On Saturday we were treated to a feast of incredible cycling, from the breakaway maxing out to 16 minutes, to Jacob Kauffman’s selfless 50km chase, Jack Bobridge on the attack and finally Scott Sunderland delivering for Budget Forklifts in Warrnambool...
So what did we learn?
2. Teams Classification will be settled in Inverell
With one point separating Charter Mason Giant Racing and Avanti Racing, both teams rode attentively and marked each other well all race, making sure they would have as many riders as possible at the pointy end of the race.
In the end, Avanti just shaded it, leap-frogging Charter Mason to take a one point lead with them to the final weekend of the Series.
3. Team Budget Forklifts should be given the keys to Warrnambool
After successfully securing a 1-2-3 finish in 2013 and following it up with a third place finish for Sam Horgan in 2014, the team held all the aces, going into the race with the strongest squad on paper, and played their hand to perfection.
With Kauffman and Bobridge up the road in the closing stages, race winner Sunderland was able to sit in and enjoy the ‘armchair ride’ as Kauffman described it.
“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.”
If DS Cameron Watt could have written the script, it would have looked a lot like this.
4. Support for the NRS is huge
Interest and support for the Subaru National Road Series is as strong as ever, as evidenced by fans flocking the watch the race.
Crowds of people were on hand to cheer the riders off in Werribee, with hundreds lining the race route, KOM and the feed stations, and thousands of excited cycling fans cramming into all vantage points on Raglan Parade to watch the finish.
The live radio broadcast of the thrilling finale was a highlight for spectators, and social media engagement was at an all-time high, reaching over a quarter of a million people, with the #M2W15 hashtag trending before the race started.
5. The Women’s Melbourne to Warrnambool was a huge hit
In the inaugural Women’s Melbourne to Warrnambool, 19 ladies took to the startline to make the 279 kilometre trek.
Each rider had their own objective for the day, and all were well supported either on the road or via social media. First and second placed finishers Lauretta Hanson & Miranda Griffiths stayed with the main bunch for the first 200km, before losing contact at the Camperdown climb. From there, they regrouped and stormed into Warrnambool shortly after the NRS men. In arguably the women’s ride of the day, third place getter Chloe McIntosh recovered from a crash in the first 25km for a well earned podium place.
After such a successful first race, won by Lauretta Hansen of Victoria, we look forward to seeing this event grow year by year and potentially become a fully-fledged women’s NRS event.
Now 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. We will have previews of both races coming to you this week.