Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, winning a reduced group sprint from Elia Viviani (Quickstep- Floors) and Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott).
Riders were greeted with searing temperatures at the start of today’s 160km World Tour one-day race in Geelong, which would largely influence the outcome of today’s race. 5 riders braved the heat to form the early break of the day, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were content to sit in the peloton and wait for the final local laps to make a mark on the race. Mitchelton-Scott and Team Sunweb controlled the gap to the 5 riders up the road, eventually bringing the race back together ahead of the final circuit.
Unfortunately Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka lost Ben O’Connor, Mark Renshaw and Jaco Venter before the finale, O’Connor rather light-headed from the scorching temperature. As nobody was prepared to risk attacking too far from home, the race all came down to the final climb on the local lap, placed just 10km from the finish line. Over the top, it was a group of 9 riders who slipped away from the rest of the peloton.
The peloton shattered on the climb though, and with a few teams having two riders in the front group, they were able to drive open their advantage before a concerted chase began. A group of 20 riders formed behind the leaders, with another smaller group of 15 behind that group. Our African Team had Lachlan Morton and Tom-Jelte Slagter in the latter group and unfortunately they would not be able to race themselves back into contention.
The main chase group made contact with the 9 leaders in the final 500m but McCarthy started his sprint early enough to keep a slim advantage over the fast finishing Viviani, who was in the chase group. Impey, after his winning ride at the Tour Down Under last week, secured the final podium place.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
Today was another really hot day. Throughout the week it was around 23 degrees, with some rain but today the heat came back and it averaged 39 degrees. After 5 riders got away we waited for the local laps but because it was so hot, everyone was afraid to go deep in the climbs and in fact some riders still got dizzy just riding tempo in the bunch. So that was the reason there were no attacks in the final circuit, which also allowed the likes of Viviani to stay in contention. Everything came down to the last lap, if it was a day of 20 degrees the race would have been totally different but today it ended with a bunch sprint of 30 riders. We missed out on having someone there, Lachlan and Tom were close but both just missed out and were struggling with the heat on the last climb. It was the same for the rest of our team like Ben, who had to stop because he was completely losing control of his bike. So it was not a good day for us, no result, but that’s how it goes and we just have to look forward to the next races in Europe and the Middle-East.