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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, January 7, 2019

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Mitchelton-Scott reports on the Australian Road Race Champonships

First, the women's race:

Mitchelton-SCOTT duo Amanda Spratt and Sarah Roy have rounded up the podium, taking the silver and bronze medals respectively at the Australian Road Race Championships in Buninyong today.

As Sarah Gigante took an impressive solo victory, Spratt attacked from the peloton to claim silver whilst Roy fought on after a day in the breakaway to be rewarded with the bronze medal.

There was no easing into the nine-lap race as Roy rode herself into an early breakaway of nine that formed on the first lap. The 32-year-old was joined by Chloe Hoskins, Shara Gillow, Michaela Parsons, Ella Bloor, Sarah Gigante and Taryn Heather.

As the riders crossed the start/finish line with five laps remaining, it sparked a reaction behind. New recruit Grace Brown set it off at the bottom of the climb before Spratt pushed across to join her, with Lucy Kennedy and Gracie Elvin close behind as the bunch split into six groups.

As the laps continued, the pressure from behind further split the field and the chase groups changed in formation. With two to go, the break had reduced to five riders and the gap was down to two minutes.  Spratt, Kennedy, Elvin and Brown were towards the front.

On the back side of the course and down to three leaders after the latest climb, Gigante saw her opportunity on a technical section as Roy and Gillow played cat and mouse over workload. Gigante’s gap increased immediately and she remained solo to take an impressive victory.

Behind, Spratt passed Roy and caught Gillow to fight for the silver medal. The pair sprinted to the line and as Spratt got the better of her, Gillow sat up and allowed Roy, who hadn’t stopped believing, to pass her for a well-rewarded bronze medal.

Amanda Spratt:
“Of course we came here to win but you have to acknowledge that Sarah had an absolutely incredible ride. She showed last year in Ballarat what she is capable of, she went in the early breakaway and she was able to stay away and win which normally doesn’t happen on this course.

“We were really happy with Sarah Roy in that break, she is a rider who works so hard for the team all season, she got into the break and she is a rider who performs well on these sort of courses.

“Sarah had been feeling good the whole way through, and we got the word with just a lap and a half to go that she wasn’t so good. We went to plan B and that’s when I attacked across on the climb.

“I don’t think we could have done too much differently, I think that break was just a little bit too strong for us.”

Sarah Roy:
“I have a lot of emotions going through my body at the moment. I can be pretty proud of my ride and the team can be proud of our ride. We stuck to the plan and we forced an early break there, it would have been nice to have more than one rider in the break, but that’s a big ask.

“I’m really thankful that the team supported me for the break to go the finish. That also hurts a lot that I let the team down a little bit, it was up to me to go for the win because that’s what we are here for.  Unfortunately I didn’t get it, but it’s my first podium personally and I think I can take a lot away from the ride.”

Results:
1. Sarah Gigante (Roxsolt Attaquer) 3:03:36
2. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:50
3. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:54

And here's Mitchelton-Scott's report on the men's race:

A shattered multiple track world champion Cameron Meyer has settled for the bronze medal at the Australian Road Race Championship in Buninyong today.

After a tactically perfect race from Mitchelton-SCOTT, Meyer rode over the final climb at the front of the race aongside Chris Harper (BridgeLane), only for cat and mouse games in the final kilometre to backfire on the duo as Michael Freiberg (ACA Sunshine Coast) stormed past to take the victory.

Like the women’s race, the breakaway was keen to form in the opening lap. This time it was a group of 22 who rode away and Mitchelton-SCOTT had Mathew Hayman, Alex Edmondson and Nick Schultz amongst them.

The peloton wasn’t happy witht he situation and it's restlessness saw more riders bridge across. With Luke Durbridge, Damien Howson and Meyer there, Mitchelton-SCOTT had six in the day’s move of 34.

To big to remain contained, four riders moved off the front. It was a family affair, with Mitchelton-SCOTT pair Edmondson and Durbridge joined by Edmondson’s best friend Harper and Durbridge’s brother-in-law Freiberg.

As the laps counted down, the peloton depleted and was out of contention. It was a different story for the chase groups as Mitchelton-SCOTT still had four in the first chase, as Lucas Hamilton and Michael Hepburn covered the second chase.

With four laps to go, Meyer showed his intensions, attacking from the front chase group.  He bridged with two for company to the front group to make six at the front, including three Mitchelton-SCOTT representatives.

The intensity of racing started to take its toll on the final laps as one-by-one the front group reduced once again until just Meyer, Durbridge, Harper and Freiberg remained.

Meyer and Harper went over the top of the final climb having dropped Durbridge and slightly distanced Freiberg. The duo worked together until the final kilometer when the game of cat and mouse began.

Having not given up, Freiberg came from behind and, taking advantage of their indecisiveness, hit them immediately and sprinted to the victory. After a brief chase, Harper and Meyer settled for second and third respectively.

Cameron Meyer:
“I’m trying not to cry too much. I think I’ve been every position but first. I had every opportunity and I’m not sure if I’m more upset at myself or letting down my teammates a little bit.

“I bluffed a little bit in the final there. I knew the legs had one kick left in them. Freiberg went early, I was hoping he wouldn’t. When he was coming I was trying to play the bluff on Harper and I had to get as close to the line as I could with just one kick left, but it was too much for my legs today.

“I knew (Freiberg) was going ride tempo, I knew he didn’t have the acceleration on the last lap. He was at 20seconds (over the climb) and I knew he would keep plugging away and as a big boy he’d get that roll coming down to the line.

“I’ve seen guys come back in that final if you fox too much, the problem is I didn’t really have anything to really push to the line. I had to play cat and mouse, and it didn’t work.

“It’s hard to accept for me. I’ve been on the podium before and I’ve been wanting the green and gold for a long time. Hopefully it'll be my 12th time lucky next year.”

Results:
1. Michael Frieberg (Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) 4:44:48
2. Chris Harper (Bridgelane) +0:01
3. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:01

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