WORLD class track cyclist Ashlee Ankudinoff is on a mission.
As well being out to prove herself on the road, she has “unfinished business” on the track which will see her one day back on the boards.
Ankudinoff further enhanced her growing road reputation with victory in the opening stage of the Tour of the Goldfields – a 42km criterium in Ballarat’s Victoria Park yesterday.
The Sydney 22-year-old rode alone for the last five kilometres, surviving a brave solo breakaway by 10 seconds.
The chasers closed rapidly inside the last 2.1km lap, but she never looked like giving up her lead, which opened up beyond 20 seconds in the last event in the National Road Series.
NRS leader Ruth Corset won a bunch sprint to get second, with Kimberley Wells third.
Ballarat’s Chloe McIntosh finished with the main bunch as 32 of the 49 starters finished the 10 laps.
Ankudinoff, who rides for Team Boss Constructions/Nutrixxion, said she had been confident of a strong showing by her team going into the inaugural three-day Tour of the Goldfields.
She said she bided her time early, waiting for the right moment to make a move.
Ankudinoff said she jumped away when pace eased down the back straight and once away was never challenged.
She admitted struggling to get her legs going early on her own, but once finding a tempo felt good.
“I gave it everything in the last lap. I only felt safe about 300m from the line,” she said.
This is Ankudinoff’s first season on the road, a move she made on the disappointment of missing out on the Australian team for the London Olympic Games.
A former senior team pursuit world champion and junior individual and team pursuit champion, she also finished third in the individual pursuit at this year’s world track championships.
As well as she is doing on the road, Ankudinoff says she has unfinished business on the track and will return to that discipline.
She went into the Tour of the Goldfields in 10th position in NRS standings, having won a stage of the North Western NSW Tour, and two stages and finishing third overall in the Tour of Canberra.
The Tour of the Goldfields continues with a team time trial at Burrumbeet this morning, road race at Burrumbeet this afternoon and road race at Snake Valley tomorrow.