Road rocket Rochelle to miss grand prix

CYCLING

For the second year in a row champion international rider Rochelle Gilmore will miss the women's race in the NSW Grand Prix Series at Cronulla and Wollongong this weekend.

Gilmore, who grew up at Stanwell Tops and now has homes in Cronulla and Italy, was the winner of the inaugural series in 2010 and is back in flying form after missing last year's grand prix because of injury.

She still had a role last year as an expert commentator on the National Nine Network's live television coverage of the event.

Gilmore said yesterday it was with "great regret" that she would not be racing the NSW Grand Prix this weekend.

"I have been a great supporter of the event in previous years and really appreciate the effort and commitment given by (event promoter and director) Phill Bates in order to offer women such a high profile international event in Australia," Gilmore said.

"I am currently partaking in the Amy Gillett Foundation's Share the Road Tour and have completed half of the 1043 kilometre-journey from Adelaide to Melbourne.

"With generous support from the public, I have personally raised over $7500 for the Amy Gillett Foundation in the lead-up to this event.

"These funds will assist the organisation to directly deliver cycling safety programs and campaigns to the community.

"The Share the Road Tour also holds a special place in my heart as it serves as an opportunity to celebrate the life of Amy Gillett, a good friend of mine who was tragically killed by an out of control motorist while cycling with her Australian National team mates in Germany.

"I feel it is my duty to thank my supporters and continue to raise awareness of cyclists on our roads, to hopefully prevent an event as tragic as Amy's death happening in the future.

"It is for these reasons I have chosen to continue my journey with the Amy Gillett Foundation Share the Road Tour team until its due completion in Melbourne on Sunday."

Despite Gilmore's withdrawal there are still some outstanding elite quality cyclists competing including her fellow Dream Team riders Myfanwy Galloway of the ACT, New Zealander Emily Collins, and Lauren Kitchen and Carlee Taylor of Adelaide.

It is strong team with plenty of international experience, Collins having ridden with the Vande Kittens in United States, Kitchen with Rabobank, and Taylor having added to national titles with some outstanding performances in Europe this year.

Kitchen, winner of the Noosa Criterium this year, won the national title in 2011.

Last year's Cronulla winner, Sue Forsyth, will be hoping to add to her long list of achievements.

St George Cycling Club rider and world champion Ashlee Ankudinoff has been in great form this past month, finishing with two silver medals in the World Cup in Scotland, and must be considered a big chance in the sprint finish.

Ankudinoff will also find support with Sarah Roy, Lara Batkin and Brie Dutton competing.

Specialised South Australia is sending a large group of competitors headed by Rebecca Werner, winner of the Copperpolis Road Race in US.

The GreenEdge AIS team have been last-minute starters and will be led by national champion and London Olympic star Amanda Spratt.

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