2016 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Preview
An unchanged route from last year, the race encompasses two sections, a largely rolling and scenic opening lap of 111km and three laps of 20km including an irregular climb at 10% over 1km. This climb will select the group to sprint for the win, with 12.8km left until the finish from the last ascent. It should be noted that the very end of the long lap also features this climb as the riders enter the circuit, and so the climb is taken four times throughout the day.
This race will surely be another target for Orica-Greenedge, and TDU winner Simon Gerrans will surely lead the team here on a course perfectly suited for him.
The biggest challenge will come from Team Sky, who bring Kennaugh, Rowe and Swift as options for the race. After Swift disappointing somewhat at the TDU, Kennaugh should take up leadership with his skills on the flat and in the hills and a proven ability to hold solo attacks to the line.
Pelucchi’s (IAM) TDU DNF may be a thing of the past come Sunday, and on form he is the best sprinter we could expect to reach the finale in the front group, but will he have the legs after previous terrible outings and 174km of hard racing?
Bobridge’s (Trek) crazy Australian Nationals win displayed a stamina and toughness at the core of one day racing. While he may have been aided by the heat, a rolling course suits him perfectly and he may well win in the green and gold.
Finally can Cavendish (DD) hang in there? He has shown great resilience before, but his form and team could be left floundering in his first event as part of the African Cycling Project.
The break has a small chance today, and could go far if riders like De Marchi (BMC), Lane (Avanti) or Von Hoff (ONE) find a way in.
** Rowe, Pelucchi, Bobridge, Cavendish
* Swift, The Break
- Will Tour Down Under form carry?
- Terrible weather made for a hard race last year and could repeat this year.
- Will Cav even try to hold on? If he does, he should win the sprint easily.
- Concerning the World Tour teams in attendance, some of them look like better squads here than in the TDU, however it is doubtful that they race to their true potential.
- Will the Continental teams prove their worth? Form and mystery do strange things to a peloton.
The race will be a pointer towards the Herald Sun tour, as well as to what riders feel like more of a challenge than the Middle East this year, possibly indicating more form on their part.
As the first 1.HC race of the year it will have implications for team leadership through the year, especially concerning Sky and IAM. It is also the most lucrative race on the Oceania tour, so a decent placing by a Continental team could have a large knock on effect.