Camperdown cyclist Grace Brown enjoyed a breakout season on the UCI Women's WorldTour but she knows there is still plenty to improve on in seasons to come.
The 29-year-old's 2021, which was to be her final year with Team BikeExchange after signing with FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope in August, was one to remember.
That was followed by a podium at the Tour of Flanders and a win on the opening stage of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas (Tour of Spain) and a stint in the leader jersey of the Grand Tour.
Her strong form led to her scoring a maiden selection in the Australian team for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games before backing that up with a fifth at La Course by Le Tour de France.
Brown then took part in the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile (Tour of Italy) where she was forced to abandon the tour following a heavy crash on stage eight.
Brown finished the year with two wins, five podiums, six top-10 finishes and 36th on the UCI World Rankings.
She said she was slowly getting used to being one of the top riders in the WorldTour peloton.
"Towards the start of the year I'd get a good result and the next race I thought maybe the last result was a fluke and I wasn't going to do well again," she told The Standard's Main Break podcast.
"Then I found myself being there in the finals in every single race. It's a bit surreal I still feel like I have got so much to improve on.
"I can see how far I've come but I can also see all the things I need to do so that's exciting because I've not reached my limit yet in terms of getting the most out of myself.
"But being in those races and getting race results is really special and exciting and I love competing at the end of the races, it's my favourite but I wish we could skip the first 100ks and get straight to the end and not do the hard bit."
Listen to the latest episode of our weekly podcast The Main Break:
Brown's return to the UCI WorldTour and another stacked season of racing will be with a new team in FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscopewas.
"I'm pretty excited for a new start and to work with some fresh faces and get a bit of a fresh perspective on how a different team operates and races," she said of joining the French outfit.
"The French culture is quite passionate and that'll be nice. It's not super regimented and there's a lot of heart in what they do and they seem to care a lot.
"I'm looking forward to that dynamic and also racing with some really strong girls.
"The team has grown a lot in the last coupe of years and is on the verge of becoming one of the strongest teams in the peloton and I'm pretty excited to be part of that step up."
Brown is back in Melbourne to recover from the shoulder surgery and prepare for a big 2022 season with her new team.
The operation re-anchored and repaired the tendons in her shoulder and allow it to heal properly.
Brown rode through pain at the Olympics before noticing after the games the injury was not improving.
She said it had "been pretty hard" dealing with the first significant injury of her cycling career.
"I've never really had an injury that has taken me out quite as much as this has," she said.
"I wasn't allowed to do anything really for three weeks and I had to have my arm in a sling, completely immobilised so I couldn't go on my bike on the trainer.
"I was one-handed for that long and the only exercise I could do was walking. With previous injuries I've been able to get back to training a lot sooner.
"With this one it was more accepting that I really couldn't do much and that's how it is.
"There's some positives like I was able to give my body a lot of rest and it's going to put me in a good position to build really well for next season.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
"I'll be starting my pre-season nice and fresh and I've now got a long, solid build before next season."
Brown has her sights set on achieving a number of goals at a wide variety of major races in 2022.
"I'll be racing at the national championships early in the year and it'd be awesome to come away with one of the national jerseys either in the time trial or road race but I wouldn't say no to both," she said.
"Then I'll head over to Europe and I'll need to pick out which Belgium classics I want to target but obviously the Tour of Flanders is high on my priority list.
"Then we have got the women's Tour de France, which is one that's longer than a single day, and that's going to be a big goal especially being on a French team.
"There will be a lot of excitement around that and then straight after that is the Commonwealth Games (in Birmingham).
"Also on the agenda is the world champs, which are actually in Australia in Wollongong this year. That will be my final goal of the season."
Brown said it had been nice to have the support of the south-west and her hometown Camperdown over the last few years.
"I haven't been to Camperdown for a long time but in recent years since I've been cycling I've had a lot of people reach out to me from the area," she said.
"Around the Olympics I had a lot of support from Camperdown which was cool.
"We've got a few other ex-Olympic cyclists particularly Kevin Bradshaw, who was a family friend of ours when were living in Camperdown.
"He passed away recently but he gave me a lot of support and followed me in my cycling.
"It was special to be another Camperdown representative and I thought of him while I was out there."
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.