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"That was my greatest ever ride. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet really but to be honest I think 90km or 100km solo is next level I guess."

Photo: Sirotti




















10.01.2016 @ 16:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jack Bobridge got his Trek-Segafredo career off to an amazing start after a disappointing time trial as he claimed one of the most impressive solo wins ever at the Australian road race championships. After joining an early 21-rider break, he escaped with Bernard Sulzberger (Drapac) whom he dropped with 90km to go, and then finished off the amazing solo ride to claim his second title. Cameron Meyer (Dimension Data) made a late move to take second, with Patrick Lane (Avanti) taking a surprise bronze medal.


We have gathered reactions from the key riders below:


Jack Bobridge (Trek-Segafredo, 1st)

Jack Bobridge left everything out on the road. After nearly four and a half hours leading the race, he took an inconceivable solo win to capture his second National road title.


Cameron Meyer (Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka) finished in second, 2 minutes and 52 seconds behind after launching a chase that dented but couldn’t break the monster gap Bobridge had built. Patrick Lane rounded out the podium.


"I reckon I will sleep pretty well tonight," said Bobridge. "To win a national title is fantastic, you can wear the Aussie stripes in Europe and show them off all year. This is a big win for me but also for my team Trek-Segafredo. They believed in me and gave me a second chance, and I cannot thank them enough."


Bobridge’s incredible day off the front also had him gobbling up the mountain and sprint points to win both competitions on top of the green and gold jersey. It was one of the most daring and gutsy rides ever seen at the Australian championships.


"The people in Ballarat were incredible, all around the course," added Bobridge. "I guess the way I did it today got everyone pretty excited, being off the front all day and being aggressive. It was a hard way to win it, but I managed to pull it off."


A 20-rider break that included Bobridge went clear the first time over the Mt Buninyong climb in the first of 18 laps of the 183.6-kilometer race. The gap grew fast as the big teams – BMC and Orica-GreenEdge – saw little threat in the large group.


Eventually, Bobridge got away with Bernard Sulzberger (Drapac) and the two worked well together until Sulzberger fell off the pace with nine laps remaining.  The gap to the Orica-GreenEdge and BMC led chasing group was over eight and a half minutes with five laps to go, and when the gap did not decrease over the next laps Meyer and Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) decided to give chase. But it was too late. Bobridge still had nearly seven minutes lead with three laps and slightly over 30 kilometers remaining. Behind everything had shattered. It was man against man and Bobridge wasn’t slowing down.


By the finish Bobridge’s gap was cut to under three minutes; he still had plenty of time to savor his incredible effort.  Behind Meyer dropped Dennis to claim second, while Lane caught and also overtook Dennis for third. 


"It's always a hard course to judge your effort: 10kms with a nasty little climb every lap. The wind direction was different than other years; it was a tailwind up the climb which helped the breakaway riders. In the first lap when a big group of 20 riders got away I managed to put myself in there, and then later slipped away with another guy who couldn't quite go with it. From that point on I had to give my all and move on; I had used too much energy to go back - I would have lost the race if I went back. I managed to hold it off. Yeah, it's the second time in my career, and it's a great feeling."


"That was my greatest ever ride. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet really but to be honest I think 90km or 100km solo is next level I guess," said Bobridge. "In saying that this is the kind of course that when you do have that nine minute advantage those guys are still climbing and you’re descending. We had tailwind up the climb today so it’s in favour of the guys in font. I was angry at myself for Thursday not so good ride, I had Brett Aitken in the car and he was good you know. He was keeping me level headed on the climb and really looking after me.


"Every time up the climb, I watched my power meter and I knew what I could do. To do 60km down the hill, to do 62km, you have do an extra 60 watts so it wasn’t worthwhile. It was worth putting the extra 60 watts up the hill and holding them off. It was a real tactical game for me in terms of watching the power meter and really watching the effort right to the finish line.


"I looked after myself in that first group, I was watching to see if they were going to bring it back or not. It was touch and go for a little while and I think I rode a pretty tactical race, even when I was off the front solo I still rode a tactical race in terms of riding the climb, all the descends not pedalling, conserving, eating drinking all day, it was a good tactical race.


“Obviously Rohan was in fantastic condition after what he did to us the other day. I was actually going to follow either [Simon] Gerrans or Caleb [Ewan] today. In the back of my mind I thought Richie or Rohan would probably be too strong for me to try and go with them at the finish.

