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Boost for NZ cycling prospects

06 Mar 06 01:17
Sarah Ulmer maintains her lead in Wellington. 

Sarah Ulmer maintains her lead in Wellington.

New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games gold medal cycling prospects have been boosted by Sarah Ulmer’s decisive win over world number one, Australia’s Oenone Wood, in the Wellington round of the women’s world cup.

The 2004 Olympics and world track champion blitzed the international field, breaking away early in the 124-kilometre race and completing the last 14 laps on her own.

The New Zealander beat Wood by more than four minutes, recording a time of three hours 16 minutes 45 seconds. Germany’s Ina Teutenberg, who won last week's world cup race in Geelong, was two seconds behind Wood in third.

Ulmer, who took up road racing less than a year ago, will start as one of the favourites for both the Commonwealth Games Road Race and Time Trial.

"I certainly wasn't backing myself to stay out there for however many laps it was on my own,” said Ulmer. “I was hoping somebody else would come with me when I tried the breakaway, but no one did.

“My team mates did a wicked job in the bunch to make sure no one else caught me, so it is a great day for the New Zealand team.”

“Phenomenal,” was how New Zealand Cycling's high performance director, Michael Flynn, summed up Ulmer’s performance. “It was probably the best solo ride I have ever seen in women’s road cycling."

Oenone Wood conceded that the peloton had misjudged Ulmer’s ability to ride alone for such an extended period.

“By the time she got out to five minutes (by lap 15), it was sort of all over,” said Wood. “We were wrong there. It really required a team to really pull her back but nobody committed to it.”

The New Zealand team heads to Tasmania to prepare for the Games while Ulmer will go back to Hamilton, New Zealand, for her own recovery and preparation.

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