Former triathlete-turned-cyclist, Sarah Roy, is still reeling after shocking a talent-rich women's field that included Chloe Hosking and Annette Edmonson to capture the national women's criterium title at the 2014 Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat on Thursday.
The 27-year-old from Sydney entered the criterium with no expectations of winning. A day removed from an 11th-place finish at the women's time trial, and two days ahead of the women's road race on Saturday, the 2013 NSW state crit champion was still overwhelmed with the win and the outpouring of support from friends, family, coaches and teammates.
"I feel really lucky to have so many people that are so happy for me. The best thing to come of this for me is a bit more confidence in my own riding ability and especially going into Europe with a little more backin," Roy said.
Roy, who has a degree in sports science, works as a personal trainer and coach, says her cycling career creates extra strain on her finances and has launched a fundraiser campaign on her social media networks to help with expenses.
"I have been struggling financially and I have been selling some stickers that are available through my Facebook and Twitter accounts," Roy told Cyclingnews. "Last season I ran a women's cycling clinic in Sydney with the help of Park Bikes at Olympic Park. It worked really well. "
This year, with the generosity of Avonlea Labels in Sydney, Roy designed and printed 2,000 "Share the bike love, and the road" stickers, which she sells for $10 each.
"So far I have sold close to 50. I know it sounds funny but every little bit helps, especially when it comes to saving for my first trip overseas. I am hoping this win will provide more exposure and financial opportunities."
In a crash-marred race which took down favourite Chloe Hosking on lap two and Annette Edmondson in the final 100 meters, Roy, who also won the points jersey after having won the first intermediate spring point, used an impressive display of strength to overpower the field to the finish.
"I know that if I am having a good day and luck is on my side that I have a good finish," she said. "I spoke to my coach Natalie Bates the night before and she gave me a lot of confidence and said to back myself and that I can do it. After my mum, Nat was the next person I contacted.
"I sent her a text that I had won and she replied ‘Serious? What a meat raffle or the race?’ and it just shows how great and loose our relationship is."
Bates, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, shared her thoughts on Roy’s victory with Cyclingnews. "Sarah is not just remarkable athlete, but she is also a remarkable person. She has overcome serious knee injury and worked so hard to fund her career. This win will give Sarah the belief in herself to carry her forward into Europe and what could be a very promising professional career."
After spending the summer racing criteriums with Hosking on Roxsolt Sydney Uni, Roy will be riding with her first professional UCI team in Europe with French-based Vienne Futuroscope when she joins the team in February.
"All summer I have been racing with Chloe and I have learned a lot from her and I would be more than happy to ride for her or for anyone in Australia at the world championships. If I could be part of a medal-winning performance at the world championships then I would be stoked with my career."