Riders pass through the Arboretum in the 2013 National Capital Tour on Saturday. Photo: Rohan Thomson
RUTH Corset quit cycling in despair just two years ago, but her revived passion is translating into strong results after she claimed an easy win in Saturday's 120-kilometre National Capital Tour road race.
Corset retired briefly after she was a controversial omission from Australia's world championships team in 2011. She returned to win last year's National Road Series crown, and is now in the box seat to defend her title.
The 36-year-old entered the third-last stop of the series four points behind former Pensar SPM teammate Katrin Garfoot.
Riders in the 2013 National Capital Tour. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Her 42-second win on the gruelling route around Unarra Crossing and Tharwa means she is the unbackable favourite to claim the tour, which concludes with criterium and circuit legs on Sunday.
Garfoot suffered a major setback on the opening day when her easy time-trial win was declared void due to traffic issues.
''It was probably the hardest National Road Series race we've had because of all the climbs,'' Queenslander Corset said.
''Near the bottom of the hill finish I attacked hard with Kat on my wheel, and finally got away solo. Up until this tour we were teammates, and she decided she wanted to race on her own.
''I haven't been able to show my climbing abilities a lot during the year, so I'm just happy to give it everything on the climb and get the win."
Corset again missed selection in Australia's squad for the world championships in Italy beginning on Sunday night, having been named on the extended list.
Unlike two years ago, where she felt like her world was crashing down, this was an easier pill to swallow. ''I was actually surprised to make the long team, all those other girls have been racing in Europe,'' she said.
''Pensar asked me at the beginning of last year to be a guest rider, and I just really enjoyed it again.''
In the men's race, Tasmania's Nathan Earle beat Victorian Jack Haig by 30 seconds to establish a 1:15 lead over Haig in the National Capital Tour general classification.
Earle entered the event with a six-point lead over Haig in the National Road Series standings.
Stage Three: Road race (women 8am, men 11am); Stage Four: Criterium (women 2.20pm, men 3.30pm). For race maps see www.nationalroadseries.subaru.com.au