2019 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Preview

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Parcour

The men face 163.3 kilometres, and like the women, will start and finish on the Geelong Waterfront. The riders will set off on a large loop towards Barwon Heads, where they will then fight out the first intermediate sprint at Torquay. The remaining two intermediate sprints coming at the first and second time across the start finish line. Four KOMs line the road, the first at Bells Beach followed by the first three times up Challambra Cresent. In total, the riders will tackle the 810 metre (9.8%) Challambra Cresent four times, enough to create large problems for the fast men. A fast run in will provide the chance for those in the front to keep the sprinters at bay after the climbs. However, cooperation between the climbers in the run in to Geelong has often been a problem.

The favourites

Elia Viviani-

The Italian champion was second here last year, coming home like a run-away train in the final 300 metres. He went on to have his most successful season ever in 2018. Viviani arrives here in good condition. He had a stage win at Tour Down Under last week, and if he can drag himself over Challambra four times, it’s hard to see anyone beating the 29 year-old.

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Daryl Impey-

Impey comes into the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road race in perhaps career best form. Fresh off the back of winning the Tour Down Under overall last week, the South African champion who was third here last year comes in as a warm favourite. We saw his climbing qualities last week on Willunga hill so expect him to bounce over Challambra with most of the favourites. Its hard to see any sprinters make it to the finish without Impey so should the race playout in the favour of the fast men, Impey will be there with bells on. 

Michael Valgren-

Valgren is quickly turning into the one day racing king. It’s a course that suits those who like to take the bull by the horns and Valgren fits that description. In 2018, he won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Amstel Gold Race, and finished fourth in the Tour of Flanders. Let’s not forget he animated the last lap of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships Elite Mens Road Race. He isn’t in top shape but give him a sniff, and he will take his chance.

Richie Porte

Porte is the best climber here. He needs the four local loops to be ridden a break neck speed to zap the legs of the fast men that can climb, ie; Daryl Impey. He proved his condition is unreal in Adelaide and he will be looking to put that form on display here in Geelong. Winning solo is the only way here for Porte.

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Luis Leon Sanchez-

He was superb at Tour Down Under, being there or there abouts every day. He is quick, can climb well and with his wealth of experience, he is tactically sound. All attributes that are key to winning here in Geelong. The Spaniard is now 35 years old, but has been riding the Australian summer like he is 25. A real danger man if a group of 10-15 come to the finish and he is there.  

Others-Jay McCarthy Caleb Ewan, Jasper Philipsen, Chris Hamilton, Wout Poels, Diego Ulissi, Michael Woods, George Bennet, Michael Freiberg

 

The prediction

 Expect to see a group go away early with the Korda Mentha National team represented in it. Slight winds will cause some nervous moments as the riders make their way along the coastline after Torquay, but a large split seems unlikely, given the forecast. The pace will be ramped up as the riders approach the local laps around Geelong. The break will be absorbed and the race will start in earnest after the riders pass the start finish line for the first time. The local loops will hopefully be raced hard, causing problems for the quick men. A group of 15 to arrive at the finish with Luis Leon Sanchez to take the chocolates.

Campbell Flakemore