The inaugural Albert Park GP was a quick one. 22 laps of 5.3 kilometers on the Formula 1 race course in Melbourne meant that the riders had to cover 116.6 kilometers in a race that saw a good crowd turning out on Australia Day. In the end Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) had the fastest legs, as he crossed the line ahead of Danny van Poppel (Sky) and Scott Sunderland (SwissSport-IsoWay). Tyler Farrar crossed the line in 6th place.
The pace was on right from the start and it took only a few minutes until a group of around 15 riders managed to forge clear. However, the peloton wasn’t too happy with this group and brought it back a couple of laps later.
It was the counter move that helped to establish the break of the day. Jaco Venter of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was one of the riders that jumped across to a small group which had managed to open a small gap. Besides our South African road race champion riders like Petr Vakoc (QuickStep), Ian Stannard (Sky) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) formed part of the 15-man-break. Over the next few laps the gap to the peloton grew to over 50 seconds.
With less than 20 kilometers to go the sprinters teams came to the fore. The peloton flew in single file from there on and reeled the break back in with a little more than two laps left to race. Coming out of the last corner Bennett proved to have the best legs of the day. Farrar was placed well and came home in 6th place. With a course that suits Nathan Haas the squad is looking forward to Sunday to the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Tyler Farrar – Rider
It was a fast race and the course in Melbourne was really fun to ride. That’s not always the case with circuit courses but this one offered a great opportunity to keep the momentum from the Tour Down Under. Jaco put in a great ride and flew our flag by getting into the main break. I’m happy to add another top10 to our team’s palmarès here in Australia.