TWO STARTS, two podiums at the Australian Road National Championships for Camperdown cycling export Grace Brown.
The 27-year-old this time unselfishly worked to help Michelton-SCOTT teammate Amanda Spratt win her third National title and her first since 2016. Brown would end up finishing in third spot.
Spratt edged out 40-year-old Justine Barrow (Roxsolt-Attaquer) while Brown was a further 11 seconds behind.
Brown did a mountain of work for her teammates after they formed an early breakaway that got clear on lap three of the nine-lap, 104.4km race around Mt. Buninyong.
The trio extended their lead in the following laps. There were a number of attacks in the peloton behind but it soon became clear the winner would come from the breakaway.
On the penultimate time up Mt. Buninyong Spratt attacked, dropping Brown while Barrow held firm until the sprint to the finish.
"Originally we were just expecting a split in the bunch, but 'Spratty' was on my wheel and she said 'this is good Grace, it's just you and I'.
"Then Justine bridged across and we were in a really good position. I worked pretty hard in that group to keep extending the lead and Spratty did the job thankfully."
Spratt paid tribute to Brown after securing her third title to go with wins in 2012 and '16.
"It's just as special, if not more special (the third time around). I owe my team this one, they rode incredibly well, you saw how much work Grace Brown did in that break," she said.
"It's unusual for us, but I did come in here as the sole leader. That comes with a lot of pressure but I'm just so grateful to the team for giving me the opportunity and that I could pull it off for them.
"Grace attacked on that climb, that was the plan to open the race up really early because we didn't think anyone would expect that; normally there's an early break.
"She was so strong and it was just me that could follow before Justine came across, she had an incredible ride too."
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