Rebecca Wiasak launches big year with national criterium championship

CELEBRATION: Rebecca Wiasak screams with joy after winning the elite women's criterium title in front of a huge crowd in Sturt Street. Pictures: Lachlan Bence

CELEBRATION: Rebecca Wiasak screams with joy after winning the elite women's criterium title in front of a huge crowd in Sturt Street. Pictures: Lachlan Bence

Rebecca Wiasak captured her first national road cycling title in Ballarat on Wednesday.

The experienced track specialist has two world individual pursuit championships and one national title in the same discipline to her name, but until taking out the elite women’s criterium a national road crown had eluded her.

Such was her delight at the enormity of the breakthrough that she screamed at the top of voice in excitement as well as punching the air after crossing the line.

“This is such a special win. It’s a really, really special feeling,” she said

The Canberra-basd Wiasak outsprinted former national criterium champion Sarah Roy, with another past titleholder Kimberley Wells overcoming a cold to take bronze.

Although some daring was required late, Wiasak said she largely rode a conservative race.

Wiasak is hoping to use the nationals as a springboard to selection in the Australian track team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games later this year.

With the Games down the track, she said she had ridden to ensure she did not put herself in any danger.

”I felt completely in control today. It’s a really critical time for me.”

For Wiasak, she was making a rare appearance at the Cycling Australian Road National Championships owing to track racing commitments.

This year she was able to make the trip from a national team training camp in Adelaide.

Wiasak is confident about making the cut for the Commonwealth Games.

"It's going to be pretty tough - we have a squad of eight girls, still, and I think there will be six spots," she said.

"When you have such incredible strength, you can never be sure."

While Wiasak is focused on the track, she will also compete in the time trial and then Sunday’s road race at Buninyong before returning to Adelaide.

Ballarat’s Shannon Malseed was up near the front of the race for most of the 33km, finishing 13th.

EARLY STAGES: the elite and under-23 women's criterium field makes its way up the Sturt Street rise in the formative laps of the criterium

EARLY STAGES: the elite and under-23 women's criterium field makes its way up the Sturt Street rise in the formative laps of the criterium