A disappointing tenth place in Thursday's national time trial provided the platform for Jack Bobridge's long raid to claim a second road title following his 2011 triumph. Bobridge returns to the WorldTour ranks this season, having signed with Trek-Segafredo, balancing a racing programme that will allow him to target the team pursuit gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games.
Having started his season early with track racing, Bobridge was an outside favourite for the road race although his form and condition for a long hot day in the saddle was unknown. Dropping breakaway companion Bernie Sulzberger (Drapac) in 33 degree heat with almost half the race to go was the ultimate test of his condition.
"I honestly didn’t think going that far from home I’d be able to hold on on this course," Bobridge reflected on the win. "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."
Having infiltrated the breakaway of the day, Bobridge added that his performance against the clock was providing plenty of added motivation to start his Trek-Segafredo career on the road with a victory.
"I wanted redemption after Thursday. 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," Bobridge said.
In 2013 Luke Durbridge went long in his bid for the win while Bobridge's 2011 solo effort was a third of today's at 30km. However neither effort can match Bobridge's feat of leading the bike race from lap two of the 183.2km race.
"It's next level I guess but in saying that, this is the kid of course where if you do have that nine minute advantage, guys are still climbing and you’re descending," Bobridge said. "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.
Bobridge added that his powermeter was key to judging his efforts across the day with every watt vital to ensuring he stayed ahead of the chasers.
"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."
The 26-year-old will debut his green and gold jersey at the Tour Down Under next week, a race he led following stage 1 victory in 2015, and admitting that following his win today will start the WorldTour event with a strong performance on the agenda.
"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."