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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday January 28, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race reports

Here's the organizer's summary:

Italian superstar Elia Viviani sprinted home to claim victory in a thrilling end to the Elite Men’s Race. Viviani sought redemption after finishing second to Australian Jay McCarthy in the 2018 edition. The 29-year-old, who competes for powerhouse Deceuninck – Quick Step, is the fifth rider to win the Elite Men’s race since its inception in 2015. He won the 163km race in 3hr 54min 35sec.

Elia Viviani

Viviani was the day's fastest rider.

Australian Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) was second across the line, just a split second behind Viviani, with Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Daryl Impey rounding out the top three.

Young Australian talent Nathan Elliott (Australian Cycling Team KordaMentha Real Estate) led an early breakaway of three riders, but was eventually chased down during the gruelling Challambra circuit. He didn’t go home empty handed, winning the Mapei Sprint Classification, while Astana Pro Team’s Laurens De Vreese was crowned Subaru King of the Mountain.

Over 120,000 spectators packed Albert Park Lake and the streets of Geelong and the Surf Coast over the four-day event.

Race Results – Men

1. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
2. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal)
3. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
4. Ryan Gibbons (Team Dimension Data)
5. Jens Debusschere (Katusha-Alpecin)

Mapei Sprint Classification
Nathan Elliott (Australian Cycling Team KordaMentha Real Estate)

Subaru King of the Mountain
Laurens De Vreese (Astana Pro Team)

Gerry Ryan Award
Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale)

Average speed: 41.8km/h

Caleb Ewan's Lotto-Soudal team sent me this:

The first one-day WorldTour race was scheduled in Geelong today. The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race ended, after a truly thrilling finale, in a bunch kick where Lotto Soudal rider Caleb Ewan sprinted to the second place, only just behind winner Elia Viviani. Daryl Impey completed the podium.

It was Team Astana lighting up the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Just over the top of the second ‘Challambra Crescent’ Laurens De Vreese, the only survivor of the early break, was joined by his teammate Ballerini. During the last ‘Challambra’ climb, only ten kilometres from the line, the punchers did not manage to create a considerable gap as the peloton was dedicated to make it a sprint finish in Geelong. A couple of riders still tried to avoid that reduced group sprint, but without success. During the final sprint, Caleb Ewan got a little boxed in but still managed to reach out his hand to the victory. Unfortunately for the Australian, the finish line came a little too early.

Caleb Ewan: “It was very hectic every time we approached the climb as the fight for positions was fierce. But the boys did a great job today. The last two laps were really hard but when I got over the second last climb, I realised that I had a good chance of sprinting for the victory because a lot of sprinters had some teammates left to bring back possible attacks.”

“It was pretty close in the end. I was in a good position leading up to the sprint. I have to thank my teammates for getting me there at the end. I got boxed in a little by Impey and by the time I could get around him, I realised, against a fast guy like Viviani, that it would be hard to still get the win. If I could have started earlier, I maybe could have won. I will now have a little break and then prepare for the UAE Tour.”

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this report:

The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race commenced and finished in the harbour city of Geelong, south-west of Melbourne. The first 100km of the 163km-long course took the riders around a large loop around the coastal areas of Barwon Heads, Torquay and Bells Beach. The finale featured three hilly loops around Geelong. Not long after the start, three riders distanced themselves from the main field and quickly pedalled out an advantage of more than 4 minutes. Already at the 100km to go mark, BORA-hansgrohe rider Michael Schwarzmann was active at the head of the peloton as the team took over the pace setting.

On the first climb of the 1km-long and up to 22 percent steep Challambra Cresent, one of the breakaway riders was dropped. Two riders then broke free from the group and took chase after the remaining two riders out in front.  After the third passage through the finish line, the race then entered the business end. D. Ballerini led solo, with BORA – hansgrohe, with Lukas Pöstlberger and Maciej Bodnar, coming to the front once again to force the tempo, and the soloist was reled back in with 9km remaining.

A series of attacks followed, and riders constantly tried to push to the front of the field. Daniel Oss was able to neutralise several attacks in the final kilometres, however, in the end, E. Viviani put in a strong finish to take the victory. Last year’s winner Jay McCarthy finished in 8th position.  

From the finish line:
"The race was not as hard as last year and so there were several top sprinters in the finale. It was a bit stressful on the last lap because the group was larger than we had hoped for. As a result, it was not necessarily going to be easy to get a good result. We did our best and the guys worked together well today during the whole race.” – Jay McCarthy

“In this year’s edition of the race, it all came down to a sprint from a larger group, and the guys put in a good leadout for Jay [McCarthy], but eventually he finished in 8th place. I think this is a satisfactory result for us. Riders of the calibre of Viviani and Ewan were present in the final sprint, and so it was not the same situation as last year. However, I think we can be content as we work towards our next races.” – Steffen Radochla, Sports Director 

Lucinda Brand wins Hoogerheide cross race

Brand's Team Sunweb sent this report:

Team Sunweb’s Dutch cyclo-cross champion Lucinda Brand displayed strong form ahead of next weekend’s world championships with an impressive win at the Hoogerheide world cup today, conquering a muddy course to ride away from the competition and take her third world cup win.

Lucinda Brand

Lucinda Brand wins again

Brand said: “My start was good but the first half a lap was a bit difficult and frustrating because I kept crossing my line with other riders. Luckily I could calm down and get some space to ride my own lines and come back to the front. I tried to recover a bit before pushing it again to see what happened and as soon as I got a small gap I just continued to focus on increasing it and staying out of danger. For sure I’m super happy with the victory and I’m already looking forward to next weekend.”

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans added: “One of Lucinda’s strengths is that she can stay calm and do her own race, so when the others started fast she handled it really well and managed to get back to the front. As soon as she got there she took the initiative and put the pressure so high that the other riders dropped and she opened up a big gap. This is her third world cup win this season which is super impressive and should give her a good boost ahead of the worlds.”

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