Ian Bibby (JTL Condor) survived a final corner crash to emerge the winner of the opening stage of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. The Briton edged out Jesse Kerrison (IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness) and teammate Mathew Gibson in the rising surge to the finish line. Three-time series winner Caleb Ewan was amongst the crash victims.
"We were racing for Breton Jones," said Bibby. "I did a good turn, got into position and sort of sat up and there were only five or six [riders] left, so I thought I should just carry on.
"They all went really hot around the corner and then they all went down, so I put my chin down," Bibby added. "It's a shame, the crash, but I suppose that's bike racing."
ORICA-Scott will lament the opportunity lost. Ewan appeared in fine form and ready to snag his fourth win on short and intense Richie Boulevard circuit. His Australian-registered squad controlled the peloton from the start of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic opener.
Cameron Bayly (IsoWhy Sports Swiss Wellness) attacked 25 minutes into the hour-long affair. ORICA-Scott assumed responsibility for the chase, allowing Bayly to dangle at 15 seconds before reeling him ahead of the finale. With three laps remaining, Bayly was back in the bunch. The South Australian earned the sprint jersey and most aggressive for his efforts.
"The race went pretty flat out really for those last few laps," noted Bibby. "I caught up on the last bend with a lap to go. I had Ed [Clancy] and Brenton on my wheel. I rolled them back and swung over and there were only six or seven left."
Ewan attacked on the back straight of the hot dog circuit, carrying his speed into the final corner with 190 metres left to race.
"Going into the corner I was maybe fourth or fifth," Bibby said. "There were a couple lads on the straight behind me still, and I thought I'd keep going and get a top five if possible.
"Caleb hit out," Bibby explained. "All I saw was four of them sort of going down the line flat out. Someone must have gone down, caught wheels. I tried to dodge them as best I could."
"I came around, and me another lad came out together," Bibby added. "It was a drag sprint up and luckily I got the better of him."
Only 18 of the 48 starters in Geelong finished the race. Ewan, with the left side of his jersey torn on the shoulder and his shorts in tatters, rolled across the line in 17th place, 51 seconds down on Bibby.
"I'm not exactly sure what happened," said Ewan. "I have hit that corner so many times in exactly the same way, if not faster, and I haven't had an issue. There's no major damage, just a bit of skin. There are more days to come, so we will keep trying."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Ian Bibby (GBr) JLT Condor||12||pts|
|2||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Isowhey Sports Swisswellness||10|
|3||Mathew Gibson (GBr) Condor||8|
|4||Cameron Bayly (Aus) Isowhey Sports Swisswellness||7|
|5||Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Isowhey Sports Swisswellness||6|
|6||Patrick Lane (Aus) Vtwo Team||5|
|7||Samuel Spokes (Aus) Total Rush||4|
|8||Alistair Donohoe (Aus) GTR||3|
|9||Ali Slater (GBr) JLT Condor||2|
|10||Scott Sunderland (Aus) Isowhey Sports Swisswellness||1|