The second edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race came down to an exciting finale, in which British road race champion Pete Kennaugh (Sky) prooved to be the best. Cameron Meyer, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Nathan Haas kept Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in the mix, with the latter finishing in 6th place on the Geelong Waterfront.
During the week leading up to the race the area around Geelong had seen some bad weather. While the weather was a factor to stay aware of, the sun greeted the riders when they rolled to the start line today.
The race started fast, with four riders breaking clear in the first hour of racing. Pat Lane (Avanti) was the driving force in the breakaway. Together with Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) he managed to stay out front for most of the race.
The two took on the first of three laps of the challenging final circuit alone, but were soon caught when the peloton decided to chase. The catch resulted in a 12-man counter attack, in which none of the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders featured. Given that the situation was the same for a few other teams, the attack was short lived and resulted in an escape of Cameron Meyer, Salvatore Pucchio (Sky) and Rafael Valls (Lotto-Soudal). The trio was able to open up a gap of around 20 seconds with about 25 kilometers to go.
Eventually, the gap wasn’t big enough. On the steepest climb of the circuit Kennaugh bridged over with Nathan and Reinie trying to stay in his wheel. The Brit prooved to be too strong. He managed to ride off the front solo and stayed away for the last kilometers of the day. In an exciting finale the chase group tried to reel him in but had to settle for second. Leigh Howard lead the chase home. Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafedo) finished in third place with Nathan coming home for us in 6th place.
Nathan Haas – Rider
I think, as the new kids on the block we can be really proud of how we rode in the last few weeks here in Australia. We really tried every single time to show ourselves and today was no different. Cam put on a really good show and I came in in 6th. Reinie was also up there, and was probably the strongest sprinter in our group. Unfortunately, we lost each other in the finale when we got cut and then ran out of legs. We can still walk away from the race being proud of the team, I think.