Women's NRS heads to Gold Coast for Battle on the Border
Australia's elite domestic road cycling competition, the 2012 Subaru National Road Series (NRS), continues for women this weekend with the Battle of the Border on the Gold Coast.
70 riders from over ten teams will take part in the three-day tour that features four stages throughout the Tweed region. It is the second event in the five round women's series following April's Series opener, the Mersey Valley Tour in Tasmania.
Making her debut in the 2012 series is Queensland's Ruth Corset, the 2010 Australian road champion and 2009 Australian female road cyclist of the year. Corset, who retired from international cycling in 2011, will contest the domestic series in the newly formed Pensar-Hawk Racing team.
"The Battle of the Border is an event I haven't previously had the chance to enjoy," said Corset, who represented Australia at the 2009 and 2010 UCI Road World Championships, giving Australia its best result at the 2009 championships with twelfth in the road race.
"I am looking forward to supporting such a strong competitive team, providing race knowledge to the developing team and support to others in a mentoring role," said Corset of her Pensar-Hawk Racing team that also includes dual Australian Criterium Champion Kirsty Broun and mountain biker Jodie Willett.
"I hope to make the most of every opportunity to assist Pensar-Hawk, although I would like to take things in my stride and enjoy the experience of racing this event at the moment," she said.
The Battle on the Border is Corset's first appearance in the women's NRS since 2009 when she claimed victory in the only event in which she competed, the series finale event, the Tour de Perth. In the 2008 series, Corset was victorious in the Grafton to Glen Innes one-day race, and finished second overall at the Mersey Valley Tour. Since her retirement, the 34-year-old has ventured into mountain biking and recently commenced training for the Cairns Half Ironman Triathlon in June.
"I haven't really had the opportunity to race against most of the current competitors as I was overseas during most of the Subaru NRS events, so I will be interested to see the talent that NRS racing can deliver," explained Corset.
"I'm sure the field will be very competitive, especially Pensar-Hawk, but I think that all the riders should be considered as contenders, as they develop through NRS races into the future of Australian Cycling," she added.
Fresh from her victory in Mersey Valley, Lisa Jacobs (Jayco/Apollo-VIS) will look to retain her lead in the individual series standings when she competes with a small, but strong, VIS team of Chole McConville and Toni Abbisogni.
Mersey Valley Tour runner up Miranda Griffiths will look to go one better when she leads a full compliment of riders in her Holden Cycling team which sits second on the team standings behind leaders Suzuki-Trek Cycling.
Suzuki-Trek is headlined by Canberra's Rebecca Wiasak, the winner of the opening stage of the 2012 Series and 18-year-old Allison Rice who will be full of confidence following a stellar performance in the Mersey Valley Tour. Rice, 18, took the honours in stage two and claimed second in the under 19 classification and fourth in the elite standings.
Fellow teenager Emily Roper was another under 19 rider to excel in Mersey Valley claiming the under 19 crown and finishing third overall in the elite. Roper will lead a promising young VelociSports (QAS) that also includes dual 2011 world champion Taylah Jennings.
First held in 2009, the VELO Battle on the Border has become one of Australia's biggest cycling festivals and in addition to the Women's National Road Series, the festival includes men's, masters and junior events, plus Gran Fondo social rides.
The women's Tour gets underway in Murwillumbah on Saturday morning with a 7.2km time trial before 98 km road stage which features two short punchy climbs through Tyalgum.
The action moves to the coast on Sunday morning with an undulating 85km road stage through the Casuarina region, before wrapping up with a beachside criterium on Monday morning.
The 2012 Subaru National Road Series features five events for women for registered teams and individuals.