Australian Road Championships: Sarah Roy wins elite women's road race

Sarah Roy (Team BikeExchange) won the under elite women’s road race at the 2021 Federation University Road National Championships, securing the title for Australia’s only Women’s WorldTour team for another year with a solo victory.

Grace Brown joined her teammate on the podium, coming second after beating Lauretta Hanson (Trek Segafredo) to the line while Emily Watts (KOM-Knights) took the under 23 title after coming in fifth.

In the drizzly edition of the 104.4km race a break of six sprint savvy riders, including Roy, went out on the very first lap of the course, which includes a climb of Mount Buninyong.

“I felt really strong in the climb today surprisingly. I hadn’t really trained for anything like this so really happy to just feel like I had some good legs out there and I just thought I am just going to give it a go and just be brave,” said Roy.

The nine-lap road race is the final women's event of the Australian Championships and was the first title for the Team Bike Exchange women’s squad who has faced tough competition from the domestically based riders and 20-year-old Tibco-SVB rider Sarah Gigante, who won the elite and U23 time-trial. A heavily marked Gigante, who had no teammates at the race, however, had to settle for third on the under 23 podium today, behind Watts and Neve Bradbury (Canyon-SRAM).

How it unfolded

The attacks started early in the race which runs nine times around a loop that starts and finishes in the small town of Buninyong just outside Ballarat in Victoria. Hanson launched a move and by the time the first lap was done it was an established group of six. Hanson was joined by Roy, Kathryn McInerney and three of the riders who took a tumble on the final corner of Friday’s criterium, Peta Mullens (Roxsolt Liv Sram), Georgia Baker and Matilda Raynolds (Specialized Women’s Racing).

The group of six stretched out the gap as the laps ticked down till it was over three minutes to the peloton half-way through the race. Though, there was also a chase group of Amber Pate, under 23 rider Watts (KOM-Knights) and Gina Ricardo (Sydney Uni-Staminade) in the middle.

Then about half way through Roy decided to break up the lead group on the climb, with Raynolds initially following and Hanson also joining back on. By the time it was three laps to go Roy and Hanson were out the front with a lead of around five minutes to the field while Baker and Mullens had come together with the chase and Raynolds dangled just a few seconds further back.

Two laps to go and Roy left Hanson behind and went out on her own. Then after the bell had rung for the final lap the action in the lead section of the peloton also came thick and fast. Brown ultimately worked her way up through the chasers and caught Hanson, while Roy held firm out the front.

The 34-year-old Team Bike Exchange rider had time to enjoy the final kilometre, grinning as she approached the line to take the jersey of the national champion, which was being handed over from teammate Amanda Spratt. Brown then came to the line on Hanson’s wheel and after the long break, the usually fast finishing rider didn’t have enough in her tank to hold off Brown but happily stepped onto the podium in third, after having to stand on the sidelines last year while recovering from concussion.

“It’s nice to come back and show that I’ve had a full recovery and I am back and I am strong and motivated as ever,” said Hanson.

Next in were two of the riders from that early chase group, Pate and under 23 winner Watts, who didn't realise she had won the title until after she crossed the line.

"Once I saw the two girls go up the road ... I bridged over not thinking it would go the line but I positioned myself where I needed to be, ahead of the climbers," said Watts.  

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah Roy (Aus) 3:01:52
2Grace Brown (Aus) 0:01:16
3Lauretta Hanson (Aus) 0:01:18
4Amber Pate (Aus) 0:01:25
5Emily Watts (Aus) 0:01:27
6Neve Bradbury (Aus) 0:01:55
7Sarah Gigante (Aus)
8Elizabeth Stannard (Aus) 0:02:14
9Rachel Neylan (Aus)
10Ruby Roseman-gannon (Aus) 0:03:18
11Nicole Frain (Aus)
12Jaime Gunning (Aus)
13Justine Barrow (Aus)
14Alexandra Manly (Aus)
15Lucy Kennedy (Aus)
16Holly Harris (Aus)
17Laura Luxford (Aus) 0:04:36
18Kathryn Mcinerney (Aus)
19Chloe Hosking (Aus) 0:06:06
20Lauren Kitchen (Aus)
21Lisa Jacob (Aus)
22Sam de Riter (Aus)
23Gina Ricardo (Aus)
24Madeline Wright (Aus)
25Hailey Mason (Aus)
26Anya Louw (Aus)
27Courtney Sherwell (Aus)
28Staci Mccudden (Aus)
29Jessica Mitchell (Aus)
30Carlee Taylor (Aus)
31Tori Barry (Aus)
32Peta Mullens (Aus)
33Maeve Plouffe (Aus) 0:07:20
34Danielle de Francesco (Aus)
35Matilda Field (Aus) 0:09:24
36Bree Wilson (Aus)
37Georgia Baker (Aus)
38Bree Hargrave (Aus) 0:09:57
39Paula Schulz (Aus)
40Cassia Boglio (Aus)
41Chelsea Holmes (Aus)
42Jessica Allen (Aus) 0:09:59
43Hayley Jones (Aus)
44Annette Edmondson (Aus)
45Ash Ankudinoff (Aus)
DNFSaffron Button (Aus)
DNFIsabella Flint (Aus)
DNFNicola Macdonald (Aus)
DNFFrancesca Sewell (Aus)
DNFChloe Moran (Aus)
DNFSophie Edwards (Aus)
DNFHolly Lubcke (Aus)
DNFAlexandra Martin-Wallace (Aus)
DNFLauren Perry (Aus)
DNFGemma Mollenhauer (Aus)
DNFJulia Arnold (Aus)
DNFKeely Bennett (Aus)
DNFAshlee Jones (Aus)
DNFMatilda Raynolds (Aus)
DNFEmily Fowler (Aus)
DNFSharni Morley (Aus)
DNFSarah Riley (Aus)
DNFPia Smith (Aus)
DNFCatelyn Turner (Aus)
DNFNicole Wilson (Aus)
DNFDarcie Richards (Aus)
DNFStephanie Corset (Aus)
DNFKirsty Deacon (Aus)
DNFChloe Heffernan (Aus)
DNFTahlia Dole (Aus)
DNFLucie Fityus (Aus)
DNFGeorgia Wiltshire (Aus)
DNFAlana Forster (Aus)
DNFImogen Alton (Aus)
DNFCelia Cowan (Aus)
DNFLiliana McLennan (Aus)
DNFJenny Pettenon (Aus)
DNFOlivia Sens (Aus)
DNFKatie Banerjee (Aus)
DNFClaire Battle (Aus)
DNFAmy Cundy (Aus)
DNFMia Hayden (Aus)
DNFKaren Hill (Aus)
DNFEmma Pratt (Aus)
DNFEmily Williams (Aus)
DNSElizabeth Young (Aus)
DNSMichaela Parsons (Aus)
DNSElla Falzarano (Aus)
DNSKatarina Chung-Orr (Aus)
DNSElla Bloor (Aus)
DNSRachael Wales (Aus)
DNSCharly Rose Iron (Aus)
DNSCharlotte Mcshane (Aus)
DNSKathryn Woolston (Aus)

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