Sarah Roy: Stepping up as the number one sprinter.Wed 14 Nov 2018
The arc of development for Sarah Roy in her four seasons with Mitchelton-SCOTT has been progressive and a fitting testament to the hard work the 32-year-old routinely puts in. After a standout season in 2018 Roy is set to step up again next year as the team’s number one sprinter.
There’s been something simmering under the surface for some time now and Roy’s last two seasons have been her best yet with back-to-back stage wins in the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, a standout Classics win in Gooik-Gerardbergen-Gooik and fifth place in the Commonwealth Games Road Race as some of the highlights.
Looking back on this season, the emotion understandably rises with the memory of all the success and some early goals on home soil.
“This season for me has been a career standout for sure,” began Roy. “I’m really humbled by the entire year. Thinking back on it makes me quite emotional actually.”
“From the amazing work with my coach over the Aussie summer, to being part of Australia’s silver medal at the road world championships in September, it’s all been pretty amazing, and I feel like I’ve grown into a new person and athlete.”
“So much has happened in that time; the team supported a major goal of mine at the Commonwealth Games and I’m really proud of what we did there.
“The Commonwealth Games is a really special event for Australians, it only comes around every four years and I got to experience it with my favourite people who normally don’t get to see me do what I do - which is what they’ve been supporting me for, for so many years.”
Jolien D’Hoore – pancakes and learning from the best:
With Mitchelton-SCOTT besting ‘in-house’ achievements at almost every turn throughout 2018, the riders benefitted from a consistently successful and confident environment with Roy citing racing with Belgian sprinter Jolien D’Hoore as the catalyst to upping her game.
“Working with Jolien, the world’s best sprinter, was another highlight for me. She was very generous with her knowledge (and those homemade pancakes) and a really positive influence throughout the season. The work we put in as a team to dial down the lead out train helped develop us as racers and was also really fun.”
“Those few results I achieved personally were really nice, it’s good to have a little confidence booster like that for yourself, your coach, your team and all the people in your corner.
“The Giro Rosa this year though will be a life-long memory. It was such an incredible ten days of our lives, even though of course there was many more put into the planning and preparation for it, but those actual ten days of racing were unreal.
“So, generally, it was a very good year and every person in the team played a part in that.”
Experienced gained contributes to being ready for the lead role:
Going into 2019, it will be your fifth season with the team and you will be stepping up as the number one sprinter, what does that change for you and do you feel ready to take it on?
“I'm very excited to be stepping into the sprinter role for the team now. I learned a lot from Jolien this year and feel I've gained lots of experience that may have been missing in my earlier years.”
“Being the sprinter for the team will change the way I am utilised in some of the races and will be a bit of a mental shift for me after being the final lead out rider this season.
“Now, in those races I'm sprinting, the actual team result comes down to me in the last few hundred metres which in the past has felt like a lot of pressure mostly from myself but a few years on, the team and I are ready for it.”
After such a successful season in 2018 the work is already underway on next year’s targets and the task is to maintain the momentum and try to achieve even more with spring in northern Europe looming large in the calendar.
“I plan to target the cobbled classics next season,” concluded Roy. “The team and I are really keen to show ourselves there. We have a really strong classics team and all of my preparations now are for March. I'm really looking forward to it.”
“As a team, we have done some really amazing things this year, but we have also made a few little mistakes here and there that we have learned from so we can take all of this positivity, momentum and lessons into 2019 and do even better.”
Date of Birth: 27th February 1986 (32)
Place of Birth: Sydney
Turned pro: 2014
2018 key results:
- 1st Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik
- 1st OVO Energy Women’s Tour – Stage 3
- 2nd Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta – Stage 2
- 2nd Ladies Tour of Norway – (TTT)
- 2nd Giro-Rosa – Stage 1 (TTT)
- 2nd Salverda Omloop IJsseldelta
- 3rd Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta – Stage 1 (TTT)
- 5th UCI Road World Championships – (TTT)
- 5th Commonwealth Games – Road Race
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.