Crome upstaged WorldTour rivals Cameron Meyer (Trek-Segafredo) and Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) with a crafty finish at the end of the 151.km circuit race around Kinglake. A final day win for an Australian in a summer dominated by European, African and South American riders.
"I as originally going to follow [Ruben] Guerreiro in the sprint because I know he is quite fast and luckily Cam launched early and I got on it," he said of his winning move ahead of Cameron Meyer. "I had to really fight Guerreiro for that position into the corner and I though I left it a bit late when I tired to step out around Cam. I wasn't sure if I was going to get there but I managed to and I loved it."
Crome's stage win brought the curtain down on the Australian summer of racing. A six-week block of cycling that started in sombre tones following the death of Jason Lowndes in a training ride accident in his hometown of Bendigo in Victoria. A close friend of Lowndes and a Bendigo local, Crome has been riding in memory of the 23-year-old since the late December accident as he explained.
"It puts everything into perspective. You are here doing something you love and he's not," he said. "Nothing really matters because you are out there doing something you love and he loved it. No matter how much it hurts, no matter how much hard it has been, you just going, and going, and going. You have your life, your family and friends, and he is not here. It is really hard. It means a lot.
"He would loved that so that one was for him today."
Crome wasn't just riding to honour Lowndes, repaying the work of his dedicated teammates was also high on agenda. Former stage, classification and overall winners, Bennelong-SwissWellness regularly punch above its weight as a continental team in the 2.1 classified race.
Crome's stage win, Dylan Sunderland's young rider classification, and Steele von Hoff's points classification further signs of the team's success in the race. And symbolic of the team's attitude when racing above its weight division.
"It's been a successful week for the team. I think it just goes to show the strength of the team and the guys we have and that is basically it. We have a really strong team this year and we are just going to continue to get these results," he said.
"The majority of other guys have been WorldTour of Pro-Conti that win and we are just an Aussie continental team and we don't care who we race. We just come to race. If it's here, or the NRS we just race to win all the time and we got that."
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