Elvin overcomes adversity to win women's title

GRACIE Elvin has dedicated her second national elite women’s road race title to her teammates.

Elvin said she owed her success to her ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates after taking the honours in a sprint finish at Buninyong on Saturday.

However, she saved her biggest thank you for rival Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products).

Kitchen, of New South Wales, was instrumental in getting Elvin back into contention after she was dropped on the climb on the last lap of the 102km event in the MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships.

“I was holding on for dear life on that last climb. I just couldn’t do it,” Elvin said. “I was with Lauren and was thankful she dragged me back.”

Kitchen went on to finish second, with former German and now Queenslander Katrin Garfoot third. Elvin is the first to win consecutive elite women’s road race titles since the legendary Kathy Watt, who is a three-time winner.

Watt won in 1993 and 1994, and again in 1998. 

Oenone Wood is also a multiple winner, with her successes coming four years apart in 2004 and 2008, as was Kate Mactier in 2001 and 2007.

Elvin not only had to create her own piece of history, but also rebound from a heavy fall in the criterium in Ballarat on Thursday night.

The Canberra rider was forced out of the criterium in a second lap tumble, which resulted in a grazed and bruised buttock.

Elvin said as GreenEDGE was Australia’s only women’s professional road cycling team on the international stage, there had been pressure to secure the road race title after missing out in the time trial and criterium.

“It’s a very big deal (for the team).

Elvin, 25, said she would now compete in the Tour Down Under’s women’s event before going to the Tour of Qatar and then on to Europe. 

Elvin completed the 10 laps of the circuit in three hours, two minutes, 42 seconds.

The top eight riders finished with the same time as just 35 of 63 starters finished.

Victorian Lisa Jacobs won the Queen of the Mountain title after a solo breakaway lasting more than eight laps.

With a lead as big as almost four minutes over the peloton, Jacobs was finally caught on her ninth time up the climb.

Jacobs, who is the inaugural national cyclocross champion, was surprised she was able to build such a significant lead and stay away as long as she did.