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Wells repeats tour win in tactical race

Kimberley Wells won her second Tour de Femme in as many years, edging out GreenEDGE rider Jessie Maclean at the finish line to claim the honours in the Canberra Cycling Club's 20-kilometre race on Sunday.

Wells, who rode for Specialized Women SA in the National Road Series this year, prepared for the race with a five-hour ride the day before, but found she had enough sprint power to beat Maclean, a Europe-based professional.

''It was just nice having Jessie in there … a lot of the pros that ride overseas, they get a bit of an off-season around this time of year, so it gives the rest of us a chance to keep up with them,'' Wells said.

Wells, Maclean and third place getter Gail Pearson were all riding for the Bike Shed team, which claimed the team prize.

The winners finished in 34.5 minutes, about six minutes slower than last year on the same route. The leaders did not manage to break away, making the race a tactical one.

''It turned into a bit of cat and mouse watching each other a lot over the course, people were trying to break away and they'd get left in the breeze for a bit but then everyone would chase it down again,'' Wells said. ''That plays into my hand for sprinting.''


But the race wasn't all about sprinting and Lycra; Emily Fisher and Elizabeth da Silva completed the course in 45 minutes wearing sun dresses on their touring bikes.

The pair didn't look like they'd worked up a sweat, as they proved cycling was accessible to anyone.

''A lot of girls race for this, and we've raced it previously, but I think it's really important that all sorts of women can do it in all sorts of clothes - just get out and ride in whatever,'' da Silva said.

''We love these town bikes and we ride them to work, around the lake for fitness and they're great because you can wear your normal work clothes or dresses and really enjoy cycling,'' Fisher said.

She revealed there was Lycra involved though, sporting Canberra Cycling Club bike shorts under her dress, a hint of racer behind the commuter facade. ''We're racers at heart, so we tried really hard over hills and overtook people,'' she said.