This year, for the first time in its 57-year history, Australia’s toughtest one-day cycling event – the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic – featured a category for female riders that saw them compete under the same conditions as the men.
The inaugural Regional Australia Bank Grafton to Inverell des Femmes saw a team of women from NSW and QLD come together to take on the grueling 228km race.
Gold Coast-based rider Bree Wilson won the inaugural women’s division race finishing just two seconds ahead of Armidale cyclist Holly Harris.
21-year-old Des Femmes ambassador Holly Harris, the new women’s category was an exciting milestone: “Women’s cycling is something very close to my heart, and it’s humbling to be part of a team that’s promoting women in such a male-dominated event. Women’s cycling has come a long way, even since I started cycling, but I would love to see more women become comfortable enough to compete in races such as this one. I know so many women who have the capabilities – they just need the confidence to do it”.
“It’s great to see our event moving with the times, and being representative of cycling as a sport that is all-inclusive of gender”, Event Director Chris Thompson said in an interview, “We hope to see female involvement in the event continue to grow across all avenues into the future.”
With very few races in the world providing women with the opportunity to compete at this distance, the Grafton to Inverell Classic is proving to be a significent milestone for the event and a huge step forward for cycling in rural Australia.
Top 10 Results – Grafton to Inverell des Femmes
1 Bree WILSON,Murwillumbah CC (Q)
2 Holly HARRIS,Regional Australia Bank
3 Deborah HENNESSEY,Port Macquarie CC (N)
4 Kathryn MCINERNEY,Regional Australia Bank
5 Geraldine BLOMFIELD-BROWN,Waratah Masters CC (N)
6 Karen DUTTON,Southern Cross CC (N)
7 Catriona NEWELL,Regional Australia Bank
8 Vanessa MCDONALD,Coffs Harbour CC (N)
9 Rachel EDWARDS,Regional Australia Bank
10 Kate SPICER,Warrumbungle Wheelers (N)