• Gracie Elvin rode to an emphatic victory after a 60km solo escape (Anton Vos/Orica-AIS) (Anton Vos/Oricap-AIS)Source: Anton Vos/Oricap-AIS
Two-time Australian road race champion Gracie Elvin won Stage 3b at the Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen in Germany after a 60km lone break in wet and technical conditions.
Cycling Central

20 Jul 2015 - 9:14 AM  UPDATED 20 Jul 2015 - 11:09 AM

The Canberra rider attacked in the first 20km of racing. She drew out her advantage over the chasing peloton to almost two minutes before narrowly holding on for the victory.

Behind her, team-mate Emma Johansson wrapped up the bunch kick to make it a one-two for Orica-AIS.

After taking her first European victory earlier in the year at the Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik in Belgium, Elvin’s second win was a hard fought but very satisfying one, overcoming heavy rain and cobbles on her lengthy lone mission.

“Winning solo is definitely a bit of a dream for a lot of riders, especially when you’ve been away for quite a while,” Elvin said. “It’s tough and you are 50/50 whether you are going to stay away and you just have to dig deep.”

The win came at the end of a tough 78.8km, which finished, and began, in Meerane.

“It was good conditions for me with the cobbles and quite a technical course, and then as soon as it started raining I thought, ‘Yeah, you know what, this is my day'.

“I love it when it’s a bit like a classics race, it suits me a lot better and I think a lot of girls hate it so you have the double advantage,” said Elvin who competed in the mountain bike world cup circuit as an under-23 before switching to the road.

“They weren’t very far behind me in the end because I was really fighting my bike up the last climb.  It was pretty steep but I just got it and am super happy.”

After an unsuccessful move as a duo, the timing of Elvin’s secondary attack was perfect and despite having no other contributors, it was the one that stuck.

“We did four laps of a technical course,” the 26-year-old explained. “We got over the lap and first cobbled climb. A girl attacked and I jumped across with her but the small reduced bunch brought us back pretty quickly.

“As soon as the bunch sat up I looked back and could see another group coming across and I just knew it was a good moment while people were having a breather.

“I hit it and no one came with me which was a bit annoying. Sometimes being on your own is not the best and a bit of a suicide move but they let me go.”

Experience prevailed and Elvin rode a smart, tactical race and paced herself to the finish line.

“I tried to keep it at 90 per cent because I knew that if a group jumped across I needed to be fresh enough to stay with them until the end and support Emma.

“But with a lap to go I had a good gap so I knew I just had to punish myself. I drove myself into the ground and managed to pull it off.”

@gracieelvin I'm a "Classic" B!tch. #cobbles #rain #wind #solo

Capping off a perfect day for Orica-AIS, team-mate Johansson claimed the best of the rest and additional bonus seconds mid-race to assist her general classification ambitions. Johansson now sits fourth overall, 42 seconds behind race leader Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM) after the first four stages of racing.

“We had some high hopes for our general classification girls in Emma and Amanda Spratt,” Elvin said. “We wanted to keep them in contention and use me to put pressure on the other teams.”

The Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen has been a standout race for the Orica-AIS team. Amanda Spratt finished second in Stage 2 and Sarah Roy came fifth in the sprint for the Stage 1 spoils in her first year on the team.

Swedish road champion Johansson claimed a sixth place finish in the Stage 3a time trial, held the morning before Elvin’s breakaway victory.

The Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen continues with a 116.1km fourth stage tonight before finishing on Friday in Greiz.