Elvin targets Flanders victory in 2019

Mitchelton-Scott's Gracie Elvin is taking aim at victory at the Tour of Flanders in 2019, after being unable to finish the one-day Classic this season due to illness, but having finished second there in 2017.

The 30-year-old Australian has enjoyed a successful year in support of her teammates, including compatriot Amanda Spratt and time trial world champion Annemiek van Vleuten.

The Mitchelton-Scott women's team enjoyed 27 victories in 2018 – their best-ever season – but Elvin says she's now keen to get back to winning ways herself, in addition to continuing to help set her teammates up for victory.

"As well as the Classics, and particularly the Tour of Flanders, I'll be challenging myself more again next season by setting some goals around hillier one-day races and also some time trials," Elvin said on her team's website.

"I was happy with how much my time trial skills have progressed this season, and want to keep building on that next year, and keep working towards being a competitive all-rounder in many different races."

Elvin's last victory remains her title defence of the Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik one-day race in May 2016, in what was her fourth year with the Australian outfit.

Now, with six years with the team under her belt, Elvin is looking to become a lot more than just part of the furniture, targeting races on all terrains and in all disciplines.

"I had such a fun year with the team and being part of so much success from many of our riders. Being in support of Annemiek and Spratty for the Giro was definitely a career highlight, and I felt like I had a few breakthrough performances in that tour," she said, referring to the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile – the Giro Rosa – in July, where Elvin was part of the team time trial squad that took second place behind Sunweb on the opening stage, and then helped Van Vleuten to the overall title, with Spratt taking third.

"I also really enjoyed working on our lead-outs and delivering Jolien D'Hoore and Sarah Roy to some awesome sprint results," continued Elvin. "Personally, I was really happy with my form throughout the majority of the season, and my ability to be consistent across a range of races, but I am as motivated as ever to keep challenging myself and aim for some results next season, as well as finding satisfaction in my support roles.

"Unfortunately, I fell ill just before my biggest personal target race – the Tour of Flanders – so I really want to make sure I'm in great form again in 2019 and avoid any mistakes I made this year, so that I can have the best chance to better my second place there from 2017.

"The Classics will continue to be my favourite races and my biggest goals, and I'm already so excited to get back to them," she said.

Despite not finishing Flanders this year due to illness, and while still chasing her next win, Elvin rode strongly to take second place behind Ale Cipollini's Chloe Hosking at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race at the start of the season, following it up with second place back in Europe in May at Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik, where she'd taken her last victory.

She remains a vital member of Mitchelton-Scott's team time trial teams, with second place in the Ladies Tour of Norway TTT, third at the stage 1 TTT at the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, and fifth at the World Championship team time trial in Innsbruck, Austria, in September.

"It's been such a great time with the team so far, and I can't believe it's already been as long as it has," Elvin said of her six seasons so far with Mitchelton-Scott.

"It's testament to the team that riders stay for so long – particularly Spratty, who's been in the team from day one, and Annemiek, who's the world's number-one rider and chooses to continue with us.

"I'm confident in our systems and management, and feel like I'm in the best environment to keep challenging myself and those around me. We have a lot of fun, too, so it's a perfect balance of professionalism and happy moments," she said.

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