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"I didn't look back once - I'm quite an emotional rider and the littlest thing, if I'd have seen them close to me, might have been all it took for me to crack, so it was head down until I was on the finish straight."

Photo: Sirotti












































31.01.2016 @ 13:32 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Peter Kennaugh became the first Sky rider to win a race in 2016 when he claimed an impressive solo win in the second edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Having attacked on the hardest climb with 12km to go, he went into time trial and held off an elite chase group by six seconds to take the first international one-day win of his career. Leigh Howard (IAM) won the sprint for second, with Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek) completing the podium.


We have gathered several reactions.


Kennaugh: I am an emotional rider so I didn’t dare to look back

Pete Kennaugh took a stunning solo victory at the Great Ocean Road Race after attacking with 10 kilometres to go.


The Manxman sprung clear and quickly built up a 20-second lead before keeping a reduced peloton at bay to earn one of the finest wins of his career.


The team had other options in the chasing peloton, in the shape of Luke Rowe and Ben Swift, but they weren't needed as Kennaugh put his head down and powered to the line.


As expected it was a frantic day of racing in Australia and, once the early breakaway of five men was caught, the race became increasingly fractured.


With 30km to go Salvatore Puccio joined a chasing group and caught the leaders, before staying out front with two other riders for a good chunk of the closing stages.


Numerous attacks were launched from the bunch, although few had any great affect on the race, but as the pace quickened lots of riders lost touch with the peloton.


But Team Sky retained a strong presence in the pack and, just as Puccio's group was caught with 10km remaining, Kennaugh sprung clear and set off on his own attack.


The 26-year-old looked strong and, as the chasers failed to organise themselves, he flew over the final climb, built on his lead, and took the win.


Winner Kennaugh praised road captain Rowe's influence immediately after the race.


He said: "I have to thank Luke Rowe really. The whole race he was telling me to stay calm. I went up the road with a lap to go but straight away he said 'Sit up, it's not going to work', and he kept me calm throughout the race.


"When I went he said 'Just hit it, don't look back'. I did that and I know people go on about power all the time these days - I'm not one who likes numbers - but I've been doing a lot of work on that and I tried to pace myself all the way to the finish.


"I had the legs, although I felt terrible for the first half of the race, but they came round."


Once he'd built a gap the peloton never really clawed much time back, but Kennaugh admitted that he didn't dare look behind.


He added: "I didn't look back once - I'm quite an emotional rider and the littlest thing, if I'd have seen them close to me, might have been all it took for me to crack, so it was head down until I was on the finish straight.


"That's what I did and… it worked."

New signing Leigh Howard takes first podium for IAM in 2016

“It was a tough day especially since we had only five riders on the start line while most other teams had seven.  The guys did a great job for me, and I felt good,” Leigh Howard explained shortly after the awards ceremony.  “I am very satisfied with our performance.  We did everything possible to win.”


"I think the race was a difficult race and we did what we could with only five guys. There were other really strong teams with seven guys and for the amount of people we had, we did everything possible. Best of the rest and hopefully the beginning of a good season.


After a solo flight of around fifteen kilometers, Peter Kennaugh (Sky) succeeded in celebrating the victory in Geelong just six seconds ahead of IAM Cycling’s Leigh Howard, who won the sprint for second out of the group of pursuers.


Satisfied with this result, Kjell Carlström, directeur sportif, discussed the situation at the finish line. 


“It was a great race.  We knew it would be hard, and a lot of riders attempted to escape early on, it order to make life difficult for the sprinters.  We were attentive with Jarlinson Pantano and Aleksejs Saramotins working hard in the chase group to bring Kennaugh back,” Carlström explained.  “In the last kilometers, both Pantano and Saramotins did a lot of work for Howard, but in the end Kennaugh was too strong.  I am very happy to be able to leave Australia with this result.  The team showed great spirit again today.”


Leigh Howard’s second place is the first podium finish for IAM Cycling in the 2016 season.  The Australian’s success is in large part thanks to the strong overall team performance, which also saw Simon Pellaud and Marcel Aregger make important contributions, and is reason enough for celebration.


