Rosita Reijnhout solos to victory at Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

In a nail-biting finale, chasers Wlodaraczyk and Uttrup Ludwig just failed to catch the 19-year-old, granting Reijnhout her first professional victory

Clock10:20, Saturday 27th January 2024
Reijnhout held off the chasers just long enough to cross the finish line

© Sprint Cycling Agency

Reijnhout held off the chasers just long enough to cross the finish line

Rosita Reijnhout (Visma-Lease a Bike) won a tense edition of the women's 2024 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, also known as the Deakin University Elite Women's Road Race.

After breaking away from the peloton with Dominka Wlodarczyk (UAE Team ADQ) and race favourite Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez), Reijnhout attacked with 5km to go and established a break. She looked to be fading in the final moments, but she narrowly managed to hold off her rivals at the line.

Read more: Preview: Women’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

With the peloton recovered from the women's Tour Down Under, which concluded two weeks prior, it was a combative day of racing, with several breaks and attacks mounted throughout the 141km course in Victoria, Australia. The riders set out on a coastal route, before concluding the race with two ascents of the famous Challambra Crescent climb.

The two big attacks of the day, the first led by Gina Ricardo (Team Bridgelane) and the other by Stine Dale (Team Coop-Repsol) and Alli Anderson (ARA-Skip Capital), were comfortably swept up by the peloton.

It was with just under 10km to go that we saw the first signs of the winning attack. Uttrup Ludwig established a gap between herself and the lead group on the second and final ascent of Challambra Crescent climb, and before long, Reijnhout and Wlodarczyk broke free of the peloton to begin a well-organised pursuit of the Dane.

With 5km to go, the trio formed, but within seconds, Reijnhout rode off the front, established a gap, and began her solo ride to the finish.

As the kilometres ticked down, Reijnhout's gap seemed to be shrinking fast, and her rivals loomed larger and larger behind her. Thankfully, a final burst of speed saw her secure victory, with Wlodarczyk and Uttrup Ludwig just a few metres behind her.

“I can't believe it. I'm so happy. It was really hard,” a visibly shocked Reijnhout said at the finish. “Ludwig first went and I go after and they stopped pushing. I thought 'why do we stop because there's a gap', so I was on my own and I was just fighting and pacing.”

A newcomer to the WorldTour at just 19 years of age, Reijnhout had to rely on the experience of her team to guide her through those final tactical decisions.

“I didn't know what to do, actually. I was asking on the radio what to do. I just went with intuition,” she explained. “I'm proud of the team because they did a great job.”

Uttrup Ludwig appeared bitterly disappointed at missing out on the win. At the finish, she reflected on where it had gone wrong.

“I just saw a moment and just went for it," she explained. "The problem was that I was fully red. Then there was the downhill and another climb and after the second climb, the two girls came from behind and I was just fully red and couldn’t pull. She had a gap and we never got her back. She did a super good race and chapeau to her.”

Race Results

1

nl flag

REIJNHOUT Rosita

Team Visma | Lease a Bike

3H 53' 31"

2

pl flag

WLODARCZYK Dominika

UAE Team ADQ

"

3

dk flag

LUDWIG Cecilie Uttrup

FDJ-SUEZ

"

4

us flag

EDWARDS Ruth

Human Powered Health

+ 5"

5

au flag

BROWN Grace

FDJ-SUEZ

"

6

it flag

BARALE Francesca

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL

"

7

fr flag

GUILMAN Victorie

St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93

"

8

au flag

ROY Sarah

Australia

"

9

mu flag

LE COURT Kim

AG Insurance-Soudal Team

"

10

gb flag

TOWERS Alice

CANYON//SRAM Racing

"

Provided by FirstCycling

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