Lotta Lepistö wins Race Melbourne criterium

Trek-Segafredo also captures the team classification on the fast F1 circuit.

Trek-Segafredo dominated the Toward Zero Race Melbourne criterium winning the overall team classification and sprint competition with Lotta Lepistö. It was Lepistö’s first race after she was forced to sit out the Tour Down Under to illness.

The criterium is a fast and furious tune-up for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race this weekend and featured a new points-race format that crowned an overall team winner and sprint champion.

Held on the famous 5.3km-long F1 Albert Park circuit, the women completed 12 laps for a total of 63.6 kilometers, with points up for grabs on laps 4, 6, 8, 10, and the finish. It was fast from the gun, and the hot temperature was felt by all.

“It was hard! I am from Finland, and there it is now -22 degrees (Celsius), so yeah, the heat played a big factor for me today,” admitted Lepistö. “Especially since I haven’t been racing here in the hot weather. I was exploding after every sprint today because of the heat! The team was outstanding – and helped a lot, and Ruth (Winder) was amazing, also taking a lot of the points, and that put us in a good place to win the individual race and the team race.”

I was exploding after every sprint today because of the heat!

Working for Lepistö in the sprint laps, the team gathered enough points to come into the final sprint with a hefty lead and easily secured the win in the final sprint, finishing with 90 points over Team Ale Cipollini’s 63. Team Astana rounded out the top three.

In a heated battle for the sprint crown, Lepistö needed to finish at least second to Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini) to secure the win. Coming into the finish straight, Winder gave the Finish speedster a great leadout, and although Hosking came around Lepistö and crossed the line first, Lotta took the win by two points over the Australian.  Winder still managed a fifth-place finish, sealing the team’s victory

 

I think right now Chloe is faster considering that this is Lotta’s first race, so we knew that she needed to collect points in every sprint,” explained director Ina Teutenberg. “And we knew we needed another rider to collect points to get the better hand on the other teams and Ruth was always in there. That was our tactic, and it worked out. It was great teamwork by the girls again and the best possible start for Lotta, and very good for the morale for Saturday.