Bonifazio on the podium in first race for Trek-Segafredo

Trek-Segafredo new recruit, Italian Niccolò Bonifazio, claimed a well-earned podium Sunday in Geloong, sprinting to third place in the second edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race after a selective race left a skeleton group to fight out the finale.


After a fast and furious battle in the closing laps, Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) attacked on the steep climb 12 kilometers from home and crested the top with a handy 20-second gap that he held to the line for the win.


IAM Cycling gave a heated chase in the final run-in for Leigh Howard, who edged our Bonifazio in the sprint for second, six seconds behind Kennaugh.


"Kennaugh was super strong, and we could not get him back," said Bonifazio. "In the sprint for second the IAM team made the leadout and I was caught behind a small gap that opened at 400 meters and I could not recover – but I am super happy with a podium in my first race with the team!"


The final three laps of 20 kilometers in Geloong gave a thrilling ending to the 174-kilometer race. Numerous riders pushed the pace, creating dangerous moves that threatened to snap the elastic to the peloton, which in the end destroyed many legs and finally nullified the day's breakaway.


Despite the aggressive racing, everything came together - albeit in a much–reduced group - before the final steep pitch where Kennaugh launched his winning attack.


It was a move no one could match, while behind splintered groups formed a 19 strong chase that simply ran out of real-estate and settled for the minor places behind the Team Sky rider.


"The strategy of today was to have Ryder [Hesjedal] as our protected leader so he could be there in the end to cover any attacks, but he was not able to follow in the steep climb," explained general manager Luca Guercilena. "The second leader was Niccolò, who is a good sprinter, and he was able to come back to the peloton with six kilometers to go. He made a great sprint and to finish third in his first race with the team, for such a young guy, is fantastic. It was a hard race, and a very hard final circuit in Geloong, and I think we did our maximum we could. We can be very satisfied to be on the podium."


The Trek-Segafredo squad in Australia will next face the five-day Harold Sun Tour which begins February 3rd. 


Pim Ligthart nearly on the podium after aggressive Lotto Soudal performance

The second edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race came down to the wire, with Pim Lightart finishing the race in fourth place in a sprint behind the solo winner Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky). Lotto Soudal was the animator of the day, with several of the team’s riders attacking throughout the race.


Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal explained the plans. 


“The aggressive tactics of our riders today was part of the plan. We didn’t want to arrive at the finishing straight with the pre-race favourites such as Simon Gerrans or Caleb Ewan, so we gave it our all to drop them before the finale. This is why we were so aggressive during the race, right from the beginning. I think we pulled off this plan quite well.


”The first break of about ten riders got away without one of our riders, which was a small mistake. However, Gert Dockx managed to put in an attack from the front of the peloton, Thomas De Gendt followed this by also making a move, and then Rafael Valls put in an extremely good move and led the race solo for quite some time. When he was eventually caught by Peter Kennaugh, he nearly made it over the climb for him, which is encouraging. And in the finale, Adam Hansen made a good counter attack behind Kennaugh.


”I think it was a really strong performance, including Pim Ligthart’s final sprint to the line. So I’m very satisfied with the work that the team has put into the race today. We finished in fourth place, just off the podium, but it is still a very good result. All in all, we are satisfied with our performance today.”


“I’m happy with the result and particularly the effort of the entire team today,” Ligthart said. “The tactic among the team today was to make the race as hard as possible, and I think we succeeded. We were in nearly every break of the race. Rafael Valls led the race by himself for a very long time, Adam attacked in the final few kilometres to try to catch Peter Kennaugh out in front. There was a Lotto Soudal rider in almost every move out on the road today. I’m pleased with the way it worked out.


“The tactics paid off, because the pure sprinters were mostly all dropped, which allowed me to get a good result in the finish. I just missed out by the narrowest of margins on a podium place. It’s a bit of a shame, but I’m really happy with the work that the team put in today.”


