Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEdge) continued his successful start to the season with his third straight victory in Portarlington at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic after another impressive leadout from his teammates.
The first year professional edged out Steele von Hoff (Avanti Racing) and Alexander Edmondson (SASI) in the race to the line and in doing so cemented his lead in the overall with one stage remaining.
“I am a little bit surprised. You never know how your form is going to be coming into the first part of the year,” Ewan said after the race.
“I found this stage tougher than yesterday because even if you’re sitting on the wheel you can’t hide from the hills so it was really tough for me.
“But the main reason is because I have such a strong team here. In the previous years no full pro teams have come here in support of one rider and that’s what they have done for me.”
Portarlington offered up a more challenging course than in previous days and Orica came into the event with one eye on supporting Cameron Meyer but with Ewan in such form they quickly reassessed the situation with Meyer unable to break clear of the peloton.
“We came into this race with a few different plans so it took the pressure right off me,” Ewan added. “Unfortunately for Cam he didn’t get away, there were a few strong guys here, and it worked perfectly for me in the end.”
In the women’s race Peta Mullens escaped to victory and held off the chasing peloton by 24 seconds to take her first win of the season.
Former World Champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Down Under) led the peloton home with Lauren Kitchen taking third. Overall leader Chloe Hosking (Wiggle Down Under) finished fifth to retain her two point lead at the top of the standings.
The Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic ends on Monday.