Green and gold showdown back in Ballarat - Women's Preview

Mon 6 Jan 2020

The official 2020 season will begin on Wednesday for Mitchelton-SCOTT, as their Australian representatives battle it out at the Australian Championships in Ballarat. 

Coveted green and gold jerseys are on offer across time trial, criterium and road race events, starting with the race against the clock on Wednesday 8th January and concluding with the road race on Sunday, 12th January. 

The team took away two titles in 2019, both in the time trial, when Grace Brown and Luke Durbridge surprised some of their more fancied rivals to finish on the top step. The pair will be back to defend their jerseys, as well as joining team mates in an effort to re-claim the road titles for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

Women’s event previews, complete with rider and director comments, are below.
Men’s event previews and comments can here found here.

Women’s Time trial (Wednesday, 8 January):

  • Grace Brown (AUS, 27)
  • Lucy Kennedy (AUS, 31)
  • Amanda Spratt (AUS, 32)

An open field in 2019 saw debutant Grace Brown snag a green and gold jersey in her opening season with Mitchelton-SCOTT. Brown won convincingly, over a minute and a half faster than her nearest rivals. 

Despite claiming silver last year, teammate Gracie Elvin will skip the 2020 edition but fourth placed Lucy Kennedy will line up in hope to better her 2018 silver medal, as will Amanda Spratt.

Grace Brown:
“It’s been a real honour to be Australian time trial champion for the past season and I’m hopeful that I can successfully defend the title for another year.

“I’ve been out to ride the new course and think that it will be a great race. The course has a bit of everything. It’s more dynamic than previous years and at this point I think it’s hard to predict who it will suit best. 

“I’ve done some good work on the time trial bike recently and am confident I will have a good ride, but we also have other top contenders on the team with Lucy and Spratty. So we have a very high chance amongst us of keeping the jersey in the team.”

Martin Vestby - Sport Director:
“The main goal will be to try to take the jersey again and for sure with Spratty, Lucy and Grace there we have a chance at a good result.  

“The course is a little bit different, by the sound of it it’s a little bit faster and I think it should suit our riders well.”

Women’s Criterium (Friday, 10 January):

  • Jessica Allen (AUS, 26)
  • Gracie Elvin (AUS, 31)

With just two starters in the criterium championships, 2017 champion Jessica Allen will line up fresh off three days of racing at the Bay Crits, alongside former Australian road race champion Gracie Elvin for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

Whilst the championship has been won in a variety of different scenarios over the years, the pair will need to conserve energy and ride smart for any chance of toppling their faster rivals.

Jessica Allen:
“I like lining up to the national crit each year. It's a hard course that suits my style of racing and it’s also a good hit out before the road race on Sunday.

“I've raced the Bay Crits so I will go in with some intensity and speed in the legs and I’m looking forward to having a crack in the crit. It will be hard with only Gracie and I racing, so we'll have to use our energy wisely and really read the race.” 

Martin Vestby - Sport Director:
“It’s more difficult with just two riders and for sure there will be teams with numbers who can use them against us.  

“It about being smart, but both Gracie and Jess can read races well and hopefully they can get into a good move.  That scenario would suit us the best, but still with Gracie there, she has a good sprint and she can also pull something off there at the end if it comes down to a sprint.” 

Women’s Road Race (Sunday, 12 January):

  • Jessica Allen (AUS, 26)
  • Grace Brown (AUS, 27)
  • Gracie Elvin (AUS, 31)
  • Lucy Kennedy (AUS, 31)
  • Amanda Spratt (AUS, 32)

Mitchelton-SCOTT women have claimed five of the eight Australian road race championships since the team’s inception but haven’t secured the title since Katrin Garfoot won in 2017.

Finishing as the bridesmaids in second and third, courtesy of Amanda Spratt and Sarah Roy, in 2019, it’s time for the jersey to re-join the Mitchelton-SCOTT ranks. 

Amanda Spratt:
“We head into the road race with a really strong and motivated team for the road race. It’s been a few years since we’ve won the title so we also know we can’t be complacent either so I think we will aim to use our numbers well.

“I think an aggressive and hard race will suit us and that’s what we will aim for. We’ve often seen how much of a race of attrition it can be with so many times up Mt Buninyong but I think that’s something that is exciting rather than scary for us and the harder the race the better. 

“It’s also the first road race of the season but one of the most important ones we do all the season. It’s such an honour to wear the green and gold jersey and having won it twice before I know how special that feeling is to be able to race and train in it every day for a year. We will be on the start line to win and hopefully we can show the green and gold jersey in Australia and Europe this year.” 

Martin Vestby - Sport Director:
“There’s no surprise that we have the strongest climbers, so it would be stupid not to use them.  For sure we want a hard race – the harder it gets and the more aggressive it is on the climbs, the better it is for us.”

Photo courtesy of Con Chronis / Cycling Australia.