• Grace Brown on her way to a fourth-placed elite time trial finish. (Jean-Pierre Ronco)Source: Jean-Pierre Ronco
The little-known running convert Grace Brown (Holden Team Gusto) is making a splash in the early years of her cycling career, the latest of which saw her ride to a superb fourth in the Elite Women's Time Trial.
Jamie Finch-Penninger

Cycling Central
6 Jan 2018 - 9:57 AM  UPDATED 6 Jan 2018 - 10:08 AM

Brown, 25, started the time trial as the sixth female athlete to roll down the starting ramp but ran down all the competitors in front of her to finish the time trial and claim the hot seat as the interim fastest time.

Warming down after the event, Brown spoke to Cycling Central about the performance.

"It felt terrible, to be honest," Brown said, "Tougher conditions than I was expecting and I probably went out a bit hard.

"I think it was the standard starting off and feeling super good... it's not hard to put the power down when you're feeling good but it comes back to bite you."

It would be a long time before anyone posted a quicker time, but once the late starters came in Brown's time had slipped to fourth, just under five seconds off the podium.

"It's a bit bittersweet to be fourth and missing out by only, I think six seconds on the podium," she said. "I guess I'll be happy once it's settled in, but I'm a little bit disappointed at the moment."

That drive and unwillingness have put Brown in good stead so far in her career, she's been the rising star of the National Road Series over the past season with Holden Team Gusto and isn't satisfied with resting on her laurels despite a strong showing here. The running convert is only a recent addition to the sport

"It's only been two years of racing for me," Brown said. "My first road race was nationals two years ago and I've come a long way since then. I've got a lot of improvement under my belt and I'm looking forward to what's coming next."

The initial disappointment of just missing out hadn't yet faded from Brown, yet when you looked at the riders that finished faster there was little shame in it.

The podium had seven national time-trial wins between Katrin Garfoot and Shara Gillow (FDJ), with Oceania time trial champion Lucy Kennedy (Michelton-Scott) considered one of the best neo-pros to come out of Austalia in a long time.

"Yeah, it's definitely no embarrassment being beaten by those names," Brown said. It's good to be counted amongst them."

The trick for Brown is now to elevate herself to that top level of racing her talent demands. The pathway isn't a defined one, though she will have turned heads with her performance in Ballarat.

The next step for Brown is going to be a mixture of NRS and American racing with her team, where she hopes to be able to continue to distinguish herself and develop her skills.

"I hope to be able to keep on improving in racing, maybe work on my tactics during races and finishing off races," she said.

Sports Director for Holden Team Gusto Julien Knuppel was effusive about the progress made by Brown in her time at the team.

"I'm very proud of Grace and how she's come up this year," Knuppel said. "Very green at the start of the year, we got her and she's just been training the house down. Super proud of her efforts and keep an eye out because I reckon there are some big things to come for Grace."