Strong ride by Gracie Elvin finishing second in Ronde van DrentheSat 12 Mar 2016
Former Australian champion Gracie Elvin showed her early season form today by finishing second in the WorldTour race Ronde van Drenthe.
Elvin successfully achieved the first podium for ORICA-AIS in their 2016 European campaign and the first for an Australian rider in the newly formed UCI Women's WorldTour. Ahead, Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) took the race victory from a four rider breakaway.
"I felt really good today," explained Elvin. "I just had to look after myself for the first half, there was a lot of headwind so the bunch was all together but began to split on the harder cobble sections as expected."
"I was always in the front trying to be in a good position, then after the final cobble section myself and two other riders rolled off the front. Trixi Worrack came across to us quickly and we started working straight away forcing a gap."
ORICA-AIS has achieved top ten placings in all their European racing so far, but have been unable to place on the podium until today. Having featured in two long breakaway attempts in the previous races Elvin is happy to finally get a deserving result.
"It was a great day, a good day for everything to finally come together," continued Elvin. "I've been trying to put myself in the right place at the right time, but it hasn't quite payed off yet."
"Today was good to show that I've been doing all the right things, I hope to get a win soon as well but I am still really happy with second place today."
Elvin satisfied with her result went on to praise the team and their support.
"Today is thanks to the whole team," continued Elvin. "It's not just me out there in front, everyone has been doing their bit. Everyone is going great in this early part of the season so it's way better than this time last year and I think we are going to get a few more results in the next few months. It's certainly exciting and there's a good feeling in the team."
How it happened:
On a chilly morning in the north of Holland, riders made their way to the start line for the second race of the new women's WorldTour series. During the first part of the race the peloton remained together, nervously waiting to hit the rugged cobbles sections likely to create a split within the bunch.
As predicted it was after the two cobbled section that the peloton shattered into small groups and Elvin found herself in a breakaway with three other riders Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv), Trixi Worrack (Canyon SRAM racing) and Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) who worked well together to increase their advantage.
With four big named teams in the break, Wiggle-High5 weren't present and tried to bring the four leaders back. At one point the gap reduced to only 15seconds looking like it may all come back together. However after the penultimate time up the VAMberg climb, the breakaway increased their advantage back out to 50seconds.
In the remaining kilometres the race was on between the four escapees with their advantage over two minutes. With one kilometre remaining Van Der Breggen tried a late attacked but was reeled in for a sprint finish. Blaak took the race win with Elvin finishing in a respectable second place.
Elvin is now the first Australian to make the podium in the women's WorldTour series.
Tomorrow ORICA-AIS are back in action to try again for another result in the 140km Drentse Acht van Westerveld.
Ronde van Drenthe results:
1. Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) 3:36:13
2. Gracie Elvin (ORICA-GreenEDGE) ST
3. Trixi Worrack (Canyon SRAM racing) ST