Elvin wins for Orica-AIS in dramatic final of women's road race

Gracie Elvin (ACT) has taken a second national title for Orica-AIS this week after winning the sprint in a dramatic finish to the elite women's road race. A bronze medal winner in the criterium, Elvin bridged to a late-race group on the final lap before winning the drag-race to the line after 106.6km of racing. The silver medal went to Joanne Hogan (Vic) who was relegated to the second spot despite charging towards Elvin in the final 10 metres. Carla Ryan (Qld) followed shortly behind to pick up the bronze.

The 24-year-old Elvin stepped up to the women's professional team in 2013 having spent the 2012 season with the Jayco-AIS program and was in a state of disbelief standing after receiving the national champion's jersey. The former mountain biker won the Oceania road championship last year and has continued to show rapid progression into the senior ranks.

"It has't sunk in yet," said Elvin after capturing her first elite road title. "To wear the Orica colours across the line in first is just the best feeling ever.

"We had pretty much come to a stand-still with 500 to go and I think my nerve got the better of me so I just went for it. I just hoped for the best that I would cross the line first. I was confident but kept pedaling right to the end."

In the under-23 race, held in conjunction with the elite, it was Emily Roper (Qld) who too the title. Roper was the best placed under-23 in 14th place with London mountain bike Olympian Rebecca Henderson (ACT) and Janelle Crooks (Qld) in second and third respectively.  

How it unfolded

The women must have been inspired by the winning ride in the men's under-23 race as the early move went clear on the first climb up to Buninyong. The opening attack included Lucy Coldwell (Vic), Lisa Jacobs (Vic), Rebecca Werner (SA) riding for Specialized-Securitor and Jessie Maclean (ACT) from the Orica-AIS squad.

With Orica-AIS represented in the break with Maclean the group quickly gained time on the first of two big laps. The gap hovered around the two-minute mark at the completion of the first lap.

Coldwell took maximum points at the top of Buninyong on the second lap with Jacobs and Maclean happy to let the Victorian cross the line in first.

With so many of the favourites sitting easy in the bunch Coldwell decided to up the pace once again up the Midland Highway toward the Buninyong climb. Maclean was the only rider from the breakaway who was able to follow Coldwell as she again took maximum points at the top of the KOM.

Former national time trial champion Bridie O'Donnell (Vic) attemped to bridge to the leading group gained a small gap over the main field. However, it wasn't until last year's silver medal winner Tiffany Cromwell decided to bridge to the leading duo that things really heated up.

Up ahead Maclean had been instructed to sit and wait for her teammate, leaving Coldwell to do all the pace-making. With three laps remaining the leading two had just 30 seconds from the Cromwell group.

Meanwhile Kimberley Wells (ACT), having won the criterium title on Thursday found the climb all too much. The rider who has dominated the sprints over the past couple of months was more than two minutes behind the main bunch. Her ambition of winning a second national title may have to wait until next year.

Another Australian former champion Ruth Corset (Qld) was the next to move from the peloton on the Buninyong climb. Over the top she had powered past the Cromwell group and overtaken the leading two of Coldwell and Maclean.

Corset, mother of two, who won the road title in 2010 was clearly on a mission heading into two laps to go. She had blasted to the front and was not waiting for anyone to join here.

Coming through the start/finish line Corset had been caught and was now under the control of Orica-AIS. The winner of the Australian road race championship would come from this 18-rider group with the remaining riders in smaller groups following in arears.

Maclean had obviously paid for her efforts in the early breakaway and was seen sitting at the back of the third group on the road with just two laps to go.

All the pre-race favourites were in the dwindling bunch. Gracie Elvin (ACT), Peta Mullens (Vic), Cromwell, Lauren Kitchen (NSW), Carlee Taylor (SA), Emily Roper (Qld), Rebecca Henderson (ACT), Jenelle Crooks (QLD), Joanne Hogan (Vic), Miranda Griffiths (Vic), Grace Sulzberger (Tas), last year's winner Amanda Spratt (NSW), Rachel Neylan (SA), Shara Gillow (Qld) and Carla Ryan (Qld) were all amongst the group as they hit the most critical part of the race.

Ryan, Hogan and Griffiths were not intent on sitting back to allow GreenEdge the control and took off up the toughest section of the climb. Elvin attempted to bridge to the front three and was putting everything into making contact.

At the bell lap it was four riders who entered the final climb up Buninyong with the chasing bunch were 1:19 behing. With Orica-AIS represented in the move the remaining three teammates to Elvin would be waiting until hitting the steepest section of the climb before making any moves.

Through the feed zone, located near the bottom of the climb the gap had dropped to just over minute. With less than 10km to race it would be now or never for the main peloton to make a move.

Corset, Neylan, Cromwell, Gillow and Sulzberger made their final move in an attempt to reach the front before the finale.

Hogan lead the group near the top of the climb with Elvin sitting on the back.

Corset was pushing the pace in the second bunch with Neylan, Cromwell and Gillow all struggling the hold the former champion's wheel. The lead was still 40 seconds with around 8km remaining.

Coming into the finish Elvin had moved herself to the back of the group ensuring she would not be leading out into the headwind sprint. Hogan waited as long as possible before making her move while Elvin and her went head to head toward the line. In the final metres it was Elvin who just held on, taking Orica-AIS's second championship title for the week.


