Breakaways decide Jayco Bay Cycling Classic's first day

Gerrans leads his fellow breakaways up the slight climb

Gerrans leads his fellow breakaways up the slight climb (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)

2008 Tour de France stage winner Simon Gerrans, riding for the O2 Reflections Group, and three-time junior world champion Josie Tomic (Plan B Racing) claimed wins at the opening stage of the 2009 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic in Williamstown.

The start of the elite men's race was delayed by over an hour and a half to allow the event's main draw card, Robbie McEwen, to arrive after the Queenslander suffered flight cancellations at both the Gold Coast and Sydney airports. McEwen, who finished sixth, quipped after the race that he "was expecting a phone call from Sir Richard [Branson] this evening!"

Gerrans was delighted with the win saying "last year I had to wait until about March to get my first win, so to get one on the second of January – I'm pretty happy with that!" He admitted struggling with the pace early on. "I warmed up and cooled down about four times. By the time the race started I'd just about had enough for the day. I actually felt really bad for the first few laps of the race, starting absolutely cold like that."

Three-time junior world champion Josie Tomic (Plan B Racing) won the opening stage of the elite women's Jayco Bay Cycling Classic. Tomic burst from a small lead group with five laps remaining and extended her lead each lap to win by almost 20 seconds. "I just flew in yesterday and I just wanted to get through this race but I saw my opportunity and I went for it and I'm really happy. I knew against Rochelle Gilmore and Belinda Goss I wouldn't have a chance in a sprint so I just took a chance and it paid off today."

The opening laps of the women's race were run at a solid tempo, with Australian criterium champion Kirsty Broun (MB Cycles), Peta Mullens (Jayco VIS) and Nikki Butterfield (Skilled) setting the early tempo, before a massive four lap effort by another former junior world champion, Sarah Kent (Plan B), decimated the field.

Continue to complete coverage of the elite men's and elite women's first day of racing

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Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.