t going to be a big swarm at the finish line,” Edmondson explained. “We were able to stall it and wait as long as we could then Ruby kicked, and I had to go.”

The win even more special for Edmondson following a tough year which saw the cancellation of racing and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“It’s been a really tough twelve months so we’ve just tried to keep the head on as much as we can and keep pushing each week to week and train as if everything is going ahead,” said Edmondson. “I’m at the end now, I didn’t realise I was at the end until the Olympics got postponed and since then it’s just been really tough to try and motivate ourselves without any racing when that’s all we used to do.”

Maeve Plouffe was awarded gold in the under 23 classification after finishing fourth across the line behind the three elite podium placegetters, amazingly recovering from a crash early in the race. 

“It’s a really hectic race when we combine the elite women and the under-23 It adds a whole new dynamic to it because you’re potentially sprinting for fourth like it’s first which is what I was doing today,” said Plouffe.

“I was a little bit shaken after that crash I’m not going to lie, especially around that bottom corner, but I’m super happy I didn’t give up in the last straight”.

MEN’S

Kaden Groves surged to his maiden elite national title in a powerful sprint finish to end the elite men’s criterium at the 2021 Federation University Road National Championships in Ballarat ahead of Nick White (Team BridgeLane) and Luke Durbridge (Team Bike Exchange).

“If there’s one to win, I would’ve picked this one so yeah, it was really special.” said Groves.

A clinical display by Team Bike Exchange was led by a stunning series of attacks throughout the race by multiple time trial and road national champion Durbridge which caused the peloton to splinter late in the race.

Inside the final five laps, Durbridge and White were joined by Groves and Pat Lane (InForm TMX MAKE) at the front, with Groves surging up Sturt Street to take the win over White.

“We went with a plan not to ride for myself, we rode an open race so any one of us could try and win the jersey,” said Groves.

“I was struggling a bit all day to be honest, and I think the endurance came through in about 40 minutes. It was starting to get hard, and I was feeling the worst, I thought that’s probably the time to go”

“The attacking into the headwind was nonstop for the last ten minutes the guys are really good obviously.”

UNDER 23 & UNDER 19s

A tight finish was inevitable for the Under 23 Men with Matthew Rice (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) claiming the green and gold jersey ahead VeloFit Australia’s Bryce Lanigan and Australian Cycling Academy rider Craig Wiggins.

“It’s up there as one of the best moments of my career so far, I’m pretty stoked with it,” Rice said. “It’s one of the best feelings of my life, it’s pretty special to me as this is something I have always wanted to win. It felt cool.”

“My teammates rode amazingly to get me to the front, and they went from top of the back straight on the last lap to take me all the way to the front. This enabled me to get the legs out to run away with it and take the win.”

Earlier in the day, Carnegie Caulfield’s Lucy Stewart won the under 19 women’s event over Dubbo’s Haylee Fuller and Sophie Marr (Blackburn CC).

In the under 19 men’s race, Canberra’s Cameron Rogers conquered the field ahead of Kilkenny’s Zac Marriage and James Panizza (Balmoral Cycling Club).

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