Gold Coast's newest cycling talent Danielle De Francesco (Specialized Women's Racing) has shocked herself to win the first National Road Series race of her career at the 2021 Tour de Brisbane partnered with Splatt Lawyers.
De Francesco bided her time until the final ascent of Mt Coot-tha to stage a surge away from a diminished peloton in pursuit of Roxsolt Attaquer p/b Liv SRAM's Justine Barrow.
With the catch of Barrow made on the high-speed descent of Coot-tha, De Francesco let it all hang out to create a small gap before heading back into the heart of Brisbane.
The professional triathlete was at her strongest in the final 10km of the race, switching herself into time trial mode to eventually win by 1:11 over Barrow.
"I was really shocked rolling over the line in first," De Francesco said.
"I didn’t expect it - I was always going to give it my all but I’m shocked and very happy to come away with a first NRS win.
"The climb was pretty tame the first two times around, and then on the last time we had a little break of about five or six of us including Emily Roper and Justine Barrow.
"I knew she (Barrow) would be one to watch up the last climb and I just had my eyes set on her up there.
"On the downhill coming down Coot-tha I caught Justine and then just kept going on my own, time trialling to the end.
"I had no idea what was going on back there, I could see a few motorbike lights and thought they might be close but turns out I had a bit of a gap."
De Francesco's Specialized Women's Racing teammate Ella Bloor won the Sprint classification, while Justine Barrow took the honours in the Mountain classification.
ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast's Anya Louw continued her strong form in the 2021 NRS season, winning the sprint for third and the Young Rider classification.