The Australian time trial champion Grace Brown collected her fifth win of the season with a powerful display in Spain; first in stage three of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta… and it offers a promising sign for what’s to come later this month.


“I thought maybe this stage could suit me and it was aggressive all day which is the type of racing that I enjoy.”

Grace Brown isn’t the kind of rider who is prepared to wait for an opportunity to win; rather, she is prepared to take a gamble and race aggressively while also saving some energy for the finish if her attacking antics do happen to pay off. And that’s exactly what happened on day three of the four-stage CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta.

The FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope rider has demonstrated that she has the right kind of form at the right time of the year to challenge for a win that has so far eluded Australian women: the road world championships, which will begin in Wollongong next weekend.

The winner of the TT at the Commonwealth Games was named as a member of the Australian team for #Wollongong2022 a few weeks ago.

Grace Brown in action at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift in July. (Photo: Zac Williams)

Brown will soon swap her trade team colours for the green-and-gold jersey when she joins Georgia Baker, Brodie Chapman, Alex Manly, yesterday’s winner of the ‘Most Aggressive Rider prize in Spain, Sarah Roy, Amanda Spratt and Wollongong local Josie Talbot for the road race in two weeks’ time.

Before the elite women’s road race on the Saturday of the worlds, Brown will be hoping that she will be able to recover quickly from the jet lag that will impact riders who are currently competing in the women’s event that’s part of the women’s event running concurrently with the Vuelta a España.

As the reigning time trial champion of Australia, she is also expected to be in action on the opening day of racing in Wollongong, when she will represent the host nation in the first event of the championships. This year marks the first occasion when the elite women will race the TT over the same distance as the elite men (34.2km, featuring two laps of a city circuit in Wollongong).

Brown will soon swap her trade team colours for the green-and-gold jersey of the Australian team. The TT national champion, and Georgia Baker, will represent the host nation of the world championships in the TT on the first day of competition. (Photo: Zac Williams)

In Aguilar de Campoo overnight Brown got the better of her last breakaway companion, Elise Chabbey of the Canyon-SRAM team. They escaped late in stage three and held off the chasing peloton to arrive at the finish with an advantage of eight seconds over the next-best rider, last year’s road race world champion Elise Balsamo of Italy (Trek-Segafredo).

“I followed Elise Chabbey in the last 10 kilometres and we had a gap on the group and we worked together really well – and I was able to outsprint her in the final, so I’m happy.”

It is Brown’s fifth win of the season that included first place in the Commonwealth Games TT in August.

Brown is a consistent performer against the clock but also not stranger to the pressures of international competition like what she will face in Wollongong. Her fourth place in the time trial of the Tokyo Olympics, only seven seconds shy of the podium, is worth noting as she will be up against the same rivals next weekend as those she raced against in Japan last year.

Beyond her powerful riding, Brown also has an appetite for aggressive racing and she put that one display again overnight in Spain. “I had the plan that I would look for opportunities to attack and make a breakaway,” she said after winning stage three of the CERATIZIT Challenge, adding: “I was up the road a few times today actually. It was the final one that worked…”

Expect to see her on the attack again when the worlds road race gets underway in Helensburgh on 24 September. The penultimate race on the #Wollongong2022 program suits a rider of Brown’s capabilities and the victory in Spain confirms that she not only has the form for a good result in Australia later this month, but also the confidence to take on the world’s best.

“On this sort of course it’s hard to know when the moment is. You have to feel the race.”

Australian fans will be hoping that Brown will maintain the momentum that she’s had all year after making the trip back ‘home’ before swapping from her FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope jersey into the Australian colours.



– By Rob Arnold