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It was a matter of throwing out the script for the Women’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race this year. Forget the solo finish or small group we usually see at the end of the hilly 113 kilometre race, as the 2018 came down to a rare bunch sprint.
All eyes were on world-class sprinters Chloe Hosking (Ale-Cipollini) and Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance Pro Cycling) as a reduced bunch of about 20 rides barrelled toward the finish line of the Deakin University women’s race.
Hosking had trained hard with this race in mind. It was an important step in transforming herself from a flat-loving sprinter to a sprinter who can climb, as part of her efforts to gain selection for Australia’s Olympic team in 2020. But two-time world champion Bronzini was hoping for luck to swing her way as well. The Italian rider had netted three second place finishes in a fortnight, with the latest being Race Melbourne, where the finish was so tight that no rider was game to go for a victory salute.
Trying to throw a spanner in the works of the two big sprint names was the Australia’s big name team, Mitchelton-Scott. The team supplied a sprint train of two former winners, Amanda Spratt and Annemiek van Vleuten, to guide Gracie Elvin to the line. Hosking, surfing the wheels, spotted the powerful trio and jumped on behind. It turned out to be a superb launching pad.
Hosking charged off on a long powerful sprint that no one else could come close to matching. Elvin clung on behind to take second while Bronzini charged up the left hand side of the road to take her fourth early season podium.
You can read all the details in the race report on Ella CyclingTips, but here’s how the race unfolded through the lens of Wouter Roosenboom: