Preview: NRS Gibraltar To Inverell Des Femmes

  • By: AusCycling
  • May 5, 2022
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This Saturday, the women’s National Road Series (NRS) heads to northern New South Wales for the newest one-day classic on the calendar, the Women’s NRS Gibraltar to Inverell des Femmes.

Part of the CWP Renewables Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic, this is just the second edition of the women’s race.

Who will succeed Ruby Roseman-Gannon and claim the top step of the podium in Inverell?

Peta Mullens, Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Josie Talbot on the podium of the 2021 Gibraltar to Inverell des Femmes women's NRS race
Ruby Roseman-Gannon took the inaugural edition in 2021 before securing a spot in the UCI WorldTour. (Photo: Ryan Miu)

The Route

The Gibraltar to Inverell des Femmes uses the last 136.6 kilometres of the men’s Grafton to Inverell route, omitting the main climb.

Starting from the top of the Gibraltar Range, the race will begin immediately: there’s no neutral section.

The peloton will follow the Gwydir Highway towards the first categorised climb after just 10.5 kilometres. There are three intermediate sprint points – at Mount Mitchell, Glen Innes and Mindora Property – all along the main road.

The second QOM point tops out with 54km remaining. From there, the terrain trends downhill. The final categorised climb, Wire Gully (1.5km at 3.3%), comes with 21km to go before the run into Inverell to finish on the wide, straight boulevard of Vivian Street.

The leaders are expected to cross the finish line at around 12:00pm local time after four hours in the saddle.

The Contenders

With only 1,400m of elevation gain, and the climbs placed some distance from the finish, the sprinters have an excellent chance of victory.

So it proved last year, which was raced in understandably conservative fashion, ending in a big bunch sprint.

Oceania champion Josie Talbot (Sydney Uni-Staminade) surely starts as race favourite. She finished second last year and, since then, has enjoyed career-best performances in the NRS including wins at the Tour of Gippsland and Tour de Brisbane. The Wollongong native packs the fastest finish on paper and it’ll be up to rival teams to distance her. Gina Ricardo provides a handy alternative for the team.

Josie Talbot winning the 2022 National Road Series (NRS) Tour de Brisbane and Oceania Road Race Championships
Josie Talbot is on a roll in the National Road Series. (Photo: Alex Polizzi and Tour de Brisbane)

If anyone can beat Talbot head-to-head in a sprint, the most likely candidate is track rider Alexandra Martin-Wallace (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast). Despite missing Maeve Plouffe due to UCI Track Nations Cup commitments, the Queensland-based team boast the time-trialling talent of Danielle De Francesco, who can secure a result from a small group. Dual silver medals in the Oceania Championships show that De Francesco is on good form ahead of her planned trip to Belgium.

Knights of Suburbia Racing, the revelations of the season, bring their big hitters in Oceania time trial champion Georgie Howe and Santos Festival of Cycling stage winner Emily Watts. Look for Howe to put her diesel engine to work from long range while Watts saves herself for a sprint.

Georgie Howe at the 2022 National Road Series (NRS) Tour of Gippsland
Can Georgie Howe put her time-trialling skills to good use again? (Photo: Con Chronis)

Outside these three teams, InForm TMX Make bring an unusually small roster without their biggest names. We can look instead to the likes of Sophie Malowiecki (Giant Racing Team) to put in a strong ride.

With Roxsolt Liv SRAM away racing in Europe, Emily Herfoss and Bree Wilson are listed as individual riders, but they could spring a surprise with a top result on Saturday.

How To Follow

For race updates, follow the Grafton to Inverell on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

There’s no live stream, but SBS Sport will host a live highlights show on Facebook at 7:00pm AEST on Saturday night.

For National Road Series news and content, follow AusCycling’s dedicated on Road & Esports Facebook page, and our main Twitter and Instagram accounts using the hashtag #NRS22.

Results will be available at the event website, including results from the Men’s NRS Grafton to Inverell, the Division 2 and 3 races, and the Challenge category.

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