WHEN Rebecca Wiasak first rode in Bathurst eight years ago she was "brand new and bright-eyed" but on Saturday she showed exactly why she is now the Australian criterium champion.
She executed her final sprint to the line in the women's division one Bathurst Criterium perfectly to take the win ahead of Georgia Whitehouse. Her raised arm in triumph showed just how much she enjoyed it too.
"I really enjoyed that," she said with a broad smile on her face.
Before Wiasak had worn the green and gold became a two-time individual pursuit world champion, she was part of the peloton in the Blayney to Bathurst.
She tackled the 110 kilometre long course race in 2011, covering the distance in a tick over three hours to be the third female home behind Myf Galloway.
Galloway also beat her in the criterium a day earlier.
"I'm pretty sure I got out sprinted on the line ... I was brand new and bright-eyed and I did a seated sprint," she recalled.
This time around her Bathurst Cycling Classic campaign was much more successful, her efforts on Saturday especially impressive.
In the morning she tackled the NSW Hillclimb Championships and claimed the gold medal in a time of 10:03.76, averaging 24.44 km/hr up the leg-burning gradient. She finished more than 15 seconds quicker than runner-up Kate Banerjee.
While not noted for that discipline of racing, she also claimed the Strava Queen of the Mountain record.
"I was worried because Georgia, who was my main competition this afternoon, didn't do the hillclimb and I went pretty deep this morning. I got the Strava record. Lucy Bechtel, another girl from Canberra had that, they are always hotly contested," she said.
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Though Wiasak was a little concerned as to whether her efforts in conquering the slopes of Mount Panorama would cost her when it came to the criterium, she need not have worried.
The tempo was gentle through the opening 10 minutes of the race, which was run over 40 minutes and three laps.
The first real test for the Australian champion came in the opening intermediate sprint and Whitehouse came over the top of her to claim the the honours.
Northern Sydney rider Briony Mattocks then upped the tempo and the field strung out in single file behind her.
The second sprint belonged to Wiasak ahead of Whitehouse, that pair and the youngest rider in the field Lauren Thomas then spending time off the front with some 32 minutes gone.
But it was back together when they hit the three laps to go mark and as the bell sounded, Wiasak was second wheel behind Thomas.
As they came down the final straight Wiasak and Whitehouse had pulled clear of their rivals and it was the rider with the green and gold bands on her jersey who got the nod. Third belonged to Hunter's Lucy Fityus.
"It was a pretty relaxed, pace, it was a smaller field. There were a couple of teams represented who had good numbers, so I just had to be attentive to the attacks," Wiasak said.
"I think Georgie was was marking me the whole race. She is a good friend, we rode together in the national team at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
"So I know her pretty well, she's a punchy sprinter, she I just wanted to test myself in the first intermediate sprint. She came over me pretty easily when I was going like 80-90 percent, so I knew that I'd had to give it everything in the last lap.
"You just don't want to make mistakes and I was lucky there were two intermediate sprints so I got to test my legs and try a couple of tactics in finishes that don't matter a lot to make sure I nail it for the actual sprint finish."
And nail it she did.