Alex Edmondson wins thrilling Australian road race title

Break holds off peloton with silver for McCarthy, bronze to Chris Harper

Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott) held off a charging chase group to claim the Australian national road race title in thrilling fashion. Edmondson and Chris Harper (Bennelong SwissWellness) had attacked with 30km to race and proved the strongest riders of the last break of the day.

Holding a narrow lead over of a small and select bunch that contained the likes of Richie Porte (BMC), Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) into the last kilometre, it was a nervous finale.

With the finish line in sight, Edmondson opened up his sprint to gain a small gap over Harper as a slight hesitation in the chase played into his hands. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) had the best sprint from the chase but the move was left too late as Edmondson has time to sit up and celebrate the biggest win of his road career by a meagre second.

"Absolutely speechless. It has been an absolute dream of mine. I guess every cyclist growing up, you want to wear the green and gold. It was a magical day I am not going to forget for a hell of a time. I honestly I am not sure what else to say," said Edmondson.

"I kept on looking over my shoulder with about 50 metres to go I knew this was the moment and I was pretty happy. I was about to fall of my bike because I was throwing my hands that hard. I don't get that many opportunities to do it."

Once Edmondson launched his sprint, it was a fight for silver and while there was hesitation from the group, it was McCarthy who would finish amongst the medal.

"It is still a nice result but I am still the first loser," McCarthy said. "Nathan [Haas] went like I did last year and jumped early and Caleb went to follow him and then there was a bit of hesitation and that was my mark to go as they slowed up I knew that if I had a good kick like I did I would be able to get through to the final."

For Harper, the medal and performance should seal a place in the Tour Down Under team next week and caps off another successful championships for his Bennelong-SwissWellness team.

"I had a crack a couple of times again but I just want strong enough to get rid of him. I don't have as much speed as something like Alex Edmondson," he said of his regular training partner. "It is a good result for me. We covered everything and we can be proud of how rode these national championships. "

How it unfolded

The early morning overcast conditions that welcomed the women's peloton cleared for the men's 12:15pm start time. As before the women’s race, a minute of silence was also observed in memory of Jason Lowndes.

There was no ease in the first breakaway of the day forming with the peloton crossing over for two of the 16 laps before a group could take shape. On the fourth lap, Dylan Newbery (mobius BridgeLane), William Clarke (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale), Robert Power (Mitchelton-Scott), Troy Herfoss, and Sean Lake (Bennelong SwissWellness) were two and a half minutes to the good. Dangling behind was David Edwards (Brisbane Continental Cycling Team).

Behind the leaders was a chase group pegged at one minute containing

Thomas Kaesler (Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team), Allan Iacuone, Peter Milostic, Tristan Ward (Bennelong SwissWellness) and Ben Van Dam (Nero KOM Racing). The peloton controlled by Mitchelton-Scott.

A reshuffle of the breakaway saw eight riders: Herfoss, Power, Ward, Kaesler, Clarke, Lake, Newbery, and 43-year-old Milostic form the leading group. A three-man group of Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal), Michael Freiberg (Bennelong SwissWellness) and Ollie Kent-Spark found themselves caught between the leaders and peloton.

On the climb, Gerrans' relentless pace drew Hansen, Kent-Spark and Freiberg back into the bunch and cut the lead to the break. Giving Gerrans a breather was BMC teammate and defending champion Miles Scotson before the two-time champion again dished out the pain.

With 50km to race, Herfoss, the 2016 Australian Superbike champion, jumped clear from the breakaway to take on the mantle as leader on the road by 55 seconds. Gerrans and Scotson from behind continued to cut the lead, down to three minutes, 44km from home.

The dual efforts of BMC behind and Herfoss in front put the pressure on the breakaway, trimming its numbers by the start of the third lap. With 35km to go, Clarke and Power attacked from the reduced break, leaving Ward and Newbury to be swept up by the Gerrans lead bunch. On the climb, Gerrans and then Scotson did one final pull before calling it a day having reduced the gap to 1 minute 20.

Clarke and Power were caught at 31km at the KOM as Harper stretched the reduced bunch out. Over the KOM, Clarke went again with Edmondson, and Harper jumping on his wheel in what would be the race-winning move. With Herfoss for company, the held a 1:20 minute lead over the peloton to start the second last lap.

Up the highway to the climb, Edmondson and Harper rode away from Clarke and Herfoss. Despite Harper being the better climber on paper, Edmondson pushed the pace to go solo. Harper regrouped as the battle came alive in the bunch.

With 14km to race, Simon Clarke attacked, bridging to teammate Will Clarke, and while covering the move, Durbridge lost his front wheel, crashing heavily and breaking his collarbone. On the bell lap, the duo held 33 seconds over the Clarke chase with the peloton at 1:07 minutes. Simon Clarke went alone at 10km before Porte put in the most significant of the moves to thin the bunch and ensure Clarke at the top of the climb.

Edmondson and Harper though pressed on despite the action behind with Cam Meyer doing his upmost to ensure his teammate could stay away.

Ben O'Connor and Nathan Earle were two riders to roll the dice on the straight road into the technical university section and once back out on to the open roads; it was Porte, then Simon Clarke attacking again. Initially looking back and looking to give Ewan his chance in the sprint as the chasers neared, Edmondson and Harper thought better of the move and held their 11-second lead.

