Grace Elvin defends Australian road crown

The defending champ retains her title with the help of her teammates and a bit of good fortune

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Grace Elvin (Orica-AIS) defended her road-racing crown on Saturday at the Mars Cycling Australia National Road Championships in Ballarat.

Elvin outsprinted a lead group of nine riders — including three teammates — to claim gold.

“I’m really proud to be part of this team,” said Elvin. “I want to dedicate this jersey to all my teammates. I’m really happy to race alongside of them. We did a great job today, and I can’t wait to race with them in Europe all season.”

Lisa Jacobs (VIS) went out early in the 10-lap, 102km race, attacking the first time up Mount Buninyong and putting nearly two and a half minutes on the field by the start of lap four.

When Bridie O’Donnell tried to bridge to Jacobs, Orica sent Jessie MacLean after her, and the two linked up following the sixth ascent of Buninyong.

But they couldn’t catch Jacobs, and as the peloton swallowed them up, Elvin made her move.

“As we crested the climb, I saw a good moment, and I took advantage of it,” she said. “The pace slowed, and I put my cards on the table earlier than I had wanted. It was a bit of a gamble, but it felt right.”

She caught Jacobs inside the final three laps, and while 10 others joined them in the final 20km, two were Elvin’s teammates — Shara Gillow and Amanda Spratt.

Spratt got away on the final lap, while Elvin was dropped along with Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products UCK). But Elvin rode Kitchen’s wheel back into contention, rejoined the front group on the descent off Mount Buninyong, and took the sprint ahead of Kitchen and Katrin Garfoot.




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