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McEwen takes third Surfers GP

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) (Image credit: John Flynn)

It took a Herculean effort from sprint champion Robbie McEwen to regain his title at the Surfers Paradise Grand Prix in front of a very vocal crowd against fellow sprinting super star Baden Cooke. In 2004, four time Olympic medallist Brad McGee put an end to Robbie McEwen’s strangle hold on this event, but the hometown hero still claimed his third title yesterday by the narrowest of margins.

On the start line was a full field of 60 riders, including McEwen, Baden Cooke, Brad McGee, Scott McGrory and Jaaron Poad. Half way through the race, the peloton had nevertheless been reduced to just 26 riders with a couple of nasty falls contributing to the decimated field.

After finishing out of the top ten in last weeks event at South Bank, McEwen made sure he didn't miss the break this week, and set up the race perfectly to end in a sprint. With fifteen minutes to go in the 60mins plus three laps race, it was clear the six riders in the lead group - McEwen, Cooke, Poad, Phillips, Ohlman and Mann - worked very effectively together to establish an unrecoverable break. In the final sprint, Cooke and McEwen gave it everything they had, and it was McEwen who just tipped out Cooke on the line with Poad again finishing third.

"It’s great to win here in front of my family and home crowd, it’s the only big race I get to ride and I always look forward to it," said McEwen. He also paid tribute to Phillips, who put in a phenomenal effort today. "I train with Jason nearly everyday and have known him since we were juniors, it was great to share the race with another local," added McEwen,who will now get in some hard training before the Nationals in mid-January, then the Tour Down Under before heading back overseas.

Poad was not too disappointed with third, as it secured him the overall series win. "I've been racing in these events for the past four years and finally I've done it, I'm just so happy I'm lost for words," said Poad.

A one hour television program will be screened on the Ten Network nationally on January 1, 2006, which will include coverage of both the Surfers Paradise and South Bank events as well as a short documentary on three of the rider’s families - Robbie McEwen, Henk Vogels and Scott McGrory.

For full results, report & photos of the Surfers Paradise GP, click here.

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