Elvin Wins Australian National Road Championships
Defending road champion Gracie Elvin took back-to-back road titles at the Cycling Australia National Road Championships in Ballarat earlier today. Team AIS executed a plan that played to the team’s strengths in numbers amongst a strong, deep elite women’s field. In the finishing meters Elvin outsprinted a lead group of nine riders, that included teammates Shara Gillow and Amanda Spratt, to claim gold.
a good moment, and I took advantage of it. Everyone had just sat up to assess who was still there. The pace slowed, and I put my cards on the table earlier than I had wanted. It was a bit of a gamble, but it felt right.”
Elvin successfully bridge across to Jacobs inside the final three laps. The two leaders enjoyed a short-lived brief advantage over the peloton before they were overtaken just before the start of the penultimate lap
The constant attacks and the hill climb repeats had successfully softened up the bunch. Only 12 riders remained in contention inside the final 20 kilometres. Team AIS had managed to keep three riders in the lead group – Elvin, Gillow and Spratt.
“In the last lap, Spratty escaped for a bit,” recalled Bates. “We were hopeful she could make it over the climb by herself. If she had, we were confident she could have gotten to the finish alone. She nearly made it. She was caught right at the top of the climb.”
“While Spratty was dangling off the front, I was dangling just off the back of the first five or six girls in the first half of the last time up the climb,” explained Elvin. “I could see Spratty in the distance. On the second, steeper part of the climb, there was a flat crosswind, and that’s when I really started to suffer. I couldn’t hold the wheel in front of me, and I got dropped. I dug deep to try to catch back on, but I couldn’t do it.”
Elvin wasn’t the only rider to lose contact with the front group. Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products UCK) was struggling to hold on as well.
“Lauren and I got dropped nearly at the same time,” said Elvin. “She had no teammates in the race, so she was in a very different situation than my own. I didn’t want to work because I didn’t want to chase my teammates, but I really wanted to make it back to leaders. I made a second gamble in letting Lauren ride across the gap on her own. Luckily, she was strong enough to do it.”
Elvin rejoined the front group on the descent off Mount Buninyong. Back with the leaders, the defending champion turned her attention to the sprint.
“Shara, Spratty and I marked the stronger riders before the sprint,” Elvin explained. “I was trying not to get too excited and make the mistake of opening my sprint early.”
“Katrin Garfoot [team] was my biggest worry,” Elvin added. “I considered her the best sprinter in the group. I also didn’t look past our former teammate Tiff Cromwell (Specialized-lululmeon). She’s got some good form, and I would never count her out of a small group sprint.
Elvin’s patience rewarded her handsomely It delivered her across the line first and into another year in the green and the gold. Kitchen secured the silver medal ahead of Garfoot in third.
“The win is massive,” said Bates. “This is what we came here to achieve. To take the