Brown, Dutch look forward to road race

·2-min read

Grace Brown's silver medal has whetted her appetite for an historic Australian win at the world road cycling championships.

But Ellen van Dijk and her Dutch teammates are determined to go one better after last year's near-misses at the Olympics and road worlds.

Brown won silver in Sunday's first event at the Wollongong worlds when she finished 12 seconds behind van Dijk in the elite time trial.

It was Brown's first medal at the road worlds and follows last year's fourth at the Olympics and her Birmingham Commonwealth Games gold medal in the discipline.

Van Dijk claimed her third time trial world championship.

Now Brown wants another medal on Saturday in the road race.

Australia has never won the women's road race world title, claiming five silver medals.

Amanda Spratt, who has returned from major surgery this season, will also race on Saturday. She won bronze in 2019, as well as silver the year before.

"It's made me hungry, to be so close to the rainbow jersey," Brown said.

"It's a bit of a big goal to go for both time trial and road race, but I think I can have a good road race as well - I'm optimistic, but I'm going to celebrate this first."

Brown is also acutely aware of Australia's team-first ethos, which served them so well at the Commonwealth Games road race as they set up Georgia Baker for the gold medal.

She noted Spratt and Alex Manly could also be medal contenders.

"We have a really strong team, but we also have a lot of trust and a lot of respect for each other," Brown said.

"So we'll race for our best ability and support whoever is having the best day."

That has been a tough lesson for the Dutch, who are perennial favourites in the women's road events at the worlds and Olympics.

Last year, Annemiek van Vleuten thought she had won the Olympic road race, but was behind shock Austrian winner Anna Kiesenhofer.

Then Dutch icon Marianne Vos also was second at the worlds behind Italian Elisa Balsamo.

"Of course, the only goal is winning again," van Dijk said.

"We definitely have a different approach this year from last year - we worked a lot on team building, we had a lot of meetings together, not just on the bike, also off the bike.

"We are ready."

The worlds continue on Monday with the men's under-23 time trial, which will feature no Australian starters.