“When I saw that big group go at the start, 20 guys that had a lot of teams represented, I put myself there and I guess I got away with Bernie [Sulzberger] and he was umming and ahhing whether to stay there or not. At that point in time if I was to go back I’ve spent too much energy already so I’m not going to win the bike race anyway. I got myself into a good rhythm. I guess that time gap I got with nine minutes was enough to start the descent as they were starting the climb."


"I wanted redemption after Thursday," he said of the time trial in which he was tenth. "To be honest, I trained more than over before for the time trial on Thursday but it just didn’t go my way. I had one of them days when the body just didn’t want to work. Everyone has them days but I was pretty annoyed with Thursday. At the end of the day winning the road race is probably better than winning the time trial because I get to wear the jersey more often.


"I honestly didn’t think going that far from home I’d be able to hold on on this course. This course is brutal, the time gaps stayed the same and even went out a little bit so probably four, five laps from home I could probably do this if I keep riding smart."


Five years ago as a 21-year-old, Jack Bobridge won his first Australian title in similar fashion: he attacked from the breakaway and soloed the final 30 kilometers. Sometimes, history really does repeat itself.


"I wanted to start the season really good for Trek who have obviously given me a second chance to go back to the WorldTour," he said. "I guess this is massive for me, and massive for me to step up. They’ve brought a good team over for Down Under and I’d be lying if I said I’d would have a go at Down Under next week and now I’ve shown that I have the form to do it, I’ll step up and see what I can do."


Cameron Meyer (Dimension Data, 2nd)

“That was one of the most torturous national titles ever, as well as it being in that sort of heat. It was a strange race, up and down.

"Richie Porte was lighting it up for a lap then Drapac was lighting it up, then it would stop and there would be some machine out the front who wouldn’t bring it back. I’m happy to be on the podium.

“As soon as I heard the situation of that big group, I’m thinking ‘geez, they’re giving him a bit too much gap’. You let Jack Bobridge go out like that and It’s going to be a hard chase.”

Meyer was confident he could reel Bobridge in, but it wasn’t to be. “I was thinking that surely he’s going to blow at one point! Sometime his legs are going to give up, but I think it was only in the last lap. All our legs were gone as well. He thoroughly deserved it and I’m happy to be on the podium.


"I’d always gone well around here but it was the situation of being in a big team like Orica so I wanted to start the season strong, obviously moving teams is a little bit of motivation and you want to prove it was a good choice and I came out today and showed I had good legs. It’s a good start for me. 

“I’ve been fourth here twice and had a fifth (place). I was part of Jack's win, I was part of my brothers win, Luke Durbridge’s win, Simon Gerrans win and I just wanted to get on the podium.


"The race was one of the toughest we have had on that course. The heat today made it a war  of attrition. I'm really happy with my silver medal. It is my first time on the podium for the road race and unfortunately the peloton gave Jack Bobridge too much of a gap to bring back. He was super strong and deserved the Australian Champions Jersey.


"I felt really good riding for the first time in my Team Dimension Data kit and working with Nathan Haas and Mark Renshaw was really good. From a three man team to go and finish second and fourth is a great result and fantastic start to our Australian summer races. I am now looking forward to the Tour Down Under.

“For me to get on the podium, it just shows all of the hard work I’ve done. I can go into the next races confident and have another crack.”


Patrick Lane (Avanti, 3rd)

It was a big day for Pat Lane who conquered World Tour riders to claim bronze. “I’m absolutely stoked. The team put a fair bit of faith in me, and confidence. I’m really happy I could get a podium result for them.”

“I’ve got a great support base and I think that rubs off. I’ve improved a lot since last year and come back to a good level. 

”Everyone is getting good results and you see that and you really believe that with the support we’ve got, you can do it yourself. It’s a really good atmosphere within the team.”  


Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff, 5th)

Despite being the sole Tinkoff rider at the Australian Nationals, McCarthy put in a strong performance and claimed fifth overall. McCarthy showed good form in a race that saw just 15 riders finish and now sets his sight on Tour Down Under.


It didn't take long for the race to shape itself, held on a hot, Australian summer day. After just one lap on the iconic Mount Buninyong circuit, a breakaway group of 21 riders went clear. By the sixth lap, its advantage over the peloton stretched to nearly eight minutes. Lacking any team support from fellow Tinkoff riders, McCarthy didn't follow the move, hoping instead that the full squads of Orica GreenEdge or Drapac would bring the escaped riders back in.


