Race Melbourne Criterium: Fast Finish Ahead of Sunday’s Road Race25. January 2018, Melbourne (AUS) — Road Team
The Towards Zero Race Melbourne Criterium served as a final hit out before the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race this Sunday, with an expected bunch sprint playing out on the F1 track.
22 laps of the 5.3km course, 116.6km in total, set the stage for the second edition of the race where BMC Racing Team lined up with the Santos Tour Down Under team, with the exception of Richie Porte.
A flurry of attacks early on saw a seven-rider breakaway go clear in the opening laps and establish a maximum advantage of 1’15”.
The sprinters’ teams controlled the race from the very beginning and allowed the breakaway to maintain their advantage to avoid the race coming back too early.
With six laps remaining, Rohan Dennis put the pressure on with an attack that saw him lead the peloton through the finish line in pursuit of the breakaway.
An increase in pace from the group saw their advantage stabilize once again and it was only in the final lap, that the last remaining breakaway riders were caught.
As the sprint trains were formed, BMC Racing Team’s riders stayed out of trouble to cross the line safely, while up ahead Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) took the win for the second consecutive year.
BMC Racing Team’s Australian season wraps up on Sunday with the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was quite a controlled race this year with several sprinters’ teams really taking control early in the race. For my BMC Racing Team teammates and I, it was a great opportunity to have a good little hit out in preparation for Sunday’s race. It looked like everyone got around in good condition, didn’t take any risks, and achieved what they hoped to do. I feel really good. I’ve been a little bit tired this week following the Santos Tour Down Under so night tonight was great to get out there and do a quick 120km of racing, really open things up, and set things up for the weekend. I’m feeling a lot better than I was at this time last year so that gives me confidence ahead of Sunday. It’s going to be a tough day with really hot conditions, and a more selective finish circuit, so I’m hopeful.”
“There were two reasons for going on the attack: Just a bit of training. But also, the lap before I thought the gap was 30 odd seconds and when I spoke to Simon Gerrans I said “maybe we bring it back early and it will open the race back and give us some sort of a chance”. But when I came around, the breakaway accelerated and I thought “oh well, they’ve let me off the front so I may as well keep going”. I’ve been a bit lethargic this past week. I don’t think it was the physical side of things because it was quite hot so we couldn’t really push our bodies muscular-wise but the heat just knocked us around a bit, and drained me energy-wise. So, I’m still recovering a little bit and taking it day by day. On Sunday, I don’t expect too much from myself. Probably, I’ll have role helping Gerro or Richie Porte in the final. If not, maybe they’ll ask me to try and go in a break. If I can, I can. If I can’t, I can’t.”
Towards Zero Race Melbourne
Melbourne > Melbourne (116.6km)
Top 3: 1. Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe), 2. Elia Viviani (Quickstep-Floors), 3. Steele von Hoff Bennelong SwissWellness