Crazy crash upends Aussie Tour plans
IT'S not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
It's the old adage Mitchelton-Scott women's team are adopting for the Herald Sun Tour after their line-up was turned upside down.
The Australian team will race two riders short after it was caught up in what many are describing as the worst crash in women's cycling at last weekend's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Georgia Williams (concussion), Jessica Allen (elbow) and Grace Brown (concussion) won't start Wednesday's 94km Stage 1 in Shepparton after crashing at 70kmh on Saturday's wet approach to Geelong.
Sarah Roy has been flown in as a last-minute replacement for her first race of the Aussie summer in order to give the team the four riders needed to race.
But Gracie Elvin said teammate Lucy Kennedy's bid for back-to-back titles in the two-day race remained on track.
"I think the Aussie mentality of being an underdog or whatever it is, is bringing the fight regardless of the conditions or the situation," Elvin said.
"I think that's who we are and I'm not afraid of that and neither are the other girls.
"Lucy is in great form, like we've seen from previous races, and it's a pretty big and hilly stage on the second day so I'm not too worried about that.
"We're all really professional and we can all really race well anyway, even if we don't have a full team."
Roy, Elvin and Jess Roberts will support Kennedy in her title bid.
"We're bringing Sarah Roy in, which is really nice," Elvin said.
"She hasn't raced yet this summer so I think she'll be a bit nervous to come in at the last minute, but I think it will be really fun for her to be back with us and we've missed her."
Elvin said the team wouldn't necessarily bide its time for the decisive summit finish on Falls Creek on Thursday, hinting that it could flex its muscles on the opening day.
"I think we can also have some fun on the first day, too," she said.
"You never know what will happen and I've been going well as well and Jess Roberts is our new young gun, so I think it'll be a fun race regardless."
Elvin admitted she was thankful to have missed the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, which was made treacherous by stormy weather.
"I was lucky to miss the carnage so I'm fine," she said.
"I don't like seeing my teammates hurt; I don't like seeing anyone hurt, and for that speed and amount of riders to come down it's never nice.
"There's some other girls on other teams who are really hurt so I hope they recover OK."