Matthews wins NSW Grand Prix Series

Skoda New South Wales Grand Prix, Michael Matthews, Rabobank, Australia, cycling, Sydney
Rabobank's Michael Matthews claimed his second New South Wales Grand Prix series win (Mark Gunter Images)

Blustery winds played havoc with the peloton during the second of the two-race Skoda New South Wales Grand Prix held in Wollongong.

Ashlee Ankudinoff (AIS) recovered from her controversial elimination in race one to comfortably win the women's race while Tom Palmer of Drapac claimed the men's event.

Rabobank's Michael Matthews stayed out of trouble to finish third and clinch the overall series title for the second year in a row.

"It’s been an amazing series with taking the win yesterday and doing the double at Cronulla," said Matthews.

"Today just to try and defend the jersey and still finish in the top three was really good considering the riders that are in the series. It was a really strong field out here this year and I hope to come back next year and try and defend the jersey."

Ankudinoff finished just alongside her AIS team-mate Gracie Elvin while the consistent New Zealander Sophie Williamson (Bates Bikes) who placed fourth in Cronulla, claimed third and the overall women’s title.

Series leader Kimberly Wells (Specialized Securitor) failed to respond to repeated attacks and was left isolated. The windy conditions meant she would be unable to bridge to the 10-woman break containing Ankudinoff and Williamson.

With the race down to its final laps Ankudinoff and Elvin broke away to solo to the finish.

A number of attacks in the early laps broke up the men's field leading to a 15-man  selection, led by race one winner Michael Matthews.

Alongside Matthews was his podium partner from race one, Aaron Gate, but among the missing was 2011 champion Chris Sutton (Sky) and third placed finisher in race one, Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEDGE).

As the laps ticked over the break was then whittled down to five men, Matthews, Palmer, Mitch Docker (Orica-GreenEDGE), Marc Williams (Budget Forklifts) and Aaron Gate (L and M Group Racing).

With the race coming down to its final laps and winning break decided, the surprising 16-year-old Jack Edwards (NSWIS) defied the conditions to bridge to the front.

As the finish line approached Orica-GreenEDGE’s Docker made the first assault but it was Drapac’s Palmer who jumped to take the victory.

"It might have looked like that (a clear win) but it was pretty close," said Palmer.

"Mitch Docker was right on my shoulder as we came out of the corner and I sort of drew away from him just at the line. But when we came round the corner it was pretty close."

Elite Men Race 2: 40km, Wollongong
1 Thomas Palmer (AUS) Drapac 20 Pts       
2 Mitchell Docker (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE  18     
3 Michael Matthews (AUS) Rabobank 16

Elite Men final classification
1 Michael Matthews (AUS) Rabobank 36 Pts          
2 Thomas Palmer (AUS) Drapac 35    
3 Aaron Gate (NZL) L and M Group Racing 32

Elite Women Race 2: 24km, Wollongong
1 Ashlee Ankudinoff (AUS) AIS 20 Pts
2 Gracie Elvin (AUS) AIS 18
3 Sophie Williamson (NZL) Bates Bikes 16

Elite Women final classification
1 Sophie Williamson (NZL) Bates Bikes 31 Pts
2 Lauren Kitchen (AUS) 31
3 Ashlee Ankudinoff (AUS) AIS 30

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