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Live coverage

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race 2019

Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 2019 men's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

Today's race covers 163km, starting and finishing in Geelong, in Victoria, Australia, and heading down to Cadel Evans' hometown of Barwon Heads, and then following the Great Ocean Road west along the coast to Torquay and Bells Beach before heading north back to Geelong.

However, as the race approaches the Geelong suburbs, the riders face four climbs of Challambra Crescent, which is a tough sting in the tail, and should decide the race.

 

In Saturday's women's race – won by Astana's Arlenis Sierra – the Challambra climb indeed proved to be key, although Sierra only managed to tag on to a group of five riders who had got away on the climb when she was on the descent.

 

The women's race only faced the climb once on the finishing circuit, whereas today's men's race climbs it once, heads through the start/finish area, and then has three more laps.

 

It's currently 23C in Geelong – perfect racing weather!

 

We're just a couple of minutes away from the start. There are currently only gentle winds down on the coast, but currently westerly – so a headwind – but changing this afternoon to south-easterly, so there could be some crosswind action if it gets any stronger.

 

163km remaining from 163km

We've got the national anthem playing ahead of the start. Might it inspire defending champion Jay McCarthy of Bora-Hansgrohe – and the only Aussie winner of this race so far – to make it two wins in a row?

 

McCarthy is certainly a favourite, as is Deceuninck-QuickStep sprinter Elia Viviani and Mitchelton-Scott's Daryl Impey, which just happened to be the podium at last year's race.

 

Here's our preview of this year's race. There are a number of climbers who could be in the mix, too, such as EF Education First's Michael Woods and Trek-Segafredo's Richie Porte, although Porte says he's been a bit unwell these past couple of days.

 

We're under way, and still in the neutral zone for now.

 

This is such an open race, and could go a climber's way, if they can get away on the Challambra climb, or a sprinter that can get over the climbs – or any kind of rider in between! And that was entirely intentional, 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans says.

 

Race director Scott Sunderland has dropped the flag – and we're off.

 

162km remaining from 163km

There's been an attack from the gun – or flag-drop – and it's Nathan Elliott of the KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team, and he's been joined by Astana's Laurens De Vreese.

 

160km remaining from 163km

Elliott's Kordamentha teammate Carter Turnbull's trying to get across to the lead two riders, too.

 

159km remaining from 163km

We have contact! There's now a lead group of three riders – Nathan Elliott and Carter Turnbull of the KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team and Astana's Laurens De Vreese – with a minute's lead on the bunch already.

 

It looks as though the peloton is happy to let this group go. It's in stark contrast to yesterday's women's race, where the race didn't really get going until the first intermediate sprint after 25km in Barwon Heads.

 

153km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Carter Turnbull (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Peloton @ 3:30

 

151km remaining from 163km

The lead for out three-man break is heading upwards, and quickly. They've now got a gap of over 4:45.

 

148km remaining from 163km

In the break, Elliott appears to have just suggested to De Vreese that he – Elliott – would take the intermediate sprint at Barwon Heads, and then De Vreese would take the KOM at Bells Beach. Let's see if that happens; it's a good way to keep the break working well together, rather than fighting things out between them.

 

146km remaining from 163km

The peloton are taking things relatively easy, with Lotto Soudal's Thomas De Gendt on the front – no surprise there! – with Caleb Ewan being protected as their man most likely for the finish.

 

145km remaining from 163km

The current situation at this 2019 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, with 18km of the 163km distance covered:

Breakaway:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Carter Turnbull (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Peloton @ 4:18

 

Our man Stephen Farrand is currently in Argentina for the Vuelta a San Juan stage race, which also begins today – Sunday.

 

While Bora-Hansgrohe are backing Jay McCarthy here at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, in Argentina the team's leader, Peter Sagan, is ready for his second race of the season, having begun his year at the Tour Down Under.

 

Laurens De Vreese – who's part of the three-man breakaway here at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – has just given the TV camera a few lines from his Astana team's so-bad-it's-good team rap. If you haven't seen it in all its glory yet, you so should.

 

138km remaining from 163km

Mitchelton-Scott's Sam Bewley is on the front of the bunch, ensuring that the three-man break doesn't get too much of a lead. It's being pegged at just under four minutes now.

 

137km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Carter Turnbull (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Peloton @ 3:48

 

The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race race director – former pro Scott Sunderland – has been announced as the new Flanders Classics general race director.

 

Belgian company Flanders Classics owns and runs a number of races, including Gent-Wevelgem, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and one of cycling's most famous one-day races, the Tour of Flanders.

