Jazz Apple made a worthy start to their 2009 racing season racing in the Tour of New Zealand and UCI category 1.1 event in Masterton this past week. The Tour of New Zealand was the first outing for the 2009 composition of athletes, and their efforts shone with promise for the season ahead as Ruth Corset won the Queen of the Mountain (QOM) category, and finished 4th overall. Dotsie Bausch orchestrated the key QOM lead outs for Ruth, which resulted in an almost clean sweep of mountain points while younger athletes, Lauren Ellis and Steph Roorda played (extraordinary) pivotal support roles that were impressive in strength and effect.
In the crucial final stage of the Tour, Lauren, Steph and Dotsie launched Ruth from the main peleton to bridge a two minute gap held by seven riders. The three minute gap advised by race officials was in fact at least 5 minutes. Ruth rode impressively but was unable to reel in two of the breakaway riders but made up more than three minutes in her chase. Fourth place was disappointing but was a positive confirmation of an already cohesive and committed group in their first outing for the season.
Sunday's UCI 1.1
A flat, fast open 8.5 km circuit was not the tailored to our strengths this week, especially as Malindi Maclean, our sprinter is absent with a fractured wrist. However we were bolstered by the strong addition of Rosara Joseph, and in the last five laps, every rider on the Champion System/ Jazz Apple team catipulted to 'off the front' limelight . Our efforts were thwarted going in to the final lap by a concerted chase from the bunch, and despite not having our sprinter, Ruth finished a credible sixth in the sprint and picked up some valuable UCI points.
The week leading into the Tour of New Zealand, and during the race, the team received tremendous support from a number of kind and passionate supporters, spectators and friends. That support shone through in the confidence of the girl's throughout the racing. Thank you so much to you all.
We are looking forward to the season ahead and aiming to keep stepping up our performances at every instance.
Special thank you to our mechanic on Tour and during our training camp, Oli Brooke-White. Not only did our Fuji bikes sparkle but they were purring like cats every day...
Lauren Ellis: Track World Championships: Poland
Ruth Corset: Road events in Queensland
Dotsie Bausch: Road events in California
Steph Roorda: Pan American Games: Chile
Malindi Maclean: Road events New Zealand
Rosara Joseph: returns to UK
Upcoming team events
To be confirmed: Tour of Chong Ming Island: China
Joe Martin Stage Race: Arkansas.