The Team BridgeLane show: Mia Hayden leads team domination of 2023 Grafton to Inverell

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An inaugural Mt Mitchell finish of the women’s Squadron Energy Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic has been dominated by Team BridgeLane, led by eventual victor Mia Hayden and Talia Appleton.

Hayden and Appleton were at home on the ascent of Gibraltar Range, breaking clear in the winning move together.

Team BridgeLane was in complete control at the front of the race and behind, allowing their lead pair to grow their gap and launch 22-year-old Hayden to her maiden AusCycling National Road Series win.

Oceania junior road race champion Appleton finished second, ahead of teammates Emily Watts and Gina Ricardo in third and fourth to complete a Team BridgeLane rout.

“I really wanted this one so I’m really happy to get it done for the team,” Hayden said.

“To race up the range for the first time and to have my name on that is pretty special.”

How it unfolded

Team BridgeLane was in no mood to allow the first time the women have ever raced over Gibraltar Range to be a procession, laying the foundations from the outset with a fast start from Grafton.

When Gibraltar came, it was Team BridgeLane in complete control, with climbers Hayden and Appleton going clear over the summit.

That gap would remain the status quo for the duo to the Mt Mitchell finish and saw the team decide Hayden would be the winner.

The Gold Coast climber finished essentially side-by-side with 17-year-old teammate Appleton.

Their teammates Emily Watts and Gina Ricardo finished in the same fashion two minutes and 11 seconds later to complete an astonishing 1-2-3-4 finish for the women in blue.

Results: 2023 Squadron Energy Grafton to Inverell (Mt Mitchell) Cycle Classic

  1. Mia HAYDEN (BLN) 3h:59:32
  2. Talia APPLETON (BLN) +0
  3. Emily WATTS (BLN) +2:11
  4. Gina RICARDO (BLN) +2:11
  5. Cassia BOGLIO (KOS) +4:52
  6. Lauren BIGLANDS +4:52
  7. Kim LUECK +7:38
  8. Courtney SHERWELL (KOS) +7:38
  9. Julia ATKINS +7:38
  10. Savannah COUPLAND (CDF) +7:38

Full results

Main picture: Scott Slade
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