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Ally Wollaston just finished the Tour Down Under but contrary to Anya Louw she will stay in New Zealand for a while before joining AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step late March. Ally looks back at her first race and ahead to what’s next in February and March.

“Day one of the Tour Down Under was a bit disappointing to be honest. I felt really strong but struggled with confidence in the bunch. After so long without road racing it was definitely a shock to be back! There were a few critical points in the race where I found myself poorly positioned, evidently burning a few too many matches early on in the race. Despite this I was still glad to somewhat be involved in the finishing sprint. To end up in the young rider’s jersey on day one was an awesome bonus!”

After the first stage there weren’t many opportunities left for the sprinters in the bunch but being part of Team New Zealand, Ally worked hard to help her teammates.

“That second stage was much better in terms of my confidence and race positioning. I raced to keep the jersey but unfortunately just missed the move over the summit of Mount Lofty. It was a good training day nonetheless!

The final day was my favorite day. It was a really fun experience taking on a domestique role to help my teammate Ella Wyllie race for the young rider’s jersey. I spent the day bringing her to the front and ensuring she was in a good position going into Corkscrew climb. Ella finished second overall in the U23 category so it was a really successful day.”

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After a long off-season Ally was happy to be back racing a high intensity and fast paced road race again, especially in the colors of her home country. Next up are the national road championships from 10 to 12 February where she defends her title. 

“The national championships are on a new course this year which I haven’t ridden on yet. By the looks of the course on paper it looks like it will suit a punchy rider. There are no really long climbs, but there is certainly enough tough terrain for a sprinter to struggle.”

Ally is also the national champion of New Zealand on the track in many disciplines so there will be a big focus on that in the upcoming two months. The Paris Olympics are only one and half years away. 

“After road nationals it’s back to the boards with the first two Nations Cups on the track in Jakarta (23-26 February) and Cairo (14-17 March), That will be a fun adventure. We will be doing a team pursuit with New Zealand and I hope to ride the omnium in Jakarta and the madison race in Cairo. These Nations Cups are crucial to get Olympic qualification points so that’s why there is a big focus on track racing in my early season.”

After the Track Nations Cup in Cairo mid-March Ally will join the team for the back end of the Spring classics season. 

“I took away a lot of confidence from the first races of the season going into the remainder of the 2023. It was also a reminder for me of how much I love racing and how amazing this sport really is! I’m very excited to join my teammates in Europe in a few months and get stuck into racing.