Grace Brown has given the Australian domestic Holden Team Gusto Racing team something to smile about a third place finish on stage 3 of the 2018 Santos Women's Tour, following a difficult weak for the reigning National Road Series (NRS) champions.
With the team losing several riders early in the race due to crashes, Brown put the team back on a high note with her trip to the podium, the first by an Australian domestic rider in a race where the first two stages were dominated by riders on UCI teams.
Brown, a former runner who only took up cycling two years ago, has continued her revelation as a future star, having upstaged a number of big names to claim bronze in the Australian National Championships in the road race following fourth in the time trial.
"Yeah, it has been jammed packed with results this week. I don't know where it goes from here," a still smiling Brown told Cyclingnews following the stage podium.
As of Saturday's stage finish, Holden Team Gusto Racing had only two riders remaining in the race following the abandon of Rebecca Wiasak on stage 1 following a crash, and Erin Kinnealy and Nicola Macdonald on stage 2, while Kimberley Wells was forced to withdraw on stage three after a crash on the opening day.
"It has been a really tough week for our team. A few of the girls crashed out on the first stage and had to withdraw and by the end of the stage today we only had two of us left," Brown added.
"I was basically on my own for the race which I just had to look after myself and that paid off."
Despite the challenging week for the team and still being new to the sport, Brown remains upbeat and continues to look ahead, an attitude which delivered her best ever result in a UCI race.
"There is no point ever in giving up even when things don't seem to be going your way. When things seem like they have all gone downhill you just have to keep fighting and sometimes you get a result."
While missing sprinters Wells and Wiasak for the final stage criterium, Brown and teammate Carlee Taylor, who retires from the professional peloton following the stage will be a team eager to finish the race with another strong showing.