ORGANISERS refer to it as a 'fun run on wheels,' but winning last year's Tour de Femme was a catalyst for Kimberley Wells' cycling career, and she hopes to repeat her triumph in the 20-kilometre event this morning.
Wells beat Europe-based professional Myfanwy Galloway and London Olympian Chloe Hosking in a sprint finish last year, which led to her being signed by a professional racing team and doing ''a lot more cycling''.
''I managed to sign up with Specialized Women SA cycling team, which is something I always wanted to do, they race the national road series all around Australia. I got to race that all year with the team … it just created a lot of opportunities for me.''
Wells put her career as a doctor on hold to move to Canberra to pursue cycling, but has found the capital an ideal place to combine her interests.
''Medicine is one of those things, it's pretty important to keep your skills up and keep your hand in, so I do enough work to keep my skills up in medicine, but I stopped working full-time,'' she said
''I've had the opportunity to do a bit of work with the AIS, as a doctor rather than as an athlete … it's nice, that kind of combines two things that I really like, the sport side of things and the medicine side of things.''
Wells prepared for today's Tour de Femme, which she completed in just under 29 minutes last year, with a five-hour training ride to Corin Dam to ''soften my legs up.''
She admitted that ride may not have been the best preparation.
''But there's quite a lot of racing on, coming into summer, so I can't be too slack all the time''.
The women's race, now in its 23rd year, will have a relatively small field of 350 this year, with riders aged from 12 to over-60s.
It starts and finishes at the Canberra Yacht Club, Yarralumla.