photo credits @ CEGORR
Emotions ran high after Marius Mayrhofer claimed his maiden WorldTour win in Sunday’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
After 176 km in wet and gusty conditions, it was Mayrhofer who prevailed in the elite men’s road race in a hectic bunch sprint marred by a three-rider spill just 200 meters from the line.
The 22-year-old, from Team DSM, managed to dodge any friendly fire and outlasted Hugo Page (Intermarché Circus Wanty) and Australia’s Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) at the finish
“It feels great,” Mayrhofer said following the win which was watched on by family in the crowd.
“Straight after the finish, I was completely done emotionally, and I couldn’t believe it. Now I’m fine again and happy to take the win.
“I’m still full of adrenaline and happiness. This evening, I’ll feel my legs a bit. The climb is pretty tough, especially for a sprinter. I had to dig deep a few times, but I felt good today.”
It could have been a dirty day for Mayrhofer after he was involved in a crash at the base of the Wandana Heights climb. Luckily, there was no damage done.
Page’s runner-up finish topped off an impressive effort from Intermarché Circus Wanty, with Taco van der Hoorn making his solo early break stick until the last 40 kilometers of the race.
The Dutch cyclist braved the unfavorable Surf Coast conditions alone throughout the afternoon and was rewarded with both the Mapei Sprint and Visit Victoria King of the Mountain jerseys.
During the final tough ascent up the Challambra Crescent, one last attack was made by Page’s teammate Sven Erik Bystrøm but to no avail, after a reduced peloton caught him 350 meters out from the line.
Australia’s Lucas Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) was the first to go in the bunch sprint with the finish in sight, before a dramatic crash involving Dries Devenyns, Dorian Godon and Ethan Hayter split the group.
Australian sprinting superstars Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla) and Caleb Ewan (Australian National Team) managed to dodge the spill and were right in the mix, but were unable to make ground on the winner to finish fourth and sixth respectively.
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