 

132km remaining from 163km

We've still got 132km left to race here, and the three-rider break now has a 3:30 lead, so it's steadily coming down again.

 

It's still Mitchelton-Scott's Sam Bewley on the front of the bunch, but with the massed ranks of Team Sky just behind him.

 

Team Sky have a strong team here at this WorldTour race, of course. Wout Poels and Kenny Elissonde will be two of their riders most likely to do something. Those who watched the recent Tour Down Under will have seen the two of them go on the attack on Willunga Hill, although the stage was eventually won by Trek-Segafredo's Richie Porte.

The climb of Challambra Crescent – which is climbed four times inside the final 55km of today's race – will be Team Sky's chance to send Poels and/or Elissonde up the road.

 

129km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Carter Turnbull (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Peloton @ 3:12

 

125km remaining from 163km

2018 Australian road race champion Alex Edmondson has joined his Mitchelton-Scott teammate Sam Bewley at the front of the bunch. They seem happy to have pegged the breakaway's lead at about 3:30.

 

123km remaining from 163km

The three leaders – Nathan Elliott and Carter Turnbull (both of the KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team) and Astana's Laurens De Vreese – are working well together. They've got a 3:54 lead with 30km covered.

 

123km remaining from 163km

The three leaders – Nathan Elliott and Carter Turnbull (both of the KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team) and Astana's Laurens De Vreese – are working well together. They've got a 3:54 lead with 40km covered.

 

Sorry – that's 40km covered, not 30km. Maths fail.

 

119km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Carter Turnbull (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Peloton @ 3:56

 

The three leaders went through the intermediate sprint in the order Elliott, De Vreese, Turnbull – without sprinting, so the earlier 'agreement' stood. We should then see the Belgian, De Vreese, take the KOM on the way out of Bells Beach.

We're heading towards the race's first real climb, which is on the way out of Bells Beach, where we leave the coast and start heading back towards the city of Geelong.

110km remaining from 163km

The three leaders have still got a lead of over four minutes.

 

 

110km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Carter Turnbull (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Peloton @ 4:10

 

 

108km remaining from 163km

The break has started heading inland now, and are now on the race's first 'king of the mountains' climb. We're expecting to see Astana's Laurens De Vreese take it, as the Belgian 'let' KordaMentha Real Estate's Nathan Elliott take the first intermediate sprint earlier.

 

107km remaining from 163km

Indeed, De Vreese was allowed to take the KOM, followed by Elliott and Turnbull. The trio has still got a good lead – over four minutes – and don't want to interrupt their rhythm. How much longer can they stay out there for, though?

 

104km remaining from 163km

It's with around 55km left to race – and the first climb of Challambra Crescent – where we really expect to see this race kick off. The climb will then be tackled three more times en route to the finish.

 

Check out our preview – here – of this race, in which we name our favourites. They include last year's winner Jay McCarthy, Elia Viviani and Daryl Impey, plus Danny Van Poppel, Kenny Elissonde and Luis Leon Sanchez, and some climbers, too, in Richie Porte and Michael Woods.

 

We reckon we've covered ourselves reasonably well there. And we're pleased to have just heard that former pro Juan Antonio Flecha names Luis Leon Sanchez as his favourite for today!

 

101km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Carter Turnbull (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Peloton @ 4:20

 

The bunch is now inside the last 100km of the race, and is being led by the Bora-Hansgrohe and Mitchelton-Scott teams. They've pulled the break's lead back to under four minutes.

90km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Carter Turnbull (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Peloton @ 3:45

 

90km remaining from 163km

Over in Argentina, the Vuelta a San Juan also gets under way today, and Cyclingnews' Stephen Farrand has been hearing from Dimension Data's Mark Cavendish, who's starting his season while on his way back from a bout of mononucleosis.

85km remaining from 163km

The peloton's getting a bit perkier now, with Jumbo-Visma and Lotto Soudal joining Mitchelton-Scott and Bora-Hansgrohe on the front of the bunch.

84km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Carter Turnbull (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Peloton @ 3:37

 

80km remaining from 163km

It's lunchtime here at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. No – not for Cyclingnews. The peloton get their musettes – cotton lunch bags – as they head through the feed zone. What's inside? Often some jam sandwiches, some rice cakes, another couple of energy bars, and perhaps a can of cola, for a little boost.

We're feeling like a takeaway curry.

 

 

The breakaway has worked well together today, and the three riders are putting the hammer down now, as their lead is slowly starting to fall again.

