Budget Forklifts rider Scott Sunderland (WA) has raised his arms in victory on Raglan Parade to cap a stunning 2015 Melbourne to Warrnambool after narrowly beating home Alex Edmondson (SA) and 2014 winner Oliver Kent-Spark (Vic)...
After an incredibly uplifting performance from his teammates, Sunderland was delighted to be able to finish off their hard work.
“The team rode superb with Jack Bobridge and Jake Kauffman in the breakaway, setting it up beautifully for the finish.”
“I rode this race last year and it was difficult after an early crash, which helped me put a plan in place for today, and I felt good all day with my team around me. It was great to get the win.”
“The run to the finish was really fast, everyone was closing gaps quickly, and there was a lot of nervousness coming in, but the team got together well and did a perfect job in that final kilometre.”
The 100th edition of the Melbourne to Warrnambool left Werribee at a cracking pace, with a massive peloton all eager to be positioned at the front of the bunch in preparation for the inevitable attacks that would start from kilometre zero.
It was Ed White and Tyson Chambers who were the first riders to manage to get away first, before being joined by Peter Casey, Sam Hill and Nick Squillari.
The group worked well together, establishing a lead of over eight minutes at the 100km mark before they were joined by powerhouse Jacob Kauffman who put in a colossal 50km solo chase.
The group of six took advantage of the pelotons seeming reluctance to work together, and extended their lead to over 16 minutes.
Marshalls and Victoria Police worked incredibly well to maintain the rolling road closure, however with rider safety paramount, riders were advised that they would need to lift the tempo to ensure the race would continue. And lift the tempo they did, with Jack Bobridge, Brad Linfield and Darcy Woolley the first to respond.
With their lead being eaten into, the leading six reached Camperdown where GPM Stulz rider Sam Hill took out the Victorian 200km Championship.
With 75 kilometres to go, the lead group was down to five and had dreams of fighting it out for overall victory, however the Bobridge chase group had sparked the peloton into life, and their lead came down under the five minute mark, which led to a flurry of attacks from the indomitable Kauffman.
“The break got out to around six minutes and we weren’t represented so it was a choice of going across or riding the front, so I decided to play a card and see if I could make something of it, which I regretted for a while there!”
“Once I got across I still felt really good, the boys in the break had had a tough morning and were hurting really bad. When I knew Jack was coming, I knew the best card to play was for me to get up the road for him, and we certainly didn’t die wondering.”
“It was a great result for the team today with Scotty (Sunderland) taking the win, and I think Jack and I being up the road helped give the boys an armchair ride.”
With 30 kilometres to go Kauffman was joined by his Budget Forklifts teammate Jack Bobridge, and the two set to work to try and go 1-2 at the finish line.
It wasn’t to be for the two escapees, as they were caught inside the final ten kilometres, setting up an electric bunch sprint, where Sunderland showed his class to claim yet another win in the Subaru National Road Series.
“We had a plan from the start, and I believe we had the strongest team on paper. We had guys who could do everything across the board, and Jake going across put us in a great position.”
“Having Scott being able to sit in for 280km was a huge advantage in the sprint, and I think everyone did their job today” said Jack Bobridge.
In the inaugural Women’s Melbourne to Warrnambool, it was Lauretta Hanson (Vic) who sprinted home to take the victory ahead of Miranda Griffiths (Vic). Chloe McIntosh (Vic) crossed the line shortly after to take third.
With only one round of the Subaru National Road Series remaining, the men head to New South Wales for the Grafton to Inverell while the women head to Ballarat, home of the 2016 Australian Road National Championships, for the Tour of the Goldfields.