The Tour Take | Australian Road Race Championships
1st – Michael Freiberg (Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
2nd – Chris Harper (Team Bridgelane)
3rd – Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
5 – Michael Frieberg. For a race that started with 50 potential winners, yet Freiberg’s win came out of the blue completely. Guts over the top of Mount Buninyong kept him in it, and he attacked at the perfect time.
4 - Chris Harper. Again so close for Harper who’s showing repeatedly on the nation’s biggest stage that he’s a man who should be given a chance at a higher level.
3 – Luke Durbridge. Emptied himself completely for Meyer and Edmondson, and ended up with his black jersey turned white from all the salt.
2 - Cameron Meyer. Meyer was probably the strongest man on the day, riding across to the front with a super set of legs, but you can’t help feeling he let it slip.
1 - Alex Edmondson. The defending champ gave it a great shot, but just didn't have the legs after spending the whole race in a break that was absolutely moving.
16 Laps of the Mount Buninyong circuit made for a 185km race, and for 16 ascents of the 2.9km, 5.8% Mount Buninyong climbs. Without being brutally steep, the climb is leg sapping when covered so many times, with a 9% pinch closer to the top. A long fast descent and technical section through Federation University caps off a tough course.
The fireworks started early with a 30 man break established by the second lap. the dominant team Mitchelton-SCOTT packed six riders in, including defending champ Alex Edmondson. Stong solo riders made the break too, with Nathan Haas, Jimmy Whelan, Ben O’Connor, and Jai Hindley. WIth all the main teams represented, the break got a lead of 3 minutes quickly, but it was too big to stay together all race long.
A group of four then shot off the front, including two past winners and Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates, Edmondson and Luke Durbridge, along with last year’s third place-getter Chris Harper and Michael Freiberg. They built up a two minute lead over the rest of the break, with the peloton another two minutes behind them.
With the two groups behind fracturing due to the course and heat, the leading four looked like they’d be fighting it out between themselves. But Cameron Meyer bridged to the front with the help of Jason Lea and Connor Murtagh, and a group of seven headed into the final four loops in the lead.
The Mount Buninyong climb had taken it’s toll, and Edmondson, Lea and Murtagh were dropped, while Durbridge had emptied himself in service of Meyer by the second last lap.
With Freiberg the weakest climber of the group, the onus was on Harper and Meyer, but on the final two ascents they failed to properly put him to the sword. He bridged back over the top of the second last climb, while on the final lap, he looked to be gone until Meyer and Harper started playing cat and mouse in the final 2km.
Freiberg attacked as soon as he bridged to the leading two with 800m to go, and Meyer’s slow response gave him the gap he needed. He held a slim gap all the way to the line and won his first National Road Title to add to his collection of track wins.
See you back at the social club,