In the break, Laurens De Vreese is in his ninth year as a professional, and his fifth year with Astana. Apart from his rapping skillz, the 30-year-old Belgian's best result is second place at the 2012 Paris-Tours.

 

 

Nathan Elliott and Carter Turnbull are the two other riders in the break, both riding here at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race for the KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team

 

The experienced Elliott, 28, became the first rider to win the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic twice in a row in 2017, while 18-year-old Turnbull represented Australia at the junior world championship road race, in Innsbruck, Austria, at the end of last season.

 

 

68km remaining from 163km

We're heading towards the pointy end of this race now, and it's still Mitchelton-Scott, Bora-Hansgrohe and Lotto Soudal on the front of the bunch, and they've started to turn the screw, with the break's lead now only just over three minutes.

 

67km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Carter Turnbull (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Peloton @ 3:02

 

The break's heading towards the first climb of Challambra Crescent on the outskirts of Geelong. The race will take it on four times in total before the end of this race.

What's going to happen to the break on the climb? They still have just under three minutes' lead on the peloton, so will they try to stay together for a bit longer yet?

That was a quick answer: Turnbull has hit the lower slopes of Challambra and almost come to a standstill after working so hard for his teammate Elliott in the break.

60km remaining from 163km

Our lead group is down to two riders – Nathan Elliott and Laurens De Vreese – as Carter Turnbull drops out of contention. De Vreese is leading Elliott up the Challambra climb for this first of four times up it, and it reaches 22% near the top.

59km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Peloton @ 2:23

De Vreese was first over the top of the Challambra Crescent climb, taking maximum KOM points. Elliott was second, and Turnbull, although he's dropped away from the break, will take third – although the peloton won't be far behind him.

The bunch stayed together over the Challambra Crescent climb this first time, and it's still being led by riders from Mitchelton-Scott – who are riding today for Tour Down Under winner Daryl Impey – and Bora-Hansgrohe, who are hoping that defending champion Jay McCarthy can take the win again.

Going through the finish area with 50km – three 16.6km laps – to go, our leaders, Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team) and Laurens De Vreese (Astana) go through with a 2:40 lead over the bunch.

50km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Peloton @ 2:40

Inside three laps to go of this finishing circuit, we're seeing Trek-Segafredo up near the front of the bunch as we approach the second climb of Challambra Crescent.

Elliott and De Vreese still have a 2:41 lead with 43.5km to go, and will get over this second, upcoming climb of Challambra at the head of the race.

43km remaining from 163km

Thomas De Gendt has come to the head of the bunch again for Lotto Soudal, who are riding for Caleb Ewan.

De Vreese goes over the top of Challambra ahead of Elliott. That's two of the climbs done, and two to go.

There's a bit of daylight between De Vreese and Elliott on the descent, but the Belgian appears to still be waiting for the Australian.

Mitchelton-Scott's Rob Stannard is pushing the pace on Challambra at the front of the bunch, with EF Education First's Jimmy Whelan on his wheel. The bunch is still together going over the top, but the pace is being pushed now, and next time around we could start seeing some gaps.

39km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Peloton @ 1:57

 

35km remaining from 163km

De Vreese has now ridden Elliott off his wheel, and that could soon be it for Elliott.

 

 

Nic Dlamini (Dimension Data) and Astana's Davide Ballerini have come out of the bunch on a bit of a descent on this 16.6km finishing circuit.

33km remaining from 163km

De Vreese goes through the finish line with two laps to go with a 15-second lead over Elliott, with the two chasers around a minute further back. The peloton appears content to let them go, coming through another 30 seconds behind the chasers.

31km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Chase 1 @ 0:15:

Nathan Elliott (KordaMentha Real Estate Australian national team)

Chase 2 @ 1:01

Nic Dlamini (Dimension Data)

Davide Ballerini (Astana)

Peloton @ 2:02

De Vreese still leads the race, with two chasers – De Vreese's Astana teammate Davide Balerini and Dimension Data's Nic Dlamini – closing fast, and KordaMentha's Nathan Elliott between them, in no man's land, and about to be caught.

28km remaining from 163km

It's all over for Elliott. A great effort by the Australian, and Ballerini and Dlamini go straight past him.

28km remaining from 163km

Or do they? Elliott's attempting to hold Ballerini's wheel, and will cling on for as long as he can as the climb of Challambra starts again. 

26km remaining from 163km

De Vreese goes over the top of the climb of Challambra for the penultimate time just a few seconds ahead of his Astana teammate Ballerini, who's dropped Dlamini and Elliott.

