ORICA-AIS open 2016 with one-two finish in Geelong

Fri 1 Jan 2016

ORICA-AIS has started 2016 firing, claiming a one-two result at the opening Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic criterium in Geelong this evening.

The Australian outfit tackled the 750m hotdog circuit, known for its brutal corners, from the front as a host of attackattempts went unsuccessful courtesy of an attentive peloton.

The diminished field entered the final three laps together as ORICA-AIS formed their sprint train at the head of the field with two laps to race.

Bursting out of the last corner from her lead out position, two-time Australian champion Gracie Elvin proved too strong into a headwind and held on for victory. Teammate Lizzie Williams crossed the line closely behind to give ORICA-AIS the perfect start to 2016.

“I wasn’t expecting it actually,” Elvin said. “I’ve just done a whole lot of volume. I haven’t done a whole lot of intensity. I was hoping today would wind up the legs for nationals.”

“I saw a gap. I saw the bunch slowing in that last corner and thought I’d give Sarah Roy one last kick. I sprinted to the line as hard as I could waiting for everyone to come past me, but I got it just on the line.”

Elvin credited her ORICA-AIS teammates who drove the action from the front for the entire 45minute race.

“Sometimes we come into racing a bit nervous because everyone looks to us to make the race,” Elvin said. “Today we were looking to sit back a little bit and use our numbers toward the end. We did that pretty well.

“That’s great practice for the racing coming up in Australia and also in Europe.”

Although the squad's focus will be on stage wins, the victory sees Elvin enter the second day of racing at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic with a two-point lead over teammate Williams.

“We were riding for Roy today but sometimes things don’t go 100% to plan and if you don’t hit the final corner in the top three its hard to get to the front and thankfully Gracie came through with the win for us.”

How it happened:

It was a swift welcome back to racing for the elite women’s peloton as a crash momentarily neutralised racing in the first three laps.

With all riders back on the bike, ORICA-AIS and Valentina Scandolara (Ale Cycling) were constant features at the head of the peloton as the early season pace proved too much for many causing a diminished field.

The Novotel Geelong/Japan team contributed to the pressure at the front but the race was together heading into the final ten minutes of racing.

With two laps to go ORICA-AIS sent the full squad to the front. Elvin led from Amanda Spratt and Williams, with Sarah Roy in fifth wheel.

Knowing the importance of position into the final corner, Elvin and Williams kicked out of the bend to take the top two positions with Kimberley Wells (High5 Dream Team) closing out the podium.