With teams limited to three riders to even out the field at Mooloolaba, Queensland, the peloton was unable to reign in the breakaway which formed five laps into the 45 minute race as Jack Anderson (Drapac) out sprinted Ryan Cavanagh (QAS) to claim the first Australian Open Criterium crown.
As predicted with criterium racing, there were early attacks in the attempt to form a break and it was a group of four that managed to build a 30 second lead over the peloton.
In the break were reigning Melbourne to Warrnambool Champion Anderson, Jessie Kerrison (Budget Forklifts), Jack Beckinsale (Avanti Racing) and the 18-year-old Mooloolaba local Cavanagh who all worked together ensure they would stay away despite the best efforts of several teams trying to organise the chase.
Under-23 road and criterium national champion and pre-race favourite Caleb Ewan was forced to chase when the gap started to increase, but as the the solo Subaru backed rider, he was unable to successfully chase the break on his own.
With former track sprinter Kerrison in the break, Anderson and Cavanagh attacked in the final laps to distance Kerrison and built a small lead as they approached the bell lap.
In the two-up sprint, it was the experienced Anderson who got the better of the local favourite Cavanagh with Beckinsale taking out the final podium place.
"The finish was really quick, credit it to him [Cavanagh] I've been on that side of the podium plenty of times, he's young, he'll have his chance in the future I'm sure," Anderson said after claiming the win.
"My coach always says the strongest bike rider never wins."
The win was Anderson's first on the road for his new Drapac team and comes off the back of his points classification victory at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in February.
Next up for Drapac and Anderson is the 2014 Subaru National Road Series (NRS) opener, the Tour de Perth, which starts on March 26. Anderson won the opening and closing races of the 2013 NRS as he won the opening stage of last year's Tour de Perth and then capped off the season by by claiming the one-day Grafton-Inverell classic.
"I'm off to the Tour of Perth for start of NRS and all the Drapac boys are keen to keep winning from there. I'm going to keep enjoying myself and continue to have fun, if I can do that I'm sure the wins will come. If I enjoy myself then that's a win."
Subaru Australian Open Criterium Results
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Jack Anderson (Drapac)|
|2||Ryan Cavanagh (QAS / CQ Brisbane Camperland - QTS)|
|3||Jack Beckinsale (Avanti)|
|4||Daniel Fitter (QAS / CQ Brisbane Camperland - QTS)|
|5||Jesse Kerrison (Team BudgetForklifts)|
|6||Brenton Jones (Avanti)|
|7||Alex Wohler (Team BudgetForklifts)|
|8||Ryan Thomas (GPM)|
|9||Ben Price (Individual)|
|10||Bernard Sulzberger (Drapac)|
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