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.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||4:54:27|
|2||Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:00:01|
|3||Chris Harper (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness|
|4||Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|5||Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin|
|6||Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb|
|7||Sam Crome (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness|
|8||Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale|
|9||Brendan Canty (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale|
|10||Nathan Earle (Aus) Israel-Cycling Academy|
|11||Ben O'Connor (Aus) Dimension Data|
|12||Patrick Lane (Aus) InForm Tineli|
|13||Mark O'Brien (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team|
|14||Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team|
|15||Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:00:07|
|16||Steele von Hoff (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness||0:00:31|
|17||Jai Crawford (Aus) Kinan|
|18||Alistair Donohoe (Aus) mobius BridgeLane|
|19||Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|20||Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale|
|21||Oliver Martin (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team|
|22||Timothy Roe (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness||0:00:34|
|23||Troy Herfoss (Aus)||0:01:25|
|24||Ryan Thomas (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team||0:01:29|
|25||Scott Bowden (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness|
|26||Jesse Featonby (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team|
|27||Mathew Hayman (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:01:30|
|28||Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|29||Rhys Gillett (Aus)|
|30||Michael Freiberg (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness||0:01:59|
|31||Joshua Wilson (Aus)|
|32||Ayden Toovey (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness||0:03:39|
|33||William Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale||0:04:24|
|34||Michael Storer (Aus) Team Sunweb|
|35||Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data||0:04:29|
|36||Rylee Field (Aus) St George Continental Cycling Team||0:07:44|
|37||Brendan Johnston (Aus)||0:08:12|
|38||Dylan Newbery (Aus) mobius BridgeLane||0:13:12|
|39||Peter Milostic (Aus)||0:13:41|
|DNF||Lachlan Glasspool (Aus)|
|DNF||Ben Marshall (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|DNF||David Edwards (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team|
|DNF||Samuel Volkers (Aus) Memil - CCN Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Nicholas Norden (Aus)|
|DNF||Theodore Yates (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team|
|DNF||Liam White (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team|
|DNF||Aaron Watts (Aus) GPM|
|DNF||Tristan Ward (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness|
|DNF||Joel Walsh (Aus) GPM|
|DNF||Sean Vintin (Aus)|
|DNF||Ben Van Dam (Aus) Nero KOM Racing|
|DNF||Mathew Upton (Aus)|
|DNF||Kyle Thompson (Aus)|
|DNF||Daniel Taylor (Aus)|
|DNF||Jack Sutton (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|DNF||Timothy Storer (Aus)|
|DNF||Toby Stewart (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective|
|DNF||William Barker (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective|
|DNF||Todd Satchell (Aus)|
|DNF||Allan Satchell (Aus)|
|DNF||Paul Salisbury (Aus)|
|DNF||Patrick Saccani-Williams (Aus)|
|DNF||Thomas Robinson (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team|
|DNF||Matthew Robertson (Aus)|
|DNF||Cameron Roberts (Aus) GPM|
|DNF||Steven Robb (Aus)|
|DNF||Aden Reynolds (Aus) mobius BridgeLane|
|DNF||Robert Power (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Clint Perrett (Aus)|
|DNF||Freddy Ovett (Aus)|
|DNF||Mitchell Neumann (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team|
|DNF||Conor Murtagh (Aus) mobius BridgeLane|
|DNF||Christopher Miller (Aus) Nero KOM Racing|
|DNF||Ivan Michelin-Beard (Aus)|
|DNF||Daniel McNamara (Aus)|
|DNF||Sam McCallum (Aus)|
|DNF||Lionel Mawditt (Aus) InForm Tineli|
|DNF||Jackson Mawby (Aus)|
|DNF||Nick Locandro (Aus)|
|DNF||Adam Lloyd (Aus)|
|DNF||Dylan Lindsey (Aus)|
|DNF||Nicholas Leonard (Aus)|
|DNF||Sean Lake (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness|
|DNF||Andrew Lake (Aus)|
|DNF||Jake Klajnblat (Aus)|
|DNF||Ollie Kent-Spark (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team|
|DNF||Thomas Kaesler (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team|
|DNF||Brenton Jones (Aus) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|DNF||Allan Iacuone (Aus)|
|DNF||Craig Hutton (Aus) GPM|
|DNF||Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||James Henry (Aus)|
|DNF||Joshua Harrison (Aus) SASI|
|DNF||Maximillian Hardy (Aus)|
|DNF||Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness|
|DNF||Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing Team|
|DNF||Justin Gassner (Aus)|
|DNF||Nathan Elliott (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness|
|DNF||Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Rylan Dowdell (Aus) Van D'am Racing|
|DNF||Rowan Dever (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|DNF||Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team|
|DNF||Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel-Cycling Academy|
|DNF||Tim Cutler (Aus)|
|DNF||Jesse Coyle (Aus) mobius BridgeLane|
|DNF||Joel Coxon (Aus)|
|DNF||Kelly Carter (Aus)|
|DNF||Timothy Cameron (Aus) St George Continental Cycling Team|
|DNF||Daniel Bonello (Aus) St George Continental Cycling Team|
|DNF||Sascha Bondarenko-Edwards (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team|
|DNF||Dylan Benson (Aus)|
|DNF||Darryn Benn (Aus)|
|DNF||Cameron Bayly (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness|
|DNF||Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC Racing Team|
|DNS||Kevin Berwick (Aus)|
|DNS||Angus Wilson (Aus)|
|DNS||Jason Mitchell (Aus)|
|DNS||Daniel McConnell (Aus) Primaflor Mondraker Rotor - Ajram Capital|
|DNS||Robbie Hucker (Aus) Team Ukyo|
|DNS||Nathan Booth (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective|