Youngster Miles Scotson (BMC), in his first ever race for a world tour team has come up trumps with a blistering attack in the final two kilometres to win the Australian National Championships.
In his first season where he will race consistently in Europe he will now wear the green and gold jersey after outthinking everyone else in the lead group.
The last 50km were absolutely fantastic to watch, with attacks all over the road. Luke Durbridge would have been voted man of the match in any football code, after being in the breakaway all day and then going with attacks after being caught.
A nine man breakaway group featuring Caleb Ewan, Lachlan Morton, Luke Durbridge, Pat Lane, Jay McCarthy, Robbie Hucker, Cameron Meyer, Neil van der Ploeg and Ben Dyball led the way for most of the day before being caught towards the end.
Brendan Canty went on the attack with a couple of laps to go, with Durbridge leading the chase and trying to set things up for Simon Gerrans.
Canty had quite a large lead with a lap to go, but squandered it when he failed to count how many laps were left, celebrating through one to go before realising that wasn’t the end of the race.
Into the final two kilometres, Miles Scotson had dropped well off the breakaway, but then put the hammer down to come around the outside, go straight past and claim the win with Simon Gerrans coming through for second.
1. Miles Scotson (BMC) @ 4:37:55
2. Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott) + 0
3. Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) + 0
4. Cameron Bayly + 0
5. Nathan Earle (Ukyo) + 0
6. Travis Meyer + 0
7. Brendan Canty (Cannondale) + 0
8. Robbie Hucker (IsoWhey) + 0
9. Lachlan Norris (United healthcare) + 0
10. Mark O’Brien + 0
With Jack Bobridge retired, there will be a new men’s road race champion crowned at the Australian cycling championships, with Simon Gerrans leading a strong field on the 183.6km race around Ballarat on 18 laps of a 10.2km course. Join The Roar for live coverage from 12:45pm (AEDT).
The national championships sees the Australian riders in the professional peloton get their season underway, and the rebranded Orica-Scott team should come up trumps.
They are able to name a full team of riders who sit in the pro peloton, with Gerrans again expected to be the man leading their chase to wear the green and gold for the upcoming season.
Gerrans might be the first-choice plan for Orica, but there are other riders in the team with eyes on the prize, namely Caleb Ewan, who has been in good form during the bay criteriums.
The questions for Ewan is whether riding the hill on course 18 times will become too much for him, and can other riders break up the peloton.
If Ewan can stay in the front group though, he should be the fastest rider on the road.
One of the teams looking to split things up and get breakaways rolling from the get-go will be Dimension Data, who come in with a three-pronged assault, led by the recently signed Lachlan Morton, along with Nathan Haas and Ben O’Connor.
Jay McCarthy, who will be a lone ranger on course for the newly formed Bora-Hansgrohe squad, could throw up a surprise if he manages to stay with the front group.
Others in with a shout – whether through a breakaway effort like Bobridge last year or out of the group towards the end of the race – include Cameron and Travis Meyer, Zakkari Dempster, Adam Hansen, Lachlan Norris and Neil Van der Ploeg, who will lead the largest team in the race – IsoWhey Sports Swiss Wellness, formerly Avanti.
It’s going to be hard to stop the Orica-Scott train, who will be keen to make up for a not-so-brilliant 2016 campaign.
If Orica don’t get the win, then watch for Adam Hansen or the ultra-aggressive Nathan Haas or Lachlan Morton from Dimension-Data. Cameron Meyer is another rider who could throw something surprising up on the day.
Realistically though, it’s hard to see anyone beating Gerrans.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the 2017 Australian national championships road race from 12:45pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to add your own comments in the section below.
Follow Scott on Twitter @sk_pryde