Elia Viviani wins Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

Elia Viviani bettered his runner-up spot from twelve months ago and won the fifth edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – the season’s second World Tour appointment and Elia’s  70th pro victory of his career – Luke Rowe sixth

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Elia Viviani wins Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

The Italian Champion leaves Australia after scoring the 70th pro victory of his career

Photo credit: © Tim De Waele / Getty Images

Elia Viviani bettered his runner-up spot from twelve months ago and won the fifth edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – the season’s second World Tour appointment – thus capping off a tremendous effort of his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates, who kept everything together in the last kilometers with the likes of Dries Devenyns and James Knox, before Michael Mørkøv took the front and delivered the Italian Champion in a perfect position.

With the finish line in sight on the Geelong waterfront, Viviani hit a top speed of 75.2km/h in the 16-second sprint, which saw him edge out Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) for his second win of the year, after the one he notched up last week on the opening day of the Tour Down Under.

“There were two second places of last year that I wanted to improve in 2019, and this was one of them. We were really committed today, had a plan and followed it accordingly. I knew that some were interested in dropping me and pushed a hard tempo on the climbs, but we played it smart and each time came back thanks to the best team in the world, who worked tirelessly and gave me a perfect lead-out”, said Viviani after taking his 20th victory in the Deceuninck – Quick-Step jersey.

The main difficulty of the 163.3km-long race was the Challambra climb (900 meters, 10%), where several teams upped the pace on the final two laps and brought back the three-man breakaway before sending their riders on the attack, hoping the sprinters will be dispatched. But Deceuninck – Quick-Step rode a textbook perfect race, countering all these moves before the bunch finish, where our team left nothing to chance and Elia sealed another impressive win.
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“I like this race a lot, I like the course because it gives a chance to every type of riders, so I was really keen on winning here. We were in four riders going into the final kilometers, which was very important. Also, having Michael by my side under the red kite gave me a lot of confidence, as he was crucial today. As I said, I wanted to rectify last year’s runner-up place and having achieved that gives me a lot of joy”, explained Elia after the 70th pro win of his career.

Caleb Ewan: “It was very hectic every time we approached the climb as the fight for positions was fierce. But the boys did a great job today. The last two laps were really hard but when I got over the second last climb, I realised that I had a good chance of sprinting for the victory because a lot of sprinters had some teammates left to bring back possible attacks.”

“It was pretty close in the end. I was in a good position leading up to the sprint. I have to thank my teammates for getting me there at the end. I got boxed in a little by Impey and by the time I could get around him, I realised, against a fast guy like Viviani, that it would be hard to still get the win. If I could have started earlier, I maybe could have won. I will now have a little break and then prepare for the UAE Tour.”

Daryl Impey – Third place: “We tried to make it as hard as we could, it looked like we were the only team really trying to make a smaller group there at the final, but look, I’m happy to finish third out of the guys that were there in the final. Obviously I would have liked to have won, but against Viviani and Caleb, they are really good sprinters, to get third was a good result.

“I think the head wind (up Challambra) really nullifed all of the attacks. It was easier to be on the wheel, and having a guy like Viviani last year make the final, makes sprinters the next year think they can. If there were a lot more attacks we would have seen a better, more select group there at the finish. That being said, we had a good ride, the boys commited from the start, we weren’t the red hot favourites to win today but we went for it and we had a good performance.”

Ryan Gibbons (4th): “The team did a great job to support me today, and during this entire Australian campaign in fact, so I’m just sorry I didn’t get more out of this finish for them. Maybe this 4th place result needs time to sink in and I will enjoy it a bit more later this evening, but I’m in this game to win races. There were a few things in the sprint that could’ve gone much smoother for myself. I guess that’s the good thing, if everything went smoothly and I was only 4th, well then so be it. But being around the podium placings and still knowing there is room for improvement, well it motivates me even more to get that big win now.”

1. Elia Viviani
2. Caleb Ewan
3. Daryl Impey
4. Ryan Gibbons
5. Jens Debusschere
6. Luke Rowe

9. Owain Doull
63. James Knox
79. Alex Dowsett
85. Adam Blythe
93. Ryan Mullen

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