KATRIN Garfoot believes today’s team trial has the potential to decide the Tour of the Goldfields and National Road Series title.
Garfoot marginally extended her lead in the NRS yesterday with victory in the opening stage of the tour – a criterium in Ballarat’s Victoria Park.
She edged out Victorian Institute of Sport teammate Chloe McConville in a bunch sprint, with her only rival for the NRS title, Ruth Corset, third.
Garfoot said it was the perfect start to the last event in the NRS for the year.
Whether it turns out to be enough might be determined at Burrumbeet today, where the first of two stages is the team time trial.
Garfoot was non-committal as to which way she thought the race against the clock might go – unsure whether her VIS outfit for Corset’s team Pensar SPM Racing would have the advantage on an open course which could be subject to wind and rain.
Intermittent rain and the resulting slippery road surface had riders on the defence for most of the 20-lap 42km criterium.
A shivering Garfoot said her first priority had been to avoid any incidents and stay on her bike, and then focus on covering Corset.
Garfoot began the tour, which is in its second year, just three points ahead of Corset, who is the reigning NRS champion.
She now has a five-point advantage with three stages remaining today and tomorrow.
The 70-strong field rode conservatively for most of the criterium, unwilling to take any unnecessary risks first-up.
Garfoot said she believed it was always going to go down to a bunch sprint.
And it never looked like being anything else as more than half the field was still together at the bell lap.
While the line honours went to Garfoot, Corset claimed the sprint jersey on a countback from fourth-placed Sarah Roy after each won one intermediate sprint.
Today’s 20km team time trial begins at the Soldiers Reserve Hall at Burrumbeet at 11am.
A 58km road race starts at the same location at 2.30pm.
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