Cycling is a sport of nuances and contradictions. It is also a sport where the highs of a stage win one day can come crashing down in a pile of twisted bodies and machinery the next.
The last women’s National Road Series (NRS) event in Ballarat over the weekend highlighted this predicament for Specialized Securitor.
The team celebrated victory on stage one of the Tour of the Goldfields with Canberra rider Kimberley Wells winning the bunch sprint at the end of a 20 lap criterium.
Less than 24 hours later, the elation of stage one’s victory came literally crashing down when the entire team crashed less than 500 metres into the Team Time Trial.
Luckily, they managed to get three riders over the line but by Saturday afternoon’s third stage, they were down to just two riders for Sunday’s final stage with Wells and Sophie Mackay.
Fortunes in any sport can quickly change, but it is how those involved respond that is the true test of character and integrity.
Watching the Specialized Securitor team prepare for Sunday’s final stage you may have been mistaken for thinking this was a team with the full compliment of five riders, not two.
“The crash showed how close of a team we are and how strong of a friendship we have. We moved on from it pretty quickly and learnt from it and no one was upset with anyone. I think it’s a credit to all of the girls that we are happy and can move forward quickly,” said Claire Trembath, who managed to finish the TTT but withdrew on stage 3 later Saturday afternoon.
The aftermath of Saturday morning’s crash also caused the team’s race plans to be altered as well.
With just two riders for the final stage, Sunday’s plan was to try to get into a breakaway and although Wells tried unsuccessfully, Mackay was able to seize an opportunity to find herself in the significant breakaway of the day.
The seven rider breakaway did get out to a 1 minute 23 second lead at one point, before Holden Women’s Cycling, Ruth Corset managed to over power them to take the stage victory.
The positive attitude of the Specialized Securitor riders was reflected in DS Bec Domange’s assessment of the Tour.
“We won a stage of the Tour and today we were in the main break of the day, so all in all I think we can take some really positive things out of the tour. We only finished with two riders and there’s only so much you can do with two riders when you’re racing teams with five.
“I think the girls will be really happy with how they went. They showed courage and determination with their riding. There are lots of positives to come out of it minus the TTT but other than that the girls have done well.”
Wells was equally positive about the team’s performance over the weekend. In reflecting on how Tour racing can consist of the highs and the lows, she points out,
“I think the Tour’s been really good for Specialized Securitor. I’m really happy with everyone in the team, the riders, the staff.
“When things aren’t panning out is probably when you learn the most about yourself and we even managed a few laughs.”
If there is one thing cyclists know, it is that luck can change in the blink of an eye and for Specialized Securitor, that is exactly what happened over the weekend.
The disaster of crashing forced the team to come up with a new race plan and although the weekend may not have finished quite how they would of liked, the team left Ballarat with high spirits and a strong sense of camaraderie.
This article originally appeared on The Roar