Meyer again shut down a number of moves but with 500 metres to race, nothing was certain. As Edmondson started his sprint, so did Haas but it was only a race for silver and bronze as McCarthy took the front position to steal in for silver as Harper narrowly held on for bronze.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott4:54:27 
2Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:01 
3Chris Harper (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness  
4Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
5Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin  
6Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb  
7Sam Crome (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness  
8Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
9Brendan Canty (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
10Nathan Earle (Aus) Israel-Cycling Academy  
11Ben O'Connor (Aus) Dimension Data  
12Patrick Lane (Aus) InForm Tineli  
13Mark O'Brien (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team  
14Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
15Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:07 
16Steele von Hoff (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness0:00:31 
17Jai Crawford (Aus) Kinan  
18Alistair Donohoe (Aus) mobius BridgeLane  
19Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
20Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
21Oliver Martin (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team  
22Timothy Roe (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness0:00:34 
23Troy Herfoss (Aus)0:01:25 
24Ryan Thomas (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team0:01:29 
25Scott Bowden (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness  
26Jesse Featonby (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team  
27Mathew Hayman (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:01:30 
28Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
29Rhys Gillett (Aus)  
30Michael Freiberg (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness0:01:59 
31Joshua Wilson (Aus)  
32Ayden Toovey (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness0:03:39 
33William Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:04:24 
34Michael Storer (Aus) Team Sunweb  
35Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data0:04:29 
36Rylee Field (Aus) St George Continental Cycling Team0:07:44 
37Brendan Johnston (Aus)0:08:12 
38Dylan Newbery (Aus) mobius BridgeLane0:13:12 
39Peter Milostic (Aus)0:13:41 
DNFLachlan Glasspool (Aus)  
DNFBen Marshall (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing  
DNFDavid Edwards (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team  
DNFSamuel Volkers (Aus) Memil - CCN Pro Cycling  
DNFAdam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal  
DNFNicholas Norden (Aus)  
DNFTheodore Yates (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team  
DNFLiam White (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team  
DNFAaron Watts (Aus) GPM  
DNFTristan Ward (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness  
DNFJoel Walsh (Aus) GPM  
DNFSean Vintin (Aus)  
DNFBen Van Dam (Aus) Nero KOM Racing  
DNFMathew Upton (Aus)  
DNFKyle Thompson (Aus)  
DNFDaniel Taylor (Aus)  
DNFJack Sutton (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing  
DNFTimothy Storer (Aus)  
DNFToby Stewart (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective  
DNFWilliam Barker (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective  
DNFTodd Satchell (Aus)  
DNFAllan Satchell (Aus)  
DNFPaul Salisbury (Aus)  
DNFPatrick Saccani-Williams (Aus)  
DNFThomas Robinson (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team  
DNFMatthew Robertson (Aus)  
DNFCameron Roberts (Aus) GPM  
DNFSteven Robb (Aus)  
DNFAden Reynolds (Aus) mobius BridgeLane  
DNFRobert Power (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFClint Perrett (Aus)  
DNFFreddy Ovett (Aus)  
DNFMitchell Neumann (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team  
DNFConor Murtagh (Aus) mobius BridgeLane  
DNFChristopher Miller (Aus) Nero KOM Racing  
DNFIvan Michelin-Beard (Aus)  
DNFDaniel McNamara (Aus)  
DNFSam McCallum (Aus)  
DNFLionel Mawditt (Aus) InForm Tineli  
DNFJackson Mawby (Aus)  
DNFNick Locandro (Aus)  
DNFAdam Lloyd (Aus)  
DNFDylan Lindsey (Aus)  
DNFNicholas Leonard (Aus)  
DNFSean Lake (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness  
DNFAndrew Lake (Aus)  
DNFJake Klajnblat (Aus)  
DNFOllie Kent-Spark (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team  
DNFThomas Kaesler (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team  
DNFBrenton Jones (Aus) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
DNFAllan Iacuone (Aus)  
DNFCraig Hutton (Aus) GPM  
DNFMichael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFJames Henry (Aus)  
DNFJoshua Harrison (Aus) SASI  
DNFMaximillian Hardy (Aus)  
DNFAnthony Giacoppo (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness  
DNFSimon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
DNFJustin Gassner (Aus)  
DNFNathan Elliott (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness  
DNFLuke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFRylan Dowdell (Aus) Van D'am Racing  
DNFRowan Dever (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing  
DNFRohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
DNFZakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel-Cycling Academy  
DNFTim Cutler (Aus)  
DNFJesse Coyle (Aus) mobius BridgeLane  
DNFJoel Coxon (Aus)  
DNFKelly Carter (Aus)  
DNFTimothy Cameron (Aus) St George Continental Cycling Team  
DNFDaniel Bonello (Aus) St George Continental Cycling Team  
DNFSascha Bondarenko-Edwards (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team  
DNFDylan Benson (Aus)  
DNFDarryn Benn (Aus)  
DNFCameron Bayly (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness  
DNFMiles Scotson (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
DNSKevin Berwick (Aus)  
DNSAngus Wilson (Aus)  
DNSJason Mitchell (Aus)  
DNSDaniel McConnell (Aus) Primaflor Mondraker Rotor - Ajram Capital  
DNSRobbie Hucker (Aus) Team Ukyo  
DNSNathan Booth (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective  


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