Sofia Bertizzolo, riding for UAE Team ADQ, clinched a remarkable victory at the Geelong Classic, a 50km criterium held this Wednesday. The Italian cyclist out-sprinted Australia’s Georgia Baker from Liv AlUla Jayco and Francesca Barale of Team dsm-firmenich PostNL to win the first edition of the race, which included 156 riders and 25 laps around Geelong’s botanical gardens and waterfront. French cyclist Roxane Fournier of St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93 secured the sixth spot.
The race, set against a backdrop of blue skies and warm conditions, saw the peloton navigate a 2km circuit around Eastern Gardens, offering stunning views of Corio Bay. The race was marked by numerous attacks in the early laps, with Australian Criterium champion Ruby Roseman Gannon and Sarah Gigante, the recent Women’s Tour Down Under winner, making significant moves.
As the race approached its conclusion, the peloton remained tightly grouped, with Gigante setting a high pace at the front. In the final lap, a crash disrupted some riders’ plans, but it was still a fierce sprint to the finish. Bertizzolo launched her sprint early, creating an unassailable lead and claiming victory.
Post-race, Bertizzolo expressed her elation, noting the strange and close finish due to the fast-approaching peloton and the proximity to the fences. She revealed that she initiated the sprint earlier than planned but managed to hold off any potential challengers. Bertizzolo’s win adds to her impressive start to the season, following strong performances at the Tour Down Under.
Bertizzolo is now eyeing the upcoming Women’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Saturday, hoping that her early season success in Australia will bolster her chances for a spot in the Italian team for the Paris Olympics and set her up for a promising spring Classics campaign. Her early sprint victory at the Geelong Classic demonstrates her readiness and power, fueling her confidence for the races ahead. The Women’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race features rolling hills, coastal roads, and punchy climbs, aligning well with Bertizzolo’s strengths and preferences.
2024 Geelong Classic Criterium result
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Main photo credit: Getty