In-form Simon Gerrans comes up short, Caleb Ewan crashes

Santos Tour Down Under winner Simon Gerrans placed fifth today in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) held off a reduced peloton to take the win in Geelong after a tough race. 

Sport director Matt Wilson was pleased with the way the team rode today.


“I think the guys rode really well, everyone rode really to plan and did a great job, its just that Kennaugh was too strong in the end so hats off to him.”


A nervous bunch saw Mitch Docker take a fall early on, as the peloton wriggled around the road with teams frantically working to set up the first break of the day. Later in the race Caleb Ewan also took a tumble but was able to rejoin his team mates in the peloton.


“Obviously it was bad look with the two crashes,” said Wilson. “But that didn’t really effect things too much, Mitch did a great job on the front after that.”


The team is back in action on Wednesday 3rd February with five days of racing at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.


Cavendish after Dimension Data debut: I didn’t do any worse than expected

The second edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race came down to an exciting finale, in which British road race champion Pete Kennaugh (Sky) proved to be the best. Cameron Meyer, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Nathan Haas kept Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in the mix, with the latter finishing in 6th place on the Geelong Waterfront.


The early break took on the first of three laps of the challenging final circuit alone, but was soon caught when the peloton decided to chase. The catch resulted in a 12-man counter attack, in which none of the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders featured. Given that the situation was the same for a few other teams, the attack was short lived and resulted in an escape of Cameron Meyer, Salvatore Pucchio (Sky) and Rafael Valls (Lotto-Soudal). The trio was able to open up a gap of around 20 seconds with about 25 kilometers to go.


Eventually, the gap wasn't big enough. On the steepest climb of the circuit Kennaugh bridged over with Haas and van Rensburg trying to stay in his wheel. The Brit proved to be too strong. He managed to ride off the front solo and stayed away for the last kilometers of the day. In an exciting finale the chase group tried to reel him in but had to settle for second. Leigh Howard led the chase home. Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafedo) finished in third place with Hass coming home in 6th place.


”I think, as the new kids on the block we can be really proud of how we rode in the last few weeks here in Australia,” Haas said. “We really tried every single time to show ourselves and today was no different. Cam put on a really good show and I came in in 6th. Reinie was also up there, and was probably the strongest sprinter in our group. Unfortunately, we lost each other in the finale when we got cut and then ran out of legs. We can still walk away from the race being proud of the team, I think.”


Mark Cavendish abandoned the race in his debut for the team.


“I had a heart rate monitor on just to see where I’m at and I actually had a quite high heart rate around the circuit. To be fair, I didn’t do any worse than I imagined and I didn’t do any better than I imagined. With how hard the race was I’m disappointed not to finish but I’m not heartbroken about my form,” he told CyclingWeekly.


“That’s actually what cooked me in the end, was going back for bottles and the race went on- I was always going to try and stay up there anyway, on the big circuit, and keep the lads out of the wind. If it was hard they were alright to go, if it was easier on the circuit then I could still be there anyway.”


Strong Katusha showing unrewarded at Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

Team KATUSHA and Alexey Tsatevich showed their forces today at the one-day race Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race held in Geelong not far from Melbourne, Australia. After a good teamwork in the final part of 174km race, Alexey Tsatevich was able to finish 7th.


The race was decided on the last climb with 12 km to go,when British champion Peter Kennaugh from Team Sky attacked 300 meters from the top. KATUSHA’s Rein Taaramäe tried to follow this attack, but later he came back to the peloton, taking control of the chasing.


In the last 10 km Team KATUSHA was very active in front, taking responsibility for chasing Peter Kennaugh, who had around 15 – 20 seconds of advantage. Rein Taaramäe, Tiago Machado and Sergey Lagutin tried to do their best to catch the leader and to bring the team’s sprinter Alexey Tsatevich to a good position for the sprint.


However, Team Sky rider was able to hold the minimal advantage, winning this edition of the Cadel Evans Great Oceal Road Race. The chasing group came to the finish 6 seconds later.Alexey Tsatevich, who was impressive on the hilly profile of the race, finished 6th from the group, getting 7th place in the final result of the race.


