Credit: Con Chronis / Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
Emily Herfoss (Roxsolt-Attaquer) is the best rider in Australia not in the WorldTour, there’s little debate over that fact now as she has been right around the mark of the WorldTour athletes she’s competed against this summer.
It was another case of so close but so far for Herfoss at Race Torquay, with the Roxsolt-Attaquer rider making the tough choice to launch herself over to the break, then had to watch eventual winner Brodie Chapman (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitane-Futuroscope) slip away before she launched her powerful final surge to take second.
“I was eager all day to do something and Peta was telling me to stay calm,” said Herfoss. “It’s quite hot and we didn’t want to do too much of an effort today heading into Saturday. I saw Tayler (Wiles) off the front and I’d been trying to get off the front the lap before and I just tried to get across to her.
“It took about four kilometres to catch her, us just solo time-trialling. Once we got with each other we worked really well and caught Brodie (Chapman) and Lauren (Stephens) at the top of the hill.”
Having made the catch, the quartet worked well together until the final lap, when the win seemed a little more realistic. Herfoss went through some dramatic swings in the final lap but was very strong in the run to the line, over-hauling Wiles in the final few hundred metres for a fast-finishing second.
“I nearly got dropped when Tayler attacked on the last few pinches,” said Herfoss. “In the last few kilometres, the other girls were playing a bit of cat-and-mouse so I decided to sit at the back, I was willing to lose the race to try and win it. Brodie just snuck away at the end there and I couldn’t get across to her, but I’m super happy with second.”
Herfoss was in better spirits than after her third-placed finish in the nationals time trial, when her normally bubbly personality was notably subdued and strained.
“It’s hard to swallow being just ten seconds away from a national championship,” said Herfoss back in January, “but I can’t complain. Third in Australia, I’m happy with that.
It wasn’t a win, but in a lot of ways it may as well have been, as it marked a significant uptick in Herfoss’ ability against the clock, and set her as one of the benchmark riders for the summer, which she backed up by launching from the peloton to claim fourth in the nationals road race with her teammate Justine Barrow up the road.
A below-par race for the Tour Down Under was a blip on a positive summer, but Herfoss has lofty ambitions still for 2020, with big race starts and even potentially an Olympics berth up for grab if she performs to the best of her ability.
“I aimed for the time trial, I knew it was an Olympic year and something might be up for grabs,” said Herfoss. “I’ll be looking forward to racing with Roxsolt-Attaquer in Europe and America, then come back for the National Road Series later in the season.”
While a just reward for her form and efforts over the Australian summer would have been a win at some point Herfoss still has her chin up and is looking ahead for Saturday, when stormy conditions await the female peloton for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
“TDU didn’t go as quite planned for me, I wasn’t feeling too great,” said Herfoss. “But I’ve come in here feeling great and I’m looking ahead to Saturday.”
The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race continues on Saturday with the elite women’s race starting at 12.20pm AEDT.
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Written by Jamie Finch-Penninger
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