"I had to go with the gamble and follow Richie Porte, Simon Gerrans or Rohan Dennis, hoping that it would come back close enough so that I would have a chance to fight at the finale", acknowledged McCarthy.


"Orica GreenEdge and Drapac held riders in there and that, possibly, wasn't the best strategy for their overall result. By the time they had figured that out it was too late to start bringing back Jack Bobridge", said McCarthy.


However, nobody would be able to reign in on Bobridge. The scorching heat turned the race into a war of attrition and just 15 riders of the continuously-thinning peloton were able to finish. McCarthy held on and although it would be impossible to have a shot at a medal, he was in the mix for fourth place.


"Jack was on an unbelievable ride and, together with a couple of other riders, he got away. I was in the group of eight riders that was going for fourth overall. It was decided in a bunch sprint where I finished second, taking fifth overall in the championship", commented McCarthy.


"It wasn't a bad result after all, given the odds, and my legs held very well in a very tough and hot day. It was a good day to get under the belt, going into the Tour Down Under next week. Hopefully, I will be in good shape and help the rest of my teammates. I have been speaking to our Sport Director in Adelaide, Lars Michaelsen, and he is excited to have me there", concluded McCarthy.


Matt White (sports director, Orica GreenEDGE who had Simon Gerrans in 6th)

Two-time former champion Simon Gerrans was ORICA-GreenEDGE’s sole finisher in sixth position at the Mars Cycling Australian National Championships this afternoon.


Winner Jack Bobridge (Trek Factory Racing) put in an incredible performance to ride the majority of the 18-lap, 183.6km race in front and surprised everyone to hang on for victory.


Despite a desperate chase effort, ORICA-GreenEDGE wasn’t able to take time off the South Australian.


“It was an incredible ride by Jack,” White acknowledged. “That’s never been seen before on this circuit. We’ve never seen anyone go with four laps to go, let alone 13.


"It's certainly a very unpredictable ride from a very unpredictable man. We were there riding for the win - whether we finished with a medal or not, we came here to win and it wasn't possible with the way that Jack rode.


“We put our team on the front when it got out to nine minutes but as each lap went by the time wasn’t going down.  You might say that maybe we could have put people on the front earlier but in hindsight no one would have predicted a ride like that.


"We were the ones who took responsibility for the race, to try to bring him back, but to no avail. He was just too strong.


"We had representation in that breakaway. I actually thought when Jack went with 11 laps to go, when he left Bernie Sulzberger, well that's great because it's too far to go on your own.

"I thought he was setting himself up for a shorter day in the office than what eventuated. We tried to bring him back ... we got very little help from the other teams.



"A couple of teams did some pretty interesting rides. The BMC guys were doing intervals on the climb today to try to disturb the pace of the peloton - what it did was implode the race.


"Richie was doing some five-minute efforts up the climb today and you saw after a couple of times, there was no-one left. Then we had to take responsibility from there."



Looking ahead, White said the team would now turn its attention to the Tour Down Under.


“It was a good hit out, especially for Simon,” White said. “It’s another race in the legs prior to next weekend and we’ll be ready to go again.


"It's the first of 228 race days for the team. So it's disappointing we didn't win the national title, but it's one day of a very long season and we just look ahead now to Tour Down Under."


Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte (BMC, abandoned)

BMC Racing Team’s Australian duo Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte failed to finish today’s road race at the Australian Road Championships, which was won by Trek Factory Racing’s Jack Bobridge.


It was the first road race in BMC Racing Team kit for Porte, who abandoned on lap 12, followed by Dennis, who withdrew in the final lap of the race.


“There was obviously a big break away that went away on lap one. We didn’t go on it. We were marked men, Richie and I, and then we just sat back and took a gamble on the fact that GreenEdge would have to bring it back and they left their run too late. We played that card, it’s worked other years but hasn’t worked this year,” Dennis explained.


The road race follows Dennis’ gold medal in the Individual Time Trial on Thursday, where Porte also came away with the silver.


Both riders now turn their attention to the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide.


“It would be better to finish the race but I still think I did some good efforts in there,” said Porte. “Obviously I don’t have race form but we knew that coming into here, so I’m looking forward to getting to Adelaide.”


“Next week at the Tour Down Under, it’s a whole new race. We’ve got a strong team at Tour Down Under as we’ve got a lot of experience,” Dennis confirmed.



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