In a stunning display of determination and skill, Rosita Reijnhout of Team Visma | Lease a Bike captured her first professional victory at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The 19-year-old Dutch cyclist showcased exceptional tactical nous and resilience, outpacing close contenders Dominika Wlodarczyk of UAE Team ADQ and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig from FDJ-Suez in a nail-biting finish in Geelong as the pace stalled in the final kilometres of the race.
Reijnhout’s race-winning move was a masterclass in timing and audacity. She launched a daring solo attack in the tense final kilometres, seizing the moment when her rivals, Uttrup Ludwig and Wlodarczyk, hesitated. Despite showing signs of fatigue in the final 1500 metres, Reijnhout found an inner reserve of strength to power across the finish line, securing a landmark win in her burgeoning career. Reflecting on her triumph, Reijnhout was a mix of disbelief and elation, acknowledging her instinct-driven decision to break away and seize the opportunity.
Uttrup Ludwig, who had ignited the defining move on the last climb, shared her post-race thoughts. She admitted to overexerting herself in the climb, leading to her inability to contribute effectively in the subsequent chase. Her efforts, while valiant, left her too drained to mount a successful challenge in the final stretch.
The picturesque landscape of Victoria set the stage for the 141-kilometre race. Early in the competition, a breakaway emerged featuring Gina Ricardo (BridgeLane), Stephanie Hibburt (Australia National Team), and Lucie Fityus (ARA | Skip Capital). The peloton, maintaining a vigilant pace, caught up with the breakaway with more than 80 kilometres to go, setting up a fiercely contested finale.
The race’s complexion changed dramatically on the Challambra Crescent climb. A select group, including notable riders such as Uttrup Ludwig, Ruth Edwards of Human Powered Health, and Tour Down Under winner Sarah Gigante, made their mark, pushing ahead of the main group. The peloton fragmented further on the descent, regrouping into a larger formation as the race neared its climax.
In the decisive final 4 kilometres, Reijnhout made a bold move, distancing herself from Wlodarczyk and Uttrup Ludwig. Despite their concerted efforts to close in, Reijnhout’s lead proved just enough for her to clinch the victory, much to her own astonishment and delight. For Wlodarczyk, 2nd place on her birthday was a nice present but she also acknowledged that it could’ve been more with the gap so close to the winner.
This victory not only marks Reijnhout’s arrival on the professional stage but also sets a record, making her the youngest winner of a Women’s WorldTour one-day race. This remarkable achievement in Geelong underscores Reijnhout’s potential and positions her as a cyclist to watch in upcoming stage races and one-day classics.
2024 Women’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race result
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Main photo credit: UCIWWT