- Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) claimed the honours in the inaugural Geelong Classic, ahead of Georgia Baker (LIV AlUla Jayco) and Francesca Barale (Team DSM – Firmenich Post NL) in a fast sprint to the finish line
- As a homegrown favourite, this is the third time in her 2024 season that Georgia Baker has finished second
- After an early break of five were caught with 17 laps remaining, the peloton remained intact despite multiple breakaway attempts from the likes of LifePlus Wahoo and Team Visma Lease a Bike
- Tour Down Under winner, Sarah Gigante (AG Insurance – Soudal Team) kept the pace high at the front for her fast-finishing teammate Ally Wollaston
- With an aggressive first half of the race, the peloton quickly took control, bringing the group back and riding their way to the finish
- On the finishing straight, there was a crash that took out three riders from Canyon Sram and Team Visma Lease a Bike
- Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ)
- Georgia Baker (LIV AlUla Jayco)
- Francesca Barale (Team DSM – Firmenich Post NL)
- Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance – Soudal Team)
- Lauretta Hanson (Lidl-Trek)
Q&A from Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ)
Can you tell us about those final meters of the race and when you knew that it was time to celebrate?
“It was a strange finish because I felt the peloton was coming super fast and we were all in the gutter close to the fence so it was a close finish. When I heard that there was a crash in the back, I was not ready to launch but then I thought someone would overtake me, so I just went super long. It’s also slightly downhill so I had already picked up my speed and I was sure nobody could have passed me at that point.”
You had a strong start to the year, how nice was it to get the top step today?
“It was the plan to arrive here in Australia not in the best shape and to conclude these three weeks of racing and training with the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race as our main goal, so I am definitely happy. Today I proved to myself that the training block was good, I’m in shape already. Winning is always different but in the race, I felt I was super powerful so I am super happy with that.”
You mentioned being ready for the Deakin University Elite Women’s Road Race, it certainly looks like the terrain suits you with the potential of a climb and fast finish. Can you talk a little bit about how you’re feeling and how big a goal that is for you?
“Absolutely, we spent a few weeks in Adelaide where the hills are pretty tough. When I came here yesterday and did a recon, I was very happy with the terrain, it’s kind of like Ardennes Classic with this local look. It’s exactly what I like, so fingers crossed.”
Can you talk a little bit about starting the season here, why you decided to do that and how it leads to your next goals?
“It’s actually the first time I’ve started here in Australia. I chose to do this to perform well in the spring classics and it gives me time to get into shape and get to Europe ready to race. Also, the Olympic Games are possible but to do that I have to perform well at the classics. So being that classics is my goal, I am very happy to be here.”
Q&A from Georgia Baker (LIV AlUla Jayco)
This is your third second for the year, so obviously some good form?
“Getting on the podium is always good, but definitely would like to be a step higher. The team’s been riding really well for me, so hopefully we can achieve success on the weekend.”
Did you always want to keep it together for this sprint in this race?
“Yeah, we have heaps of cards to play within this team. We have a really strong team here so we can be aggressive and back whoever is in the breakaway as well. So yeah, we were prepared for everything, but if it came down to a sprint finish, we were also really confident in our lead-out as well.”
Can you talk a little bit about how everyone is feeling going into the Deakin University Elite Women’s Road Race race on Saturday?
“Everyone’s really excited. It’s my first time racing Cadel Evans Road Race actually, but having the National Road Champion and with Ruby being in such great form, we’re looking forward to a strong race.”