Smith Forges Decisive Series Win As Butterfields Prove Strength

November 29, 2019 CyclingSA

With only two teams from 2018 returning to the 2019 Super Series Women’s Cat 2 grade, it seemed like it would be anyone’s game. A splintered ADX Depot team did not return to defend their 2018 team title, but 2018’s Series Winner Michelle Bailey (formerly ADX Depot) found a new home at the head of Team Scyon for 2019. She joined decorated track cyclist Isabella Dashorst and returning Scyon members Christine Page and Chantal Kounadis. She would have her work cut out for her defending the title, as newcomers Butterfields Racing had fielded a stacked team of riders who would prove impossible to defeat. The Cycling SA Women’s Development Team proved a successful enterprise, with 8 riders from a range of backgrounds taking to the courses over the Series, and Team Envirosport – Titan Performance brought in Bronwyn Dolman to help their cause, reigning Australian Champion in the C5 Individual Pursuit.

Tanya Noble rode as an individual while her former ADX Depot teammates found other teams to ride for in 2019. Photo: Andy Rogers

Round 1’s Mischief Brew Points Race saw Isabella Dashorst (Team Scyon) outsprint the bunch for Sprint 1, but the remainder of the race was the Butterfields Racing show with Alice Jolly making an early run for points. This was followed by a long solo break by Meg Lemon, who would do enough to stay away for the final two sprints and earn the double points in the final to give her the win.

The Altitude Cycling and Fitness Team Time Trial proved closer than perhaps expected, with all 4 teams finishing within 2 minutes of each other and just 8 seconds separating Envirosport’s second place from Butterfields’ first. Team Scyon were unlucky to field fewer riders than they had hoped, so despite Michelle Bailey posting a blistering time to finish fastest up the hill, her team’s time stood from the third rider. The podium was instead filled out by the Cycling SA Women’s Development Team who were ecstatic that their team tactics to stick together had worked out!

Alice Jolly had overtaken an absent Meg Lemon for the SCODY Series Leader’s jersey after round 2, but it was teammate Aneeka Smith who would begin her bid for the GC win in earnest at the Classic Hits 5CS Wallaroo Road Race when Jolly dropped from the group with a mechanical on the first gravel section. Smith won the bunch kick from Shelby Johnson and Emma Seeliger in the second all-Butterfields podium from three rounds. By the end of the Magic FM Moonta Criterium, Michelle Bailey and Shelby Johnson had both opened their accounts in the Adelaide Advanced Physiotherapy Sprint Classification, but Smith was too strong for Bailey in the final and so found herself on the top step twice in two days, and in the Leader’s Jersey – where she would stay for the remainder of the Series.

A soon to be familiar sight: Aneeka Smith leaving the bunch on the dust from the final corner. Photo: Andy Rogers

The four crits to round out the Series were turned to three when a nasty crash left Round 6 neutralised with no GC results, but Smith managed to find herself the top step in rounds 5, 7 and 8 as Bailey cemented her second place on GC with three more second places. Third would go on all three occasions to newbie Sienna Gardiner (CSA Women’s Dev), who found herself on the wheel of Bailey at the final of each race and was well on her way to a GC podium by the time the Series wrapped up – she ran out of racing though, finishing just one point behind the Butterfields duo of Jolly and Johnson. Jolly would be awarded the place on countback, with Shelby Johnson having to settle for cleaning up in the Adelaide Advanced Physiotherapy Sprint Classification and the Adelaide Bike Fit Young Rider Classification, holding off a storming Paige Cranage in the latter.

L-R: Michelle Bailey (Team Scyon), Aneeka Smith (Butterfields Racing) and Sienna Gardiner (CSA Women’s Dev) Putting the hurt on the remainder of the Women’s 2 field at Murray Bridge. Photo: Andy Rogers

Michelle Bailey’s dominance in the Chateau Yaldara Masters category was unmatchable, taking nearly maximum points, and Sue Henry (Team Envirosport – Titan Performance) would find that her early form coupled with the full 3 points in the final round at Unley Oval was enough to hold on to the Chateau Yaldara Over 50 Classification from Alison Kent (CSA Women’s Dev) and teammate Meriel Custance (Team Envirosport – Titan Performance) and to walk away with some delicious wines.

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