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The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is back for another year, with a high-quality peloton set to fight it out in the biggest one-day classic race of the season so far. Join The Roar for live race updates and coverage from 11:15am (AEDT).
Always an entertaining race this early in the season, this is the fifth edition of Australia’s biggest one-day classic race.
The 163-kilometre cause is unchanged from last year. It starts with a long coastal loop, starting and ending in Geelong, with the race going through Cadel Evans home town of Barwon Heads, then through Torquay and Bells Beach before looping back slightly inland, across Mount Moriac, then back to a finishing circuit around Geelong.
The finishing circuit of 17 kilometres will be ridden three times are the initial 105-kilometre loop, and features two reasonably steep climbs.
It’s actually almost the same loop used in the 2010 World Cycling Championships, with Challambra Crescent and Melville Avenue being the two climbs on the circuit. The first of those is one kilometre at around ten per cent before the run to the line is mainly flat and downhill, spanning just over five kilometres.
The favourite is undoubtedly Daryl Impey. He is in stunning form after winning the Tour Down Under for the second year in a row, and the Mitchelton-Scott rider will have all the resources behind him once again.
Defending champion Jay McCarthy is also back in the field for Bora Hansgrohe, and they seem to be the two favourites on the surface, although McCarthy may need to shake Impey and any other sprinters – namely, Caleb Ewan – if he wants to win.
The race will probably be a little too difficult for Ewan to hang on though, although if he does, he or Elia Viviani may canter to a victory.
Richie Porte will also be keen to make a statement for his new team Trek-Segafredo, but will need to get aggressive if he wants to win, given the final six-kilometre stretch won’t suit him. Still, Cadel Evans finished at the top of the pack in the one edition he rode, so there is no doubt Porte could do some damage.
Other favourites include Michael Woods and Luis Leon Sanchez, while Nathan Haas has also pulled out of the race.
As we have seen in previous years, this race is normally won in a reduced bunch sprint – although the size of the group or whether someone can go solo after setting the tempo in a breakaway all day depends on exactly how hard the top teams – like Lotto-Soudal – make the race.
You’d expect on the surface for this to be another reduced bunch sprint though, and with that in mind, I’m taking the in-form Daryl Impey to pick up the win ahead of Jay McCarthy.
Be sure to join us here on The Roar for live coverage of the 2019 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race from 11:15am (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.