The U23 and Elite Men’s Nationals Road Races were held on the weekend in Buninyong, near Ballarat in North-West Victoria.
The U23’s raced 13 laps of the gruelling 10.1km course that includes a 3km climb reaching almost 10% in parts. Conditions were best described as hot, the mercury sitting around 30 degrees for the duration of the race. We had several riders in this race, including Chris Harper, Daniel Fitter, Nick Katsonis, and recently crowned U23 Crit Champ Jesse Kerrison. The race was going somewhat predictably with a duo breaking away a couple of laps in and dangling off the front until lap 5. At that point one of the riders sat up, and Rylee Field (GPM-Stultz) was left to go it alone on the front for 4 laps.
At that point our man Chris Harper bridged the gap and tore away on his own. It was a very gutsy move and one that nearly came off. Chris was caught on the final climb up Mt. Buninyong, and eventually crossed 6th, just 15 seconds behind winner Chris Hamilton (Avanti IsoWhey).
The Elite men lined up on Sunday afternoon in similar conditions to the U23 the day before. Lining up in the 120 strong field were some of the best cyclists in the world, with guys like Richie Porte, Simon Gerrans, and Adam Hansen on the start line. We were well represented with riders such as Luke Parker, Alex Wohler, Alex Smyth, Jayden Copp, and Tom Robinson.
The race itself was chaotic and will be remembered for years to come for the brutality of it. A 20 man breakaway formed on the first lap, with 3 of our guys part of the action. From there, Jack Bobridge and Bernie Sulzberger gradually put the hammer down until they were able to break away from the group on lap 6. At this stage Luke Parker put in an amazing effort to try and bridge into the top 5, but by the end of lap 12 his race was over.
Luke wasn’t alone; the hot temperature and the devastating pace had shelled more than half the field, with only 30 riders remaining in the race. Jayden Copp and Alex Wohler both hung on as long as they could but eventually had to bid farewell to the race.
The day will be remembered for Jack Bobridge’s amazing effort. He extended his lead until lap 16, when he led by over 10 minutes on the field. The last two laps were virtually celebratory as there was no way Jack could be caught. He went on to win by nearly 3 minutes in one of the more dominant performances in recent memory.
Another great week for State of Matter MAAP. Thanks to everyone out at the races showing their support to the team!