Enrico Battaglin frustrated by his sprint in Australia

Team LottoNL-Jumbo finished its trip to Australia with the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race this morning. Enrico Battaglin finished ninth in a tough 174-kilometre race in South Australia won by Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky).


The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race featured a big lap of 113 kilometres and three tough laps of 20 kilometres to close it off.


“After 25 kilometres, four riders attacked and after a while, two others bridged to that breakaway,” sports director Frans Maassen said after the race.


“Orica-GreenEDGE controlled the race, though, and got some help from Trek afterwards. When we were already in the closing laps, Maarten Tjallingii and nine others broke away from the peloton in their chase to the last two early escapees. When everything came together a new group of seven dangerous riders escaped. Tjallingii and Bert-Jan Lindeman led the chase together with BMC to grab those seven riders again. On the penultimate climb, Kennaugh attacked and he was able to stay out of the clutches of the peloton.”


Behind Kennaugh, a group of 20 riders was able to sprint for the second place. Battaglin grabbed the ninth place.


“I felt strong on the last climb,” the Italian said. “The sprint was a little bit disappointing, though. I thought that I would be able to come closer.”


ONE Pro Cycling deliver strong performance in Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

A sterling performance from ONE Pro Cycling saw Dion Smith secure tenth position and the first non WorldTour rider on the General Classification in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.


ONE Pro Cycling joined a world class line up along the waterfront in Geelong for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. From the gun, the pace was furious, with the peloton hitting speeds of around 60km per hour. However ONE Pro Cycling proved to be pretty comfortable with the intensity as they rode aggressively on the front of the group maintaining the momentum. 


The early stages of the race saw a lot of action at the front of the peloton as teams made the effort to split the group. In the end, it was ONE Pro Cycling’s Joshua Hunt that made the first break of the day going off the front with four other riders for a short period of time before being swallowed up by the group. 


As the peloton entered the first sprint classification of the day, Team Avanti made an attack and were quickly joined by BMC to create a four man break. Not wasting the opportunity Kristian House decides he’s not going to be left on his own and goes off the front of the peloton in an attempt to bridge the gap. House is quickly joined by a rider from the Kenyan Riders Down Under team and together they start the long painful effort of chasing down the leaders. Meanwhile the peloton aren’t feeling the threat and ease the pace slightly taking bidons and feeding from the car.


48km into the race and after an incredible effort, Kristian House and his breakaway companion finally make the break and join four leaders leaving the peloton behind at a gap of approximately 5 minutes. At 90kms and the first lap of the finishing circuit fast approaching, Joshua Hunt makes a call to teammates James Oram, Richard Handley, Steele Von Hoff, Dion Smith, and Hayden McCormick to get organised. 


With 60km to go, the riders cross the start / finish line only to begin three laps of a 20.2km finishing circuit. The gruelling climbs and fast descents in the penultimate stages of the race put riders legs to the test as the peloton quickly strings out and riders are shelled off the back. 


118km into the race and Kristian House and another rider drop off the front group of four and find themselves cycling between the break and the peloton. They are quickly joined by 8 riders creating a chase group of 10 and they continue to hunt down the leaders. 


The peloton behind had begun the whittling down process seeing a lot of riders being shelled from the front group, with organisation from the World Tour teams on the front the group of 10 were swallowed up with ONE Pro Cycling getting organised in the peloton. With a lap and a half of the finishing circuit to go a big surge in the peloton saw a select group of 30 riders remaining. Heading into the last 15km Peter Kennaugh of Team Sky made his move and went away up one of the steep bergs. In a select group of 30 riders ONE Pro Cycling were represented by Steele Von Hoff, Dion Smith and James Oram as the boys stayed tight as a unit into the final run into the finish. 


