The first one day race of the year kicks off again in Australia. The Great Ocean Road Race may be in only its third year, but has already attracted the biggest names in cycling, including three time Tour de France winner Chris Froome. The event, which is said to be the Australian version of a European Spring Classic, runs 174km (108 miles) through the Victorian seaside, starting and finishing in Geelong.
The race started of slow with a breakaway of four quickly gaining a 10 minute gap on the field. By the time the peloton entered the finishing circuit, though, the gap had closed to under a minute. A flurry of attacks then went off the front as soon as the break was caught on the Challambra climb.
With the final 10km looming, climbers and all-rounders launched solo moves but were all thwarted by the quickly dwindling peloton. After the fast decent of the Challambra, Richie Porte (BMC) took a flyer after a small group led by his former teammate Chris Froome (Sky) was brought back by the reduced peloton. With 1km to go, and after Porte was brought back, multiple track world champion Cameron Meyer (Cycling Australia) attacked, but was reeled in on the line by the sprinters. In a photo finish, German sprinter Nikias Arndt (Sunweb) took the win ahead of Simon Gerrans (Orica Scott) and Cameron Meyer.
The World Tour will next head to the Middle East where the peloton will contest the third annual Abu Dhabi Tour. The Australian summer will conclude with the Herald Sun Tour next week, while the Dubai Tour will attract many of the world’s best cyclists as well next week.