Sarah Roy new elite women's criterium champion

FORTUNE favours the brave, and Sydney rider Sarah Roy showed no signs of hesitation in the face of a number of nasty crashes en-route to a maiden national title in yesterday’s elite women’s criterium at the Australian road championships.

The 27-year-old completed the 33-kilometre Sturt Street circuit in 52 minutes and 55 seconds ahead of Victoria’s Peta Mullens and fellow New South Wales compatriot Lauren Kitchen.

The race was marred by a number of crashes, with two of the favourites in reigning national road race champion Gracie Elvin and Chloe Hosking forced to pull out before the end of the second lap.

A host of big names including Annette Edmondson, Jessie Maclean, Carley McKay, Emma Votto and Shannon Malseed were wiped out from the race less than 150-metres from the finish line, leaving the bunch sprint severely depleted in number.

“That (the crashes) played a big part in my success, which is unfortunate, but that’s the way cycling is sometimes,” Roy said.

“But I did have a little bit of confidence going into the race, I knew that if I’m having a good day and a bit of luck is on my side then I do have a good finish.”

Roy, who has a degree in sports science and works as a cycling coach and personal trainer, made the switch to cycling from triathlon in 2009 but has spent the past two years off the bike through injury.

She was under no illusions as to what the win means for her still-fledgling career, but is adamant that it can “set the ball rolling” as she prepares to embark on her first year of professional cycling in Europe with French team Vienne Futuroscope.

“It’s just a criterium and I don’t want to go jumping over the moon or anything – I know it’s not a world championship – but it is very special to be able to wear the green and gold,” she said. “I would really like to represent Australia at the world championships – if I could be a part of a medal winning performance at the world championships then I’d be stoked with my career.”

Queenslander Emily Roper also avoided the final lap carnage to win the under-23 women’s category, with Western Australia’s Rebecca Mackey and South Australia’s Jessica Mundy finishing second and third respectively.