With four km remaining James Oram made a big move down the right hand side of the road to try and set up the finish for von Hoff and encourage the peloton to chase and draw the sprint out. Oram rode across to Adam Hansen of the Lotto Soudal team before the peloton swelled once more. Heading into the final sprint he was placed on the wheel of Dion Smith as the pair looked to open up the sprint, however getting boxed in on the right side of the road the sprint opened up on the left and they quickly became swamped. 


Crossing the line in 10th & 11th in the first .HC race as a pro continental team was an impressive result from the team and having three riders in the first 20 was a solid start to the season. 


Speaking after the race Head DS Matt Winston commented,  “The commitment from the team today was outstanding. Each rider got stuck in right from the gun, both playing out and covering moves as they unfolded. Missing the move Kristian had a long chase but rolled into that front group after a lot of commitment where it would have been quite easy to sit up. To then have three guys in that select group at the end proved the great performance and commitment giving us a lot of options and I feel it gave us a decent overall result.”


The team have a busy few weeks ahead as they prepare for the next races in their busy racing schedule including the Tour of Dubai and The Herald Sun Tour. 


BMC neo-pro: I didn’t realize how strong I was

It was a day of breakaways at the second edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, with Floris Gerts (NED) finishing in 18th place in the chase group six seconds behind winner Peter Kennaugh (Team SKY).


Alessandro De Marchi (ITA) showed off his early season form, breaking away in a four-man group at the 30 kilometer mark of the 173.9 kilometer race.


The breakaway pushed their lead out to 6’19, before the peloton began closing in with 100 kilometers to go and De Marchi eventually finding himself in a two-man break with Pat Lane (Avanti IsoWhey Sport).


The chase from the peloton reeled De Marchi and Lane in, before the attacks started in the last 30 kilometers, setting the race up for the sprinters. Danilo Wyss (SUI) was unlucky in the final stages with a flat tire at two kilometres to go.


For De Marchi it was a good day in the saddle, bringing an end to his first racing experience in Australia which started with the Santos Tour Down Under.


“It was a good day and a good race. The plan was to make the race a bit harder for the teams that had to work like Orica-GreenEDGE and I think we did that. In the final stages we didn’t have so much luck with two crashes and a flat tire. I think the team will go back to Europe in good shape and with a good feeling for the coming Spring. If I have the chance, I will come back to Australia.”


Gerts felt strong in the final sprint, a good indication so early in the season.


“De Marchi and Wyss had a great race. They were really attentive and saved the race for us. I don’t think I realized how strong I was until the end, so I am happy with my result. The race was a little bit too long and I almost crashed in the sprint, but I’m happy with the potential I have showed today,” Gerts said.


“It was a really nice month and it brought me closer to the team which was the objective and also to gain some experience in the WorldTour peloton. I learned a lot during the Santos Tour Down Under with Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte as two great leaders, and then again from the race today.”


The Cadel Evans Road Race caps off BMC Racing Team’s Australian racing program for the 2016 season.


Novo Nordisk neo-pro survives brutal first race

On Sunday, Team Novo Nordisk made its Australian debut at the second edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The 173.9-kilometer race featured a challenging spring classics profile that saw nearly 50 percent of the field not finish. The race began and ended along the coast in Geelong and saw various breakaways throughout the day. Heading into the final kilometers, Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) attacked and held off a reduced peloton to take the win solo by six seconds.



Team Novo Nordisk’s neo-pros showed their early season form with Corentin Cherhal (FRA) being the first rider to attack at the race. A Nippo-Vini Fantini rider joined him and they gained a slight advantage before getting reeled in. Additionally, Scott Ambrose (NZL) and Brian Kamstra (NED) finished strong with Ambrose ending as the seventh best young rider at the race.


“Cadel Road Race is an amazing event on a well organized and awesome course!” says Scott Ambrose (NZL). “It’s one of the best races I’ve competed in. And good riding today by my teammate Brian Kamstra in his first major one-day race- we’ll see a strong season from him for sure.”


“My first pro race was a hard one,” Kamstra (NED) says, “but I managed to finish strong and I’m happy with my result. I’m looking forward to the upcoming season.”



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