Elvin claims first European victory in Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik

Sun 31 May 2015

Australian Gracie Elvin has claimed her first ever European victory in Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik today. The ORICA-AIS rider left fellow escapees Ellen van Dijk and Mayuko Hagiwara behind her.

The race was characterised by its short, but sharp climbs and cobbles. The rainy and windy conditions gave an even more Spring Classic like feel to the race, conditions which suit Gracie well: “I really wanted to test myself, especially since I knew the parcours suited me well: the Belgian roads and small climbs and few cobbles, I ride well with hard conditions.

“My legs didn’t feel too great today, but I just kept making myself go for it and stay with the group and try and make good decisions. I just kept telling myself all day that I just had to keep going. When I attacked, it was during a good moment. When I managed to stay away with Ellen and Hagiware, I knew we were racing for the win. I was really happy with myself today, that I got it right!

“It’s my first European win, so it’s kind of a big deal for me and I was hoping to get one this year. It was just a long time coming so yeah I’m very happy!”

Though many attacks were placed during the day, all were fairly easily controlled and countered. Emma Johansson managed to place the first successful escape of the day and took the lead with a fellow rider until she was joined by teammate Gracie Elvin, and four others.

“Many teams were trying to get a breakaway up and running,” says sports director Martin Barras. “We were very keen to put a lot of pressure on the race. Everything we did was to make sure we could get small groups up on the Muur. Emma put a lot of pressure on the race while driving up the Muur and that really broke the group up. From that point on we were in one strong position and we were able to take that all the way to the finish.
“We stayed on the offensive. There was a second small break, but that never really caught on. When that was brought back, that’s when Gracie made her move with Ellen van Dijk and that move was decisive.”

Gracie claimed ORICA-AIS’ second win of the day, following Lizzie Williams who won earlier today. “Fantastic, the team did well in the spring, but didn’t get any podiums and no wins. To get two in one day is pretty awesome for the whole team. The win from the other group today really helped us win as well, it was definitely motivating!” Gracie said after the finish.