Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Provides Thrilling Finale to Australian Racing Season28. January 2018, Geelong (AUS) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team wrapped up the 2018 Australian season today after a fast and furious finale saw Simon Gerrans secure a top-five finish at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
The day’s breakaway formed early with five riders jumping clear of the peloton almost as soon as the flag dropped and extending an advantage that settled at just over the six-minute mark after only 20km, of the 164km course.
Behind the leaders, BMC Racing Team was once again showing consistently solid teamwork, grouping together in the main bunch as the time gap remained stable over the first half of the day.
With just over 60km to go, the race began to head back into the heart of Geelong and with the peloton still trailing the breakaway by 6’40”, the pace heated up going onto the finishing circuits, and the first of four ascents of the short but sharp one kilometer climb up Challambra Crescent.
As the bell rang to mark the start of the third and final 16.7km lap around the city, the pressure on the two remaining leaders mounted and with the reduced bunch sitting only 30 seconds behind, they were finally caught just two kilometers later.
The final ascent of Challambra Crescent proved crucial, and the battle for position eventually saw a group of nine riders, including Gerrans, go clear heading over the top of the climb and onto the final run into the finish line.
Gerrans rode aggressively in the final stages of the race and was able to follow the flurry of attacks in the closing kilometers.
However, in the end, a determined chase group was able to bring the heavily reduced main bunch back together with Jay McCarthy (BORA - hansgrohe) eventually out-sprinting the rest of the field to take the win.
Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) and Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) rounded out the podium while Gerrans, who was right in the mix at the business end of the race, crossed the line fifth.
Unfortunately, Rohan Dennis was involved in a crash after around 120km of racing, just before the start of the second ascent of Challambra Crescent, and was forced to stop racing.
"I'm fine, I just have some road rash," Dennis explained after returning to the team hotel.
Quotes From the Finish Line
"It was a really demanding day. The heat played a big part in that, and I think a lot of the guys were really feeling the effects of it. Personally, I think I raced correctly. I did everything right in the final, and unfortunately, in the sprint, I just didn't have the legs to get over McCarthy and the other guys for the victory."
"We now have a fantastic block of racing in the legs. It's been a fantastic start to the season for BMC Racing Team, and I've built a good foundation for the European season ahead. For me, my next goals will be to build up towards Paris-Nice and then Milan San Remo."
"It was a really hard day, and I think the heat played the biggest factor in the race. It's been an enjoyable block of racing in Australia. Today wasn't the result that I was after. It was such a hard race, and it is a little bit disappointing. The Santos Tour Down Under went well for me after coming back from injury, but today, I wasn't there in the final which was a shame."
"It was nice to get started again. That was the key thing for me. I am motivated for the season and really looking forward to getting back to Europe and starting the season proper."
"I've really enjoyed the start of my season with BMC Racing Team. I had a bit of a rough start coming in with an injury, so that was a little disappointing personally but I feel like I gave everything to the team, and I have enjoyed the experience. The team's goal was to come into every race with an option to win and to be part of a team that was there to win at both the Santos Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is a cool experience and something I enjoyed."
"I felt like I gave what I had to the team. I was useful at the end of the Santos Tour Down Under, and up until the last moment today, I gave everything I had to help Gerrans and cover him the best I could so, from a sporting perspective, it has been a good start."
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
One-day race: Geelong > Geelong, 164km
Top 3: 1. Jay McCarthy (BORA - hansgrohe), 2. Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors), 3. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 5. Simon Gerrans, 52. Patrick Bevin, 54. Danilo Wyss