Caleb Ewan delivered upon his favourite status to claim his first elite Australian title ahead of Brenton Jones (Drapac) and Anthony Giacoppo (Avanti IsoWhey) and make it four wins from five starts on just the sixth day of the year.
"It was actually a big relief. I came into this race really, really nervous, I knew I had some good wins already in the bay crits so I was clearly the favourite for today and obviously there is a fair bit of pressure going into a race as a favourite," Ewan said of the win. "I can't fault the team at all, they rode it perfectly again and just gave me such an easy ride out there and that's what makes the difference in the end."
12-months ago Ewan was second to Steele von Hoff (ONE Pro Cycling), who finished 18th in his title defence, and added that he felt he has been chasing the elite title for more than two years.
"Obviously it's nice to get the gold one after one season. It feels really good and now I am an elite national champion and that's something nice to have on your palmarès. I m still looking forward to the road race, hats the big one you want to win so hopefully I can go well there."
While teams were busy from the gun in the attempt to unsettle Orica-GreenEdge, Luke Durbridge was imperious as he sat on the front of the bunch controlling tempo and keeping calm. Durbridge then set the scene for GreenEdge and kept Ewan out of the wind with the 21-year-old thanking his teammates for their work.
"Its nice having a team you can really on so much," said Ewan who also had Mitch Docker and Jack Haig working for him. "I was sitting second wheel and Alex [Edmondson] was going so fast I don't think anyone could come past and I felt a few people trying to come around but he was going too quick and still had a enough gas to bring me most of the way up the straight as well."
While Drapac were challenging Orica-GreenEdge for pole position entering the final corner before the long drag up Sturt St, once Ewan came out of Edmondson's wheel there was no doubting just who was taking home the green and gold jersey.
How it unfolded
The grey skies of the early-afternoon had departed as the elite men started their 40 laps of Sturt St although there was no reprieve from the gusty winds. The fluro of Jay McCarthy's new Tinkoff kit was seen early in the race as he won the first intermediate sprint point having seen the likes of Adam Phelan, Sam Spokes (Drapac) and Robbie Hucker (Avanti IsoWhey) aggressive in the first few laps.
William Clarke (Drapac) took out the second intermediate ahead of Shaun O'Callaghan with McCarthy nipping in for third and sealing the sprint jersey.
Breaks formed and were caught with Drapac and Avanti the most active of the teams as Orica-GreenEdge controlled the group with Ewan sitting pretty. As the laps continued to tick over, there was no let up from Drapac and Avnti-IsoWhey with Travis Meyer and Pat Shaw trying their luck.
A last lap crash on the back straight, which saw Neil van der Ploeg hit the deck, slowed a few of the mid-pack riders down but there no impact upon the front of the race and no stopping Ewan continuing his winning start to the year.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Caleb Ewan (Nsw)||0:59:54|
|2||Brenton Jones (Vic)|
|3||Anthony Giacoppo (Wa)|
|4||Patrick Shaw (Vic)|
|5||Alexander Edmondson (Sa)|
|6||Jackson Law (Nsw)||0:00:04|
|7||Luke Parker (Vic)|
|8||Scott Sunderland (Wa)||0:00:07|
|9||Joel Walsh (Nsw)|
|10||Robbie Hucker (Vic)||0:00:11|
|11||Sam Evans (Vic)|
|12||Fabio Calabria (Vic)|
|13||Cameron Ivory (Nsw)|
|14||Tyler Spurrell (Vic)|
|15||Aaron Watts (Nsw)|
|16||James Cummings (Vic)|
|17||Benjamin Hill (Act)|
|18||Steele Von Hoff (Vic)|
|19||Craig Hutton (Nsw)|
|20||Tommy Nankervis (Vic)||0:00:16|
|21||Trevor Spencer (Vic)||0:00:18|
|22||Bernard Sulzberger (Tas)||0:00:20|
|23||Alexander Smyth (Vic)||0:00:24|
|24||Joshua Taylor (Nsw)|
|25||Darcy Woolley (Vic)||0:00:26|
|26||Ray Forbes (Vic)|
|27||Paul Van Der Ploeg (Vic)|
|28||Adam Phelan (Act)||0:00:29|
|29||Jay McCarthy (Qld)|
|30||Ivan Michelin-Beard (Act)|
|31||Cameron Bayly (Sa)|
|32||Dale Scarfe (Vic)||0:00:31|
|33||Kane Walker (Vic)||0:00:33|
|34||Graeme Brown (Wa)||0:00:36|
|35||Scott Law (Nsw)|
|36||Lachlan Norris (Vic)||0:00:42|
|37||Glenn O'Shea (Sa)||0:00:44|
|38||William Clarke (Tas)|
|39||Chris Winn (Vic)|
|40||Jayden Copp (Qld)||0:00:48|
|41||Liam Kelly (Nsw)||0:00:58|
|42||Russell Gill (Sa)||0:01:09|
|43||Nicholas Woods (Qld)||0:01:11|
|44||Tom Robinson (Tas)||0:01:14|
|45||Sam Crome (Vic)||0:01:17|
|46||Mitchell Mulhern (Qld)||0:01:44|
|47||Samuel Volkers (Qld)||0:02:45|
|DNF||Neil Van Der Ploeg (Vic)|
|DNF||Luke Durbridge (Aus)|
|DNF||Samuel Spokes (Nsw)|
|DNF||Travis Meyer (Wa)|
|DNF||Mitchell Docker (Aus)|
|DNF||Nathan Earle (Tas)|
|DNF||Jack Haig (Vic)|
|DNF||Patrick Lane (Vic)|
|DNF||Mark O'Brien (Vic)|
|DNF||Stuart Shaw (Act)|
|DNF||Shannon Johnson (Vic)|
|DNF||Andrew Killingsworth (Vic)|
|DNF||Dominik Dudkiewicz (Vic)|
|DNF||Matthias Kiernan (Vic)|
|DNF||Jacob Kauffmann (Nsw)|
|DNF||Peter Johnstone (Vic)|
|DNF||Patrick Drapac (Vic)|
|DNF||Thomas Coates (Qld)|
|DNF||Todd Satchell (Vic)|
|DNF||Shaun O'Callaghan (Vic)|
|DNF||Liam Hill (Vic)|
|DNS||Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (Act)|
|DNS||Alex Wohler (Qld)|
|DNS||Joel Strachan (Vic)|
|DNS||Jake Magee (Vic)|
|DNS||Ned Volk (Vic)|