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Women take to road in criterium

A women's-only race was held for the first time on Saturday as a part of Shepparton Cycling Club's Lake Criterium series.

MATTHEW GALEA March 31, 2014 4:05am

The men weren’t the only ones racing around Victoria Park Lake on Saturday night.

For the first time since Shepparton Cycling Club’s Lake Criterium series started in 2012, a women’s only event formed part of proceedings.

For race organiser Kelly Jamison, who also runs the Breeze Rides events in Shepparton, it was an important feat.

‘‘A lot of the girls had committed above and beyond the Breeze Rides in the past six months and were showing signs of having that ability to go out and race just like the men,’’ Jamison said.

‘‘I wanted to give them the opportunity to see what that racing situation was like, so we tried to let them do it in the comfort of their own town and not making a big deal of it, so that they could do it in the friendship groups they’d ridden with in the Breeze events.

‘‘I’m extremely proud of the girls that took part and got out of their comfort zones.’’

Thirteen women raced in the inaugural women’s event, which was structured to keep the group of riders together initially.

For the first 20 minutes, riders could not exceed a certain speed, before it was every woman for herself over the final 15 minutes.

Carole McGregor called upon all her triathlon experience to storm home to a win, with Aimee Prenter and Rowena Beqir finishing second and third respectively.

‘‘It was really exciting just to be a part of it. It was much less intimidating than going out in the big groups with the men,’’ McGregor said.

‘‘I wasn’t quite sure what to expect because I hadn’t done a race like that for a long while... but I just took it as it came and I ended up having the legs to go out the front and win.

‘‘Kelly Jamison has really driven it. She deserves a lot of accolades for what she’s done.’’

Jamison said the support of SCC had been vital.

‘‘The club has been extremely receptive to the idea. A lot of regional clubs have criteriums that have women’s grades, and Shepparton has always wanted to have the same, but the numbers haven’t been there.’’

SCC president Edward Dalle Nogare said the opportunity to run a women’s even was one the club jumped at.

‘‘All 13 of the girls that raced were racing for the first time, so that was great to see and it’s great to have got the ball rolling,’’ Dalle Nogare said.

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