In one of the most dramatic finishes to a Federation University Road Nationals race in living memory, Gold Coast’s Francesca Sewell ran herself into the history books after being crowned 2019 national champion.
Sewell broke away from the peloton with Victoria’s Neve Bradbury, with the pair entertaining the crowd with an intense dual for the final four laps of the six-lap, 69.6km race around Ballarat’s Mount Buninyong.
In a dramatic battle down Warrenheip Street to the finish, Sewell crashed after her chain locked, with Bradbury taking advantage of the mishap to cross the line first. Then, in one of the more remarkable scenes, Sewell composed herself to emphatically run her bike over the line in second place.
The drama continued post-race, with official race commissaires disqualifying Bradbury after her bike was found to be 120g under the required minimum weight of 6.8kg after the post-race regulation bike checks.
The decision resulted in Sewell being elevated from second to first place and therefore crowned the 2019 national champion.
Tasmania’s Catelyn Turner finished in second place, with Victoria’s Ashlee Jones adding to Friday’s win in the Criterium with bronze.
“I’m feeling pretty great, a little bit stiff but that’s alright,” said Sewell, who was sporting a ripped skinsuit plus cuts and abrasions following the fall. “I guess it’s just racing. You know, stuff like that happens so there’s not a whole lot you can do.
“I think that was more just adrenaline. I wanted to get second still. I do just want to say congratulations to Neve, it was a good race."
Francesca Sewell also earnt the Altus Traffic Most Aggressive Jersey, Stage Queen of the Mountain and the Langdon Building Sprint Jersey.
The U19s are back in action on Tuesday for the time trial.