Indeed, Elvin matched Kathy Watt’s record (1991-1992), by successfully edging out 2011 criterium champion Lauren Kitchen and 2013 Subaru National Road Series winner Katrin Garfoot in a sprint finish.
“I’ve been watching cycling for as long as I can remember, so it means a lot to me to really see my dreams come true,” said an emotional Elvin.
“I heard that (I could equal Kathy Watt), but I wasn’t really thinking about it. (But) I guess I put a bit of pressure on myself without realising it, but I just had to trust myself once we started racing and trust my teammates,” remarked Elvin who bounced back after a fall in Thursday night’s criterium race.
In fact, today’s victory marked the ORICA-AIS team’s third women’s road race title in a row, with Amanda Spratt having won the 2012 event.
“To wear the jersey over in Europe is a pretty big deal for us. We’re the only Australian pro-team, so it’s important for us,” said Elvin.
However, not everything went smoothly of Elvin today. She, along with Kitchen, were dropped during the final climb, and had fight their way back, while Elvin’s teammates Amanda Spratt and Shara Gillow, along with Emily Roper, Tiffany Cromwell and Garfoot crested the summit ahead of them.
“I was holding on for dear life on that last climb, I just couldn’t do it,” explained Elvin. “I was with Lauren and was thankful she dragged me back.
“I was shaking a bit before the start and I was trying to calm myself down, but I backed myself today,” Elvin said. “I knew I wasn’t one of the strongest girls there but I knew I was one of the smartest.
Earlier in today’s race, Lisa Jacobs broke free from the main peloton at the base of the second "King of the Mountain" climb, subsequently creating a gap of over three minutes.
At the 45 kilometer mark, Bridie O’Donnell and Jackie Maclean attempted to bridge themselves to Jacobs to no avail – as the duo were soon absorbed by the peloton as they entered into the final three laps.
It was then that Elvin initiated an attack – catching a fading Jacobs inside the final 25 kilometers.
A last ditch effort by Miranda Griffiths to join the duo failed. However, her effort was followed by Cromwell and Garfoot who launched a perfectly timed attack to catch Elvin with 15 kilometers remaining.
However, the trio did not prove to have the impetus to remain clear from the head of the peloton – as they were caught in the final ten kilometers – setting the stage for a bunch sprint in the final lap.
“We were trying to stay calm this morning and we had a good plan and I think we executed it pretty well today,” said Elvin. “We just stayed patient, it is a hard race so you have to show your cards late and I think that’s what we did and I’m really happy with the team.
"I just want to say, thanks to my teammates, this jersey is for them,” added Elvin.
“I wore my heart on my sleeve today and it paid off so I’m really happy.”
2011 criterium champion Kitchen was pleased with a silver medal.
“I’m really happy with a silver medal but of course to be so close is a bit hard as well,” said Kitchen after collecting her second podium appearance of the Championships. “I definitely wasn’t considered a contender today, having only one teammate and not being known as a climber, so I’m really happy to have looked after myself today and come away with a second place.”
The result was a career highlight for Garfoot, who was contesting her first national championships after recently becoming an Australian citizen.
“I feel very proud to be able to race as an Australian,” said Garfoot. “My nerves went a bit wild in the last lap but I hope that will be better next year.”
Top 25 Finishers
1 Gracie Elvin (ACT) 3:02:42 2 Lauren Kitchen (NSW) 3 Katrin Garfoot (QLD) 4 Tiffany Cromwell (SA) 5 Amanda Spratt (NSW) 6 Emily Roper (QLD) 7 Miranda Griffiths (VIC) 8 Jenelle Crooks (QLD) 9 Shara Gillow (QLD) 0:00:03 10 Joanne Hogan (VIC) 0:00:16 11 Lizzie Williams (VIC) 0:00:50 12 Samantha De Riter (VIC) 13 Felicity Wardlaw (VIC) 14 Taryn Heather (VIC) 15 Peta Mullens (VIC) 16 Carlee Taylor (SA) 0:03:50 17 Sarah Roy (NSW) 0:04:38 18 Kristy Glover (VIC) 19 Lisa Keeling (ACT) 0:05:00 20 Jessie Maclean (ACT) 0:05:17 21 Jessica Mundy (SA) 22 Bridie O’Donnell (VIC) 23 Jessica Allen (WA) 24 Lisa Jacobs (VIC) 0:05:29 25 Kendelle Hodges (VIC) 0:06:03
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