Elvin eager to repeat success in Gooik-Geraadsbergen-GooikThu 26 May 2016
A motivated ORICA-AIS team return to Gooik-Geraadsbergen-Gooik as the defending champions, with last year's winner Gracie Elvin eager for a repeat performance.
It was on a challenging cold, rainy day one year ago when Elvin fought to claim her first European victory after courageously overcoming punctures and the tough conditions to win against the odds ahead of Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans).
With this positive memory still fresh in Elvin's mind, the Canberra rider is hungry to defend her title welcoming the classic style race that features gnarly cobble climbs such as the Muur and Boserg.
"I am pretty excited to be coming back to this race as the defending champion," Elvin explained. "I have had experience of coming into a race as the defending champion before with the Australian Championships, but I think it is going to be a bit different with a European race."
"The level is so high in Europe, especially this year with it being an Olympic year. There is a bit of pressure for me to repeat my win, I am definitely going to give it a crack to try win it again and it should be fun to race here again with a different team compared to last year."
ORICA-AIS have successfully raced on to the podium in this event for the last three consecutive years. In 2012, Swedish rider Emma Johansson claimed the victory and then placed second the following year. For the 2016 edition Elvin will be joined in her conquest for success by a well balanced, mature team.
"I'll be racing alongside Annemiek Van Vleuten who has the potential to win the race herself," Elvin continued. "It's always great to race with her as we can play off each other which we have been doing a lot throughout the spring.
"Amanda Spratt is in super form at the moment and the rest of the team is in good shape having all come off the back of a training camp in Italy."
Australians Loren Rowney, Alexandra Manly and Sarah Roy form the rounded six rider squad welcoming knowledge and advice from former rider, now sport director Loes Gunnewijk.
"My old teammate Loes will be coming in as sport director again," said Elvin. "She has taught me so much over the years with tactics and professionalism."
"She knows a lot so it is fantastic that she is able to work with us again and I think working together through these races is going to be really useful as she really loves this type of race and achieved great results herself in these kinds of races."
Gooik-Geraadsbergen-Gooik a UCI 1.1 category event takes place on Sunday 29th May. It will be the penultimate Belgian race for the Australian outfit before the riders head into more stage racing.
ORICA-AIS riders Gooik-Geraadsbergen-Gooik (29th May):