MELBOURNE cyclist Nicole Whitburn took on “the windiest place on earth” and won.
Whitburn, 35, collected her first National Road Series tour win yesterday, overcoming strong winds and rain to snare the women’s Shipwreck Coast Classic.
She took out the 132-kilometre race’s two sprints as her team Pensar SPM maintained its series lead with one tour race to come.
Whitburn was part of a five-cyclist breakaway which built a one-minute lead 12 kilometres into the race and it extended to as much as nine-and-a-half minutes at the 80-kilometre mark.
Jessica Mundy (Jayco Apollo VIS) and Kristy Glover (Target Trek) rounded out the podium placings. Portland teenager Shannon Malseed finished fourth.
Malseed, riding for Holden Women’s Racing, took out the two King of the Mountain stages.
Whitburn said the weather conditions were testing.
“It was very tough. I don’t think we got any sections of tail wind out there so it hurt a lot,” she said.
“It was just horrible. I think we were riding at 20 kilometres an hour for most of it into block head winds.
“Luckily it didn’t rain until later in the race, so that was nice and we stayed nice and warm.
“I don’t think I have ridden in conditions like that before.
“Windiest place on earth I’d say.”
Whitburn said she was surprised the breakaway group formed as early as it did.
“I was just hoping to get to the first sprint and win that but then the gap kept going out and out and we kind of kept riding thinking we’d get caught in the end, but we didn’t so it was fantastic for us,” she said.
Thirty-four riders finished the race, with seven cyclists failing to complete the course.