A sensational last-lap attack has catapulted Brodie Chapman (Trek-Segafredo) to a hugely popular victory in the 2023 Elite and U23 Women’s Road Race National Championships in Buninyong.
A long-range attack from the charismatic 31-year-old Queenslander was the perfect move at the perfect time and was duly rewarded with a solo win by 31 seconds.
FDJ Suez Futuroscope’s Grace Brown was the best of the rest from a heavily reduced bunch sprint and finished second ahead of Chapman’s teammate Amanda Spratt (Trek-Segafredo) in third.
Chapman reveled racing in new team colours with new teammates Spratt and Lauretta Hanson for the first time and admitted it provided an extra slice of motivation to perform on her return to the Road Nationals.
The U23 Women’s Road Race National Championship was won by Ella Simpson (Knights of Suburbia), who finished in ninth among the same group as Brown and Spratt at 31 seconds behind Chapman.
Team BridgeLane’s Mia Hayden finished second in the U23 Women’s category ahead of Cycling Development Foundation’s Hannah Seeliger in third.
THEY SAID IT
“Definitely putting on a new kit and having a new team gives you that extra little bit of motivation,” Chapman said.
“Also having been away from the Australian summer of cycling for the last few seasons, I want to make it count when I come back to visit.
“I feel like I’ve joined an elite club so it’s pretty cool to be a part of.
“I’m really excited to wear this jersey all year.
“I think really the last 500 metres was when I let myself believe it because it’s never over till it’s over.
“You never know what can happen.
“I didn’t really know what was happening behind and I was just on a mission.
“So the last 500 metres I was just like ‘oh yeah – no one is catching me now surely, they’d have to be really good’.
“I played to my strengths today. I’ve been doing a lot of long threshold climbing up at Mount Glorious in Queensland.
“And obviously having a team and an experienced team and a strong team made such a difference as well.
“You didn’t feel like you had to use a lot of energy at the wrong moments.
“Good preparation and definitely looking forward to the summer of cycling.
“We also had a sweet situation where Lauretta (Hanson) was in the break and we always back Lauretta to do a sprint at the end and she’s a really hearty rider and then when it came back we said hopefully it does near the climb.
“Spratty said she was feeling good and I said my best bet is to just go from the bottom of the climb and I was waiting for Jayco AlUla to kind of counter first because I’m better to come with a bit of momentum.
“And then I was like ‘sweet’, and then I just went full gas from the bottom of the climb knowing that I could hold that and then whatever was going to happen behind was going to happen.
“It’s definitely nice to have this at least once.
“It’s a really hard race, it’s an unpredictable race a lot of the time.
“Australia has more and more depth of talent every year domestically.
“So definitely feels like in the last three seasons I’ve been away that I’ve become a smarter rider.
“I’ve definitely built up my durability and my fatigue resistance, so it’s nice to know that preparation went well today, and I thank my coach John Wakefield for believing in me and giving me those long hard efforts.”
“I knew today I had to be patient and make sure I made that front split and then make sure I’m taking in enough fluids and nutrition to be there at the end of the day because it comes down to that,” Simpson said.
“I knew I had it in my legs and I had a team backing me.
“I just believed in myself. I think we’re all out there doing our best and I think we’re all on the start line and we all have equal opportunity to take the win and I just raced just believing in myself and knowing my team were there to support me.
[On the race within a race] “No, my focus was just on the race and doing the best that I could with the field there, I wasn’t focused on U23s I was focused on the bigger race.
“I’m stoked, I’ve worked really hard for this. I’ve had people in my corner believing in me. It’s my first Road Nationals so to be able to take the jersey is amazing.
“I’m ecstatic and I can’t wait for the year ahead.
“I started triathlon about two years ago and then made the switch to cycling a year ago.
“My first race was the Santos Festival of Cycling last year and now I’m here.
“I’m super stoked with how far I’ve come in a year and can’t wait for the year ahead.”