Elvin powers to second place in a late dash to the line at the Deakin Women’s RaceSat 27 Jan 2018
Tour of Flanders runner up Gracie Elvin showed her early season form today after sprinting to second place against tough competition at the Deakin Women’s Road race.
Unlike previous editions of the race, today’s 113kilometre event concluded with bunch sprint after a late breakaway of three riders was caught unexpectedly with just one-kilometre to go.
Last year’s winner Annemiek van Vleuten was part of the trio of riders that was swallowed up in the closing kilometres, as Mitchelton-SCOTT quickly prepared themselves for the late bunch kick, with former winner Amanda Spratt working hard to help Elvin into position. In the end it was Chloe Hosking (Ale-Cippollini) claimed the 2018 race victory.
With the absence of strong winds at the start, Georgia Whitehouse (SydneyUni) took her opportunity early on and attacked away from the bunch. With a long way to go, the peloton were happy to see a solo rider breakaway and she quickly opened up a three-minuite advantage.
As the kilometres ticked down, Lisa Morzenti (BePink) then bridged across to the solo leader as the pair animated the majority of the race, hovering between one and two minutes until the peloton picked up the pace and finally reeled them back in with 25km to go.
Putting the pressure on
Soon after the break was caught the race turned into a crosswind section and Mitchelton-SCOTT began to light things up by lining the bunch out in the gutter, causing riders to drop off the pace.
Immediately after, the team continued to work hard launching attacks one after the other, but with many fresh legs still in the peloton they were heavily marked and unable to break free.
The Challumbra split
As expected the addition of the steep Challumbra climb in the final 10kilometres of the race caused the most significant splits in the peloton. Sabrina Slultiens (Waos-Deals) was the first to make a move, followed closely by Katrin Garfoot (UniSA) and Van Vleuten.
Over the top of the climb the trio held a sizeable advantage and with six kilometres remaining, Slultiens attacked once more and led the race solo, which looked to be the winning move.
Unexpected dash for the line
Unlike the previous edition where the race finished with small groups or solo winners, Slultiens, Garfoot and Van Vleuten were swallowed up by the fast chasing bunch in the final kilometre and suddenly the race was back on for the sprinters.
Spratt did well to quickly switch into lead-out mode in an attempt to help teammate Elvin who jumped out of the wheels and to an impressive second place.
Gracie Elvin - Second place
“It is one of those races were anything can happen. In previous years it has been a small group or solo winner and it was looking like that again today, but I think with the Challambra climb and the heat it really made a big difference to the race today.”
“If I saw a good opportunity I would have tried to attack but it was basically down to that final climb so I just needed was trying to save it all for that. The wind wasn’t in our favour today, there was quite a lot of wind coming back into town so it was easy to waste energy. I am just happy to have made it to the finish as my form is still coming up for the Classics.”
“We were backing Annemiek when she was up the road, we wanted that to stay away and I just had to save my legs as much as possible then incase it did come back. When it did Spratty did a super good, long lead-out for me. Chloe got the jump on me in the final, she is arguably one of the worlds best sprinters so I am really happy with second place.”
Deakin Women’s Race results:
1. Chloe Hosking (Ale-Cippollini)
2. Gracie Elvin (Mitchetlon-SCOTT)
3. Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance)
Photo courtesy of Getty Images