Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) claimed victory in the Portarlington Criterium on day three of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. The Australian broke clear in the company of Patrick Shaw (Satalyst) shortly after the midway point and then overpowered him in the sprint to take the win.
The two escapees collaborated smoothly over the second half of the course, with the consummate rouleur Durbridge more than happy to take his share of the responsibility on the exposed sections. Their combined efforts saw them hold off the pursuit of Tom Scully (Total Rush/Hyster Racing), who finished 3rd at 19 seconds.
"I was doing the head wind section, but as a time triallist I think that is fair enough, and Pat did the top section and we said 'let's work together until the finish and have a sprint at the end,” said Durbridge, who was taking nothing for granted in the sprint. "I think whenever you get in a breakaway with Pat Shaw you always get a little bit nervous.”
For Durbridge, it was his second win in as many years in the Portarlington Criterium, and he finished second in the same race in 2012, his first year as a professional. "I don't mind the old Portarlington circuit, I'm glad it stayed dry, but I think it is the third time I have had a good result here so it is always great to get the win here," he said.
While Durbridge was powering to victory on the day, Zak Dempster’s bold solo effort was enough to retain the overall lead in the series entering the final day of racing. He attempted to bridge to the two leaders alone, before being joined by Tom Scully. Although he eventually slipped back to finish 4th, Dempster was pleased with his day’s work.
“That was probably the hardest, most (significant), fourth place of my whole life," Dempster said. "I laid it all out there and it's good to come out of it with something other than a fourth place, leading into tomorrow which is a real honour in a series like this.”
In the overall standings, Dempster leads Brenton Jones (Procon Telematics) by one point, with Durbridge a further two points back in third. Defending champion Caleb Ewan (Subaru NSWIS) won the bunch sprint for 5th place on Saturday, and he sits in 5th place in the overall rankings, 5 points behind Dempster.
Bronzini doubles up
In the elite women’s event, Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) won her second race in three days by out-sprinting Annette Edmondson (Orica-AIS) and Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized Securitor) in the bunch finish.
Bronzini’s Wiggle-Honda teammate Peta Mullens played a vital role in the race, expertly policing a dangerous mid-race breakaway that featured Valentina Scandolara (Orica-AIS) and Gracie Elvin (Jayco National Team). Given the make-up of the move, the onus fell on Tiffany Cromwell to lead the pursuit, and that effort would prove crucial in the final reckoning.
In spite of her efforts to break clear in the finale, Cromwell still had the strength to finish third in the sprint, but there was nothing to be done against the rapid Bronzini, who leads the series into the final day.
“I am really, really happy because it is the first time that we meet for the season, and we work so well and it is a good feeling with the girls and I am really happy," Bronzini said.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||1:00:35|
|2||Patrick Shaw (Aus) Satalyst|
|3||Tom Scully (NZl) Total Rush/Hyster Racing||0:00:19|
|4||Zakkari Dempster (Aus) SASI||0:00:34|
|5||Caleb Ewan (Aus) Subaru NSWIS||0:00:55|
|6||Brenton Jones (Aus) Procon Telematics'|
|7||Robert McCarthy (Aus) SASI|
|8||Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge|
|9||Graham Briggs (GBr) Rapha Condor JLT|
|10||Joseph Lewis (Aus) Total Rush/Hyster Racing|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda||0:45:41|
|2||Annette Edmondson (Aus) Orica-AIS|
|3||Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Specialized Securitor|
|4||Joanne Hogan (Aus)|
|5||Barbara Guarischi (Ita) DHB Dream Team|
|6||Gracie Elvin (Aus) Jayco National Team|
|7||Chloe Hosking (Aus) Roxsolt|
|8||Peta Mullens (Aus) Wiggle Honda|
|9||Miranda Griffiths (Aus) Vanderkitten|
|10||Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Orica-AIS|