Mitchelton-SCOTT women looking to take a third consecutive victory in the Cadel's Road Race

Tue 23 Jan 2018

After recent success at the Santos Women’s Tour, Mitchelton-SCOTT women return to racing this week in Melbourne with a confident and motivated team looking to defend their title in Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

With two former winners of Sunday’s main event, Annemiek van Vleuten (2017) and Amanda Spratt (2016), the six-rider squad boasts plenty of experience and talent that is needed to try and take a third consecutive victory in the one-day race.

Two-time New Zealand champion Georgia Williams will line-up with the team, making her debut of the new national colours and the squad will remains unchanged for both Thursday’s Towards Zero Race Melbourne and the main event on Sunday in Geelong.

The team:

Gracie Elvin (AUS, NSW, 29)
Jenelle Crooks (Aus, WA, 23)
Sarah Roy (Aus, NSW, 31)
Amanda Spratt (AUS, NSW, 30)
Annemiek Van Vleuten (NED, 35)
Georgia Williams (NZL, 24)

The races

There’s two different victories up for grabs this week with Thursday’s flat circuit race, the Towards Zero Race Melbourne kicking things off.  The 12 lap circuit race around a 5.3kilometre lap of Albert Park is short and likely to finish with a bunch sprint which will suit the team’s sprinter and runner up in the Australian criterium championships, Sarah Roy.

Later in the week, the main event takes place on Sunday in Geeling, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The 113kilometre length one-dayer and has concluded with a solo winner on two previous occasions, however, that's not always the outcome as we saw last year, five riders made it to the finish line all together before van Vleuten out-sprinted them to claim the 2017 win. 

The course

The unpredictable nature of the 113kilometre route begins with an open and often windy section as the riders head out of Geelong and down Torque beach before facing more undulating terrain as they make their way back into town. 

Always an exciting race, 2018 will be no different with the addition of the steep Challambra climb on the final finishing lap. The´classics´style race is already well suited to the Mitchelton-SCOTT team and this year favours their pedigree even more as they look to take their third consecutive victory in the event. 

Annemiek van Vleuten - 2017 winner 

“I am excited to race the Cadel’s race once again, the course is beautiful, the atmosphere in Geelong is really good and the organisation of the race is very professional."

"I really like this course because there can be wind and gutter action from the start as we head out of Geelong and then the final is very hard with some hard short climbs.”

“I am excited that they have added the Challambra climb, I raced the world championships here in 2010, so I have already done the climb a couple of times. It will make the final harder and that is what I love, hard racing. As I am last year’s winner I tried to come to the race this year with a bit of a higher fitness level compared to before. "

"The climbs are generally short and punchy which suits not the pure climbers, but I think it is more a race for a rider that loves the classics, just with good weather. We rode very well together in TDU as a team, everyone was feeling strong and I think everyone felt that we rode well as a team together with a plan. We will take this positive momentum into Cadel’s Race and forward to Europe.”

Amanda Spratt - 2016 winner

“I look forward to this race every year. I think the course is something that has a bit of everything. You have to have great legs and a good team behind you if you want to win and that’s something I love, there are no lucky winners.”

“I know the Challambra climb well, it’s such a tough climb and I think it is a great addition to the women’s race. Overall I think it makes the finale suit the climbers even more and that’s something I think can really suit our team.”

“This race is really important to the whole team. Whilst I know my form is good after the Tour Down Under, I know that my teammates are also in great shape and hungry as ever so I would be just as happy to see one of my teammates on the top step of the podium."

“As an Australian professional team we take the Australian Summer very seriously and it’s great that we have world class events like the Cadel Road Race that are giving us such great and professional opportunities.”

Race details:

Thursday, 25 January: Towards Zero Race Melbourne, Albert Park, 63.3km
Saturday, 27 January: Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Geelong, 113km

Photo courtesy of Getty Images