Meet Gracie Elvin: The Pro Road Cyclist

by | Nov 28, 2017

Gracie Elvin is 28 years old, a pro road cyclist and Bike Exchange ambassador. 

How did you get into cycling?

“I did MTB (mountain bike) days at school and loved beating the boys. Dad set up an old road bike for me when I was 13 and we rode together. I went along to skills sessions and got hooked pretty quickly.” 

So when did you go pro?

“In 2012 I did my rst full racing season in Europe. I was also an MTB rider before that and competed at the highest level for three years from 2009.”

What do you love about cycling?

“Cycling’s given me cofidence – I was a very shy young person; I’ve met amazing people through the sport; I’ve surprised myself at how far I can push my body and mind; and I love seeing the world on two wheels. I’ve been to so many unique places that I would’ve never seen otherwise.” 

What’s your training like?

“During the Aussie summer I build tness for the European season and ride about 500km per week. I also mix in three gym sessions a week, and race more than 50 days of the year.”

What are you most looking forward to?

“My main goal is to do well in a Belgian race called The Tour of Flanders. It’s like a footy grand final weekend for them – about a million fans line the roads that day. It gives me chills every time I race there and I’d love to win that race more than any other.”

What would you say to women thinking of trying out cycling?

“Riding a bike brings a special joy because you feel so free. And the speed and e ciency of cycling is second to none in terms of both healthy commuting or exercise. I’d suggest starting with your local bike shop or club to get advice on the right bike for you and people to ride with.”

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Your First Look At The Tour de France Femmes 2022 Route

For decades now, cyclists and their fans have been clambering for a women’s Tour de France. While the sport offers numerous events in the realm of road to gravel racing for female cyclists, they all tend to fall short to the kind of European stage race that has continued to attract the best competitors in the men’s field and, for those watching at home, left them inspired to purchase a bike and get outdoors. It’s safe to say that for many who aren’t even familiar with cycling, the Tour de France is well known. The event is bigger than the sport itself, having produced some of the most well known names in sport, even if controversy continues to surround them and the race itself which has long been plagued by doping scandals. Even so, the fact remains that few races possess the same kind of frantic energy, prestige and wonder as the Tour and not surprisingly, the sport’s female stars have fought for years to see a lasting, prestigious women’s stage race run alongside the men’s Tour. 

Earlier this year, it was confirmed that a women’s edition of the race will go ahead in 2022 that closely follows after the men’s race. According to Tour de France organiser, Christian Prudhomme, the women’s race will begin after the men’s Tour. As Prudhomme told The Guardian, “It will take place next year, that’s certain. It would have happened this year if it had not been for the Covid-19 pandemic, obviously, and above all if the Tokyo Olympics had not been after the [men’s] Tour, so the best riders may not be available. But the decision has been taken. There will be a Tour de France femmes in 2022 following closely after the [men’s] Tour.”

Now, the sport’s female athletes have been granted their first look at the 2022 race route which was recently unveiled in the Palais des Congres in Paris by newly appointed race director Marion Rousse. Even the unveiling was significant, with the elite women sitting alongside the peloton’s elite men in the Paris auditorium for the first time. It marks a shift in the landscape of cycling, one that puts women on an equal playing field as their male counterparts and signals a long-awaited leap in the profile of women’s cycling. Rousse described the “honour” of being the director of the women’s Tour de France, adding that: “The women’s races we have now are jewels to cherish.”

As the unveiling depicts, the women will begin on the Champs-Elysees before the route then zigzags east towards the Vosges Mountains and the Haut-Rhin, taking in sprint stages, gravel tracks that wind through the vineyards of Champagne, before ascending to high-altitudes in the final weekend. It will culminate in the 24 per cent gravel climb to Super Planche des Belles Filles. 

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“We wanted to start from Paris,” Rousse said of the women’s Tour. “With only eight stages, we couldn’t go down to the Alps or the Pyrenees, the transfers would be too long.” It was also announced that the women’s Tour de France champion would pocket a staggering 50,000 euro (approximately $78,190 AUD), with a further pot of $312,760 for Tour stage winners. 

Lizzie Deignan, winner of the inaugural women’s Paris-Roubaix this month, spoke of the announcement as being “an important day for cycling, not just women’s cycling.”

“It is a key indicator that the sport is still progressing as we are now able to compete in the most well-known bike race in the world. I think the organisers have done a really good job preparing the route for this edition.”

Deignan went on to add: “It will showcase the best that women’s cycling has to offer with a stage suited to every type of rider, something I was really hoping for. The route has been designed to offer entertaining racing from start to finish, but also to reach a crescendo with the final stage finishing on the Super Planche des Belles Filles, one of the hardest climbs in professional cycling.”