Ahead of the opening stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in Northamptonshire, we spoke to top ten finisher in 2016 Gracie Elvin of the Orica AIS team.

The 28-year-old has enjoyed an excellent Spring, finishing second at both the Tour of Flanders and Dwars Door Vlaanderen single-day races in Belgium.

You’re returning to the OVO Energy Women’s Tour for the fourth year – what is it you like so much about this race?

“The first year I raced [2014] I fell in love with the race. It was so cool having all the schoolchildren out supporting and the great town atmospheres at the starts and finishes each day. Every year they’ve made the courses harder, so it’s definitely one of the prime events in the calendar for us. I’m so excited to race in London on Sunday, too. I’ve never raced there before, so that will be a fantastic experience.”

Are you targeting the GC or stage wins this week?

“I’m better in the sprints if it’s been a harder race, but I’m still fully aware that this is going to be a really difficult week. I’m going to look after myself, be positive and know that I can get through the harder stages and cope with the weather.”

How’s the form?

“I’ve had a strong Spring, I enjoyed a really good training camp in Spain and raced in the Emakumeen Bira in the past few weeks so I’m feeling pretty good for this. I’m keeping my expectations pretty mellow – I’d love to go for stage results more than anything this week.”