Gracie Elvin was the sole entrant for ORICA-AIS in the criterium at the Mars Cycling Australia National Road Championships. The 24-year-old earned a bronze medal, her first at a national championship, and describes how her race unfolded for you here.
It was definitely a harder race for me on my own. We had planned on more starters, but with our focus on the road race, the girls decided to rest up after the time trial to get themselves ready for Saturday. I wasn’t unhappy to be racing alone, and I knew there were lots of other riders racing without teammates.
I was really keen to win the race. I wanted to get the criterium title. I knew it would be difficult to beat the pure sprinters, so a break was going to be my best chance.
Without many teams represented, it was a strange race. There were a few attacks throughout the 50 minute race. A couple breakaways looked dangerous, but the bunch wouldn’t give anyone much of a gap. After I tried to get in a couple moves, I decided to rest up again and look after myself and wait for the sprint. It became clear that nothing was going to stay away.
The team considers me an all-rounder, and I have been working on my sprint as another skill I can use to support the team. In that regard, my sprint has improved a bit since last year. On this particular course, the sprint was a long uphill drag from the bottom corner. It wasn’t a race to that final corner because the road went up into a stiff headwind. It was important to stay protected as long as possible. I looked after myself well and then popped out at the end.
Kimberely Wells (ACT) won the title ahead of Loren Rowney (QLD). I rounded out the podium. While I had high hopes for the win, Kim and Loren would both be considered sprinters, so I was happy to medal after them.
Overall, I’m satisfied with my race. It was a good personal result, and I had a lot of fun going out there and racing my own race.