Cyclist ‘pretty cooked and tired’ but ultimately triumphant
AFTER riding 81.5km in hot and humid conditions, Gina Ricardo, who has spent the last few years giving her all for the team, claimed her maiden win on day five of the National Road Series on the Tweed.
As a domestique, Ricardo, 26 is used to manoeuvring to keep the team leader safe so they sprint to take the race.
But on Wednesday, day five of the nine day series, she claimed the win in the race from Stokers Siding to Murwillumbah, Uki and return.
Her time of 2.48:51, in sweltering conditions, saw more experienced riders feel the heat on the tough and hilly course.
"It was really nice because I have been doing this for five or six years, chipping away and this has been a full-time hobby," she said.
"I had super-coach Donna (Rae-Szalinski) giving me tactics and telling me to speed up on the race radio.
"I was great being able to pull this off for the team which I have been part of for three years and traditionally been a domestique."
"After the 81.5km race I think everyone was pretty cooked and tired with the heat and unexpected hills," she said.
"When the races started yesterday's winner Sarah Gigante riding alone and with no team to assist, we tried to get away in the first 20km.
"After some attacks on the second part of the hilly course, the next thing I knew there were three of us in a breakaway."
The former triathlete, and 2010 Australian gravel riding champion, said in such hot weather, it was vital the breakaway worked together.
"We formed an alliance, shared water bottles and took it in turns to be at the pointy end," she said.
"When we had to stop and take a break to let the men's race go past it was a good opportunity to fill up on ice and cold water.
"Tomorrow we have to focus on helping teammate Nicole Frain take back the leaders jersey from Sarah Gigante," she said.
"She's here racing without a team and there's six of us so hopefully we can disrupt the race and claim it back."
NRS Day 5 results women 81.5km
1. 21 Gina RICARDO (SUS) 2h48:51
2. 34 Samantha DE RITER (ARA)+0
3. 3 Bree WILSON (ATQ)+0
4. 35 Ruby ROSEMAN-GANNON (ARA)*+2:15
5. 72 Josie TALBOT+2:15
6. 2 Peta MULLENS (ATQ)+2:15
7. 2 2 Georgia WHITEHOUSE (SUS)+2:15
8. 6 Nicola MACDONALD (ATQ)*+2:15
9. 42 Lucie FITYUS (VRW)*+2:15
10. 61 Emma VIOTTO (CMP)+2:15
11. 24 Nicole FRAIN (SUS)+2:15
12. 7 1 Sarah GIGANTE*+2:15
13. 66 Emily WATTS (CMP)*+2:15
14. 23 Georgia MIANSAROW (SUS)+2:15