No one was surprised to see Drapac Professional Cycling racing as aggressively as they did during the Goulburn to Sydney Cycle Classic on Sunday. Apart from having several riders on form, the team was racing in remembrance of former teammate and 2007 winner of the event, Robbie Williams who tragically died of a heart attack at age 27 a month ago.
Williams' father Bruce was on hand in Goulburn early on Sunday morning as the race began.
Rhys Pollock attacked for a second time this morning in the first 30 kilometres of racing before he was able to find himself in a stable breakaway.
"We were just trying to make the race as aggressive as we could," Pollock told Cyclingnews. "We had Mal [Rudolph] here but the other sprinters - [Anthony] Giacoppo and [Luke] Davison - are going really well at the moment so they're pretty tough to beat. We wanted to put pressure on all of the other teams to make it a really hard race."
Pollock, a breakaway specialist who earlier this season claimed the biggest win of his career with the overall classification at the Tour de Taiwan, was never going to leave anything out on the road but at the same time, revealed he didn't have the highest confidence his escape group of four would be able to stay away all day. Pollock, Michael Cupitt (Budget Forklifts), Aaron Donnelly (Jayco-HoneyShotz) and Ed White (GPM - Wilson Racing) held a maximum gap of 2:55 before being slowly reeled in by a hard-chasing bunch
"I got caught halfway up the last climb and Lachie Norris came across and I did a bit of an effort there to help him but I think the other guys with him weren't terribly interested in trying to help chase," the 32-year-old shrugged. Teammates Norris and Darren Lapthorne continued to attack the race until the final kilometres on the run into Camden but despite their best efforts, the win wasn't to be.
Pollock would earn the KOM jersey for his efforts, claiming maximum points on two of the climbs.
While the day took on a reflective note for the continental team, it wasn't won lost in sentimentality.
"I was thinking that it would be nice [to win]," the Tour de Taiwan winner said. "I think it's the way I race and the way the team races and the way Robbie rode as well. I wasn't holding back to get the easy win, I put it on the line...
"His Dad said on the start that it's more about the camaraderie and giving it everything on the day. If you win it's a bonus. I think we did that today so that's all we can do."
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As a sports journalist and producer since 1997, Jane has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games, rugby league, motorsport, cricket, surfing, triathlon, rugby union, and golf for print, radio, television and online. However her enduring passion has been cycling.
Jane is a former Australian Editor of Cyclingnews from 2011 to 2013 and continues to freelance within the cycling industry.