Ruby Roseman-Gannon
Australian road race champion Ruby Roseman-Gannon will make her Olympics debut in Paris. Image by Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS
  • cycling

Ruby well-equipped for unpredictable Olympic road race

Roger Vaughan July 6, 2024

Weird things have a habit of reoccurring in cycling’s Olympic road races.

If Australian Games debutant Ruby Roseman-Gannon is at the pointy end of the August 4 women’s event, she has shown an ability to take full advantage of any opportunity.

No race radios and smaller-than-usual teams mean the Olympics can be a nightmare for the favourites.

Dutch great Annemiek van Vleuten crossed the finish line in Tokyo with her arms in the air, thinking she had won.

Well… this is awkward.

The #Olympics favourite in the women’s road race was left shattered after mistakenly celebrating as if she won gold – after the entire field missed the real winner sneaking away from them earlier on. #Tokyo2020


— FOXSportsAUS (@FOXSportsAUS) July 25, 2021

But unheralded Austrian Anna Kiesenhofer had won the gold medal a minute earlier.

Similarly, Kathy Watt surprised French great Jeannie Longo when the Australian won the 1992 road race in Barcelona.

These reflect the unpredictability of road racing. A dominant team can have everything set up, like SD Worx last month in the final stage at the Tour of Britain.

Their leader Lotte Kopecky tried to set up the stage win for teammate Christine Majerus.

But Majerus committed road cycling’s cardinal sin, starting her victory salute just before the finish line.

Sure enough, Roseman-Gannon sped past Majerus to claim her maiden professional road race win.

“On the line I didn’t realise she was saluting, I just went as hard as I could to the line. It wasn’t until I was across the line that I thought ‘whoa,I think I won’,” Roseman-Gannon told AAP.

“I didn’t know what was going on.

“If you’re riding your best race, that’s all you can do. If I hadn’t won, it would still be a success because I put myself in the right position, I did everything I could in that final.

“Sometimes it’s just luck, the weird circumstances that can occur.”

While weird, the win also was no fluke. Roseman-Gannon and her Liv AlUla Jayco teammates had ridden the tour with purpose.

“Getting on the top step is pretty challenging, because it’s usually the same riders who win … it’s pretty difficult to break that,” Roseman-Gannon said of bigger teams, especially SD Worx.

“If you watch the whole race and the way our team rode, we weren’t passive, we were really aggressive.

“For me to win, it’s really nice to give back to all my teammates, who sacrificed a lot to make that final happen.”

Roseman-Gannon will be in the Liv AlUla Jayco team for the July 7-14 Giro d’Italia Women, where the reigning Australian road champion will hone her form ahead of the Olympics.

The Dutch again will be the country to beat in the 158km Olympic road race, which finishes at the Trocadero in central Paris.

Their powerful team will feature Demi Vollering, Marianne Vos, Lorena Wiebes and Ellen van Dijk, while Kopecky, the reigning world champion, will lead the Belgian squad.

Roseman-Gannon’s main job, along with Lauretta Hanson, will be to support compatriot Grace Brown.

While Brown’s main event will be the time trial she has shown strong form this year in road races.

And at the Olympics, anything can happen.