25km remaining from 163km

The two Astana riders – Ballerini and De Vreese – are together on the descent of Challambra. Dlamini comes over the climb third, around 30 seconds down, followed by Elliott, who's almost been caught by Mitchelton's Rob Stannard and Sky's Kenny Elissonde.

24km remaining from 163km

The two Astana leaders have a 1:34 lead over the peloton, with Dalamini, Elliott, Stannard and Elissonde in between them. There's just a lap-and-a-half left of this race, which means just one more climb of Challambra, where this year's race will go a long way to being decided.

20km remaining from 163km

Astana's Ballerini has left exhausted teammate De Vreese behind him now, which means Ballerini has a 1:04 lead over the bunch with 20km to go.

19km remaining from 163km

That's it for De Vreese: the bunch has caught him, which is being led by Bora-Hansgrohe's Lukas Pöstlberger. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) is right up there, too, and will be looking to attack on the final time up Challambra.

18km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Davide Ballerini (Astana)

Peloton @ 1:04

 

17km remaining from 163km

One lap to go. Ballerini (Astana) passes through the finish area with a minute's advantage over the bunch, which appears to be pretty large still, with all the big favourites still in there, although that will change on the final climb of Challambra. 

 

 

16km remaining from 163km

Bora-Hansgrohe are still working hard on the front of the peloton for defending champion Jay McCarthy.

 

 

15km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:

Davide Ballerini (Astana)

Peloton @ 1:11

 

 

Still over a minute's lead for the lone leader, Astana's Davide Ballerini, with just over 12km to go. He's heading towards the final climb of Challambra Crescent, where his lead will surely tumble.

 

 

11km remaining from 163km

The peloton looks to be down to around 60-70 riders, but all the favourites appear to still be in there. The Tour de France's best young rider last year – AG2R's Pierre Latour – can be seen near the front.

Ballerini's lead is coming down quickly on the last climb of Challambra.

10km remaining from 163km

Breakaway:
Davide Ballerini (Astana)
Peloton @ 0:34

EF's Mitchell Docker is leading the bunch onto the climb.

9km remaining from 163km

Ballerini is caught on the climb. It's all together with just over 9km to go. Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe) takes up the pace.

9km remaining from 163km

UAE's Diego Ulissi leads the race over the top of the Challambra climb for the final time. Just under 9km to go to the finish and it's still all together.

8km remaining from 163km

There's been a bit of a split on the descent.

8km remaining from 163km

Mitchelton's Lucas Hamilton is on the front, with the race strung out behind him, but it looks to be back together.

7km remaining from 163km

Deceuninck-QuickStep's Elia Viviani is still there as the road rises again. If he can get over these last little climbs, he'l be the big favourite for the sprint.

6km remaining from 163km

Dylan Van Baarle (Sky) has attacked on a small rise, and has been followed by Mitchelton's Lucas Hamilton and Deceuninck's Dries Devenyns.

6km remaining from 163km

Devenyns and Hamilton don't want to work, as they have their sprinters just behind: Viviani and Impey.

5km remaining from 163km

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) goes!

4km remaining from 163km

All together again.

4km remaining from 163km

Deceuninck have come to the front and are trying to lead it out for Viviani, but Sky's Van Baarle has attacked again.

3km remaining from 163km

Van Baarle (Sky) has a small gap...

3km remaining from 163km

Deceuninck bring Van Baarle back.

2km remaining from 163km

All the sprinters are up here, but Richie Porte has attacked.

2km remaining from 163km

Porte's been shut down.

1km to go!

EF, UAE and Deceuninck are at the front.

Morkov leads it out for Viviani, and Ewan is there. Viviani wins!

Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wins, ahead of Lotto Soudal's Caleb Ewan.

1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep

2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal

3. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott

Top 10 to come

1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 3:54:35

2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal

3. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott

4. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data

5. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin

6. Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky

7. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep

8. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe

9. Owain Doull (GBr) Team Sky

10. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team

Race winner Viviani praised his Deceuninck-QuickStep team for helping him during today's race, with particular praise for lead-out man Michael Mørkøv.

"The tactic was to drop me, but we played smart and were always able to come back. I have to say thanks to the best team in the world, with Michael doing a fantastic lead-out for me. With his help, I'm always confident of taking the win. Michael's been away from home for a month now, but this is the pay-off."

 

Head over to Cyclingnews for a brief report and brief results of today's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – as well as all the latest pro cycling news – with a full report and full results to follow.

 

Thanks for joining us for today's race. We'll be back with plenty more live coverage during the 2019 season.

 

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