Cameron Meyer defended his Australian national road race title with the sort of victory that will sate the appetite of cycling fans during the current dearth of racing action.
The Bike Exchange rider pipped Kellan O’Brien to the line as his compatriot ran out of steam at the last, with Scott Bowden taking bronze behind.
The attacks flowed constantly throughout the final couple of laps, as Durbridge then brought back the two leading groups, delivering eight into the final to contest the win. Then, EF Education-Nippo’s James Whelan also got back on, riding straight through to the front as the pace kicked up a notch.
Into the finishing straight and O’Brien launched, seeming to have done enough, but couldn’t sustain his effort after a demanding day on the 185.6km-long Mount Buninyong course, with his WorldTour compatriot coming past to snatch victory.
“All of the drinks are on me tonight,” Meyer told Durbridge as the TV cameras closed in after the finish.
“Every lap I thought I was in trouble, this isn’t going to happen. Somehow the best team-mate you can have, Luke Durbridge, popped up there right at the end, saved me, brought me to the line and I just pulled on the experience that I had in the finish,” Meyer said.
“I think that is what won it for me. I have done that sprint a fair few times and lost it and I just got the timing right and somehow pulled off a miracle today.”
Bike Exchange reclaimed both of their Australian national road race champion jerseys after Sarah Roy won the women’s title.
After making the decisive six-woman group off the front of the race, Roy attacked halfway through, eventually going solo with two laps to go and finishing more than a minute ahead of Grace Brown, just ahead of Lauretta Hanson who picked up bronze.