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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Gracie Elvin (ACT)3:01:07
2Joanne Hogan (Vic)Row 1 - Cell 2
3Carla Ryan (Qld)Row 2 - Cell 2
4Miranda Griffiths (Vic)Row 3 - Cell 2
5Ruth Corset (Qld)0:00:18
6Shara Gillow (Qld)Row 5 - Cell 2
7Tiffany Cromwell (SA)Row 6 - Cell 2
8Rachel Neylan (SA)Row 7 - Cell 2
9Grace Sulzberger (Tas)0:00:20
10Peta Mullens (Vic)0:01:19
11Lauren Kitchen (NSW)Row 10 - Cell 2
12Katrin Garfoot (Qld)Row 11 - Cell 2
13Amanda Spratt (NSW)Row 12 - Cell 2
14Emily Roper (Qld)Row 13 - Cell 2
15Rebecca Henderson (ACT)0:02:15
16Samantha De Riter (Vic)0:02:48
17Taryn Heather (Vic)Row 16 - Cell 2
18Carlee Taylor (SA)Row 17 - Cell 2
19Lisa Barry (NSW)Row 18 - Cell 2
20Jenelle Crooks (Qld)0:02:50
21Loren Rowney (Qld)0:03:35
22Amy Bradley (Vic)Row 21 - Cell 2
23Jessica Mundy (SA)Row 22 - Cell 2
24Sarah Roy (NSW)Row 23 - Cell 2
25Ellen Skerritt (Qld)Row 24 - Cell 2
26Lucy Coldwell (Vic)0:03:41
27Kate Finegan (Vic)0:03:58
28Naomi Williams (Vic)0:04:01
29Pippa Savage (Vic)Row 28 - Cell 2
30Beth Duryea (Vic)0:05:27
31Chloe Mcconville (Vic)Row 30 - Cell 2
32Leonie Burford (WA)Row 31 - Cell 2
33Lisa Hanley (Vic)Row 32 - Cell 2
34Laura Meadley (ACT)Row 33 - Cell 2
35Judith Louise Betts (Qld)Row 34 - Cell 2
36Felicity Wardlaw (Vic)Row 35 - Cell 2
37Cassandra Dodd (Qld)Row 36 - Cell 2
38Clare Dallat (Vic)0:06:01
39Rebecca Werner (SA)0:06:43
40Tanya Freschi (SA)0:09:10
41Lisa Keeling (ACT)Row 40 - Cell 2
42Chloe Hosking (ACT)Row 41 - Cell 2
43Kimberley Wells (ACT)0:10:44
44Kristy Glover (Vic)Row 43 - Cell 2
45Melina Bernecker (Vic)Row 44 - Cell 2
46Victoria Luxton-Bain (Vic)Row 45 - Cell 2
47Stephanie Ives (Vic)Row 46 - Cell 2
48Jenni King (Vic)0:10:47
49Crystal Wemyss (Vic)0:11:19
50Sarah Riley (Vic)0:13:37
51Nicole Whitburn (Vic)Row 50 - Cell 2
52Brittany Lindores (Qld)Row 51 - Cell 2
53Geraldine Blomfield-Brown (NSW)Row 52 - Cell 2
54Kirsten Howard (NSW)0:16:09
DNFBridie O'Donnell (Vic)Row 54 - Cell 2
DNFJessie Maclean (ACT)Row 55 - Cell 2
DNFLisa Jacobs (Vic)Row 56 - Cell 2
DNFEliza Bergin (Vic)Row 57 - Cell 2
DNFLucy Barker (SA)Row 58 - Cell 2
DNFTegan Elferkh (ACT)Row 59 - Cell 2
DNFClaire Homsey (Vic)Row 60 - Cell 2
DNFJustyna Lubkowski (Vic)Row 61 - Cell 2
DNFEmma Mackie (NSW)Row 62 - Cell 2
DNFChloe McIntosh (Vic)Row 63 - Cell 2
DNFNikolina Orlic (Qld)Row 64 - Cell 2
DNFAlison Skinner (Vic)Row 65 - Cell 2
DNFJessica Allen (Vic)Row 66 - Cell 2
DNFHannah Geelan (SA)Row 67 - Cell 2
DNFKendelle Hodges (Vic)Row 68 - Cell 2
DNFKayla Salopek (NSW)Row 69 - Cell 2
DNFMary Trumble (Vic)Row 70 - Cell 2
DNSRochelle Gilmore (NSW)Row 71 - Cell 2
DNSAlexis Barnes (NSW)Row 72 - Cell 2
DNSCarley McKay (Vic)Row 73 - Cell 2
DNSNicole McNamara (Vic)Row 74 - Cell 2
DNSImogen Vize (NSW)Row 75 - Cell 2
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Under-23 classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Emily Roper (Qld)3:02:26
2Rebecca Henderson (ACT)0:00:56
3Jenelle Crooks (Qld)0:01:31
4Jessica Mundy (SA)0:02:16
5Ellen Skerritt (Qld)Row 4 - Cell 2
6Cassandra Dodd (Qld)0:04:08
DNFJessica Allen (Vic)Row 6 - Cell 2
DNFHannah Geelan (SA)Row 7 - Cell 2
DNFKendelle Hodges (Vic)Row 8 - Cell 2
DNFKayla Salopek (NSW)Row 9 - Cell 2
DNFMary Trumble (Vic)Row 10 - Cell 2
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Hill climb classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Lucy Coldwell (Vic)9pts
2Joanne Hogan (Vic)7Row 1 - Cell 3
3Miranda Griffiths (Vic)6Row 2 - Cell 3
4Ruth Corset (Qld)3Row 3 - Cell 3
5Gracie Elvin (ACT)2Row 4 - Cell 3
DNFLisa Jacobs (Vic)5Row 5 - Cell 3
DNFJessie Maclean (Act)4Row 6 - Cell 3

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