Elvin sprints to fourth in a last minute reduced sprint at the Ladies Tour of NorwayFri 17 Aug 2018
Gracie Elvin sprinted to fourth place today into Mysen on the opening stage of the Ladies Tour of Norway after a late solo leader was caught in the final 100metres.
Mitchelton-SCOTT riders did a lot of work in a reduced chase group to reel back the solo escapee Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans) with Elvin saving enough in the legs to sprint to fourth place behind the winner Marianne Vos (Waowdeals).
Attacks but no freedom
The 127km opening stage saw an aggressive start with multiple attacks however no riders were able to open up an advantage.
The peloton continued to keep things together despite some wind, many attempts and intermediate bonus sprints as they barrelled over the undulating terrain.
Queen of the mountain causes splits
With 40km to go, a Queen of the mountains prime saw the peloton fragment and the real action begin.
The front of the race shrivelled to around 30riders and it wasn't long before more attacks came. Karol-Ann Canuel launched away from the reduced group solo and was able to open up a one minute lead as the race approached the final local finishing laps.
Floortje Mackaij (Team Sunweb) also jumped ahead of the bunch and worked hard to bridge across to the solo leader with Mitchelton-SCOTT riders and Elvin, Amanda Spratt and Annemiek van Vleuten doing most of the chasing in the reduced bunch.
Final five kilometre chase
Mackaij was finally swallowed up after world time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten worked hard at the front of the bunch and Canuel continued to maintain a 45second advantage with just five kilometres to go.
With just 100metres to go, Canuel was caught as the sprint had already opened up behind. Elvin sprinted in to fourth place with two stages to go.
"It was a fast rolling stage, and it was quite windy we had a tailwind at the start so it was quite fast so nothing was really getting away. I tried for the first intermediate sprint and got fourth so no bonus seconds.
"The girls were all really good in the front today, all looking after each other. Lucy Kennedy did a really good job to pace us into the KOM, then we had myself and Spratty ready and from there on the pace was pretty solid and crosswinds definitely effected that with the group getting smaller and smaller.
"We had Canuel attack solo and gain a lot of time, our plan was to drive the pace in the last two finishing circuits and have me ready to go so we stuck to that plan. Spratty and Annemiek were super strong with me sitting behind saving myself.
"They pretty much pulled back the two leaders so it was pretty cool having those two working for me and just waiting for the sprint.
"It was very close in the end, the sprint started before Canuel was caught. The sprint started pretty much from the last corner and everybody was ready for a bunch sprint. I had Annemiek helping me to get onto the good wheels and then I was in a good position and I just had to go for it.
"I thought I was going to get on the podium but just got rolled by Coryn Rivera in the final. Overall I am pretty happy because I did everything I could and put myself in the best position and just couldn't hold on right until the finish.
"I think tomorrow will be similar with me saving energy for the sprints, we are hoping other teams want an aggressive race and not always take it to a bunch sprint. The roads out here lend themselves to that type of racing, hopefully we get some more wind.
Ladies Tour of Norway stage 1:
1. Marianne Vos (Waowdeals) 3:18
2. Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle-High5) ST
3. Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) ST
4. Gracie Elvin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
General classification after stage 1:
1. Marianne Vos (Waowdeals) 3:17
2. Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) +0:09
3. Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle-High5) +0:10
5. Gracie Elvin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:16
Photos courtesy of Getty Images