Main man: Jack Bobridge celebrates after the win. Photo: SuppliedThe worst ever performance by Orica-GreenEDGE in the men’s elite road race of n road championships at Buninyong was due to the unexpected but “incredible” ride of winner and former teammate Jack Bobridge, according to their head sports director Matt White.
Bobridge, 26, won the 183.6km by 2 minutes 52 seconds from another former Orica-GreenEDGE rider in West n Cameron Meyer (Dimension Data), and 3m 53s on Victorian Pat Lane (Avanti-Isowhey).
Orica-GreenEDGE only had one of their nine riders finish – Simon Gerrans in sixth from the 15 survivors of the 127 starters that battled scorching 33C temperatures.
Bobridge was in every move but eventually spent more than 90km on his own in front and was clearly underestimated by the fancied bigger teams like Orica-GreenEDGE that came in to the race with Gerrans and NSW’s Caleb Ewan as ace cards to deal.
However, Orica-GreenEDGE left with its poorest result since its inception in 2012 after Gerrans won the title in 2012 and 2014, teammate Luke Durbridge won in 2013 and Ewan placed second last year.
“It was an incredible ride from Jack Bobridge – we’ve never seen a ride like that in national championships history,” said White on Sunday.
“It’s certainly a very unpredictable ride from a very unpredictable man.
“We were there riding for the win – whether we finished with a medal or not, we came here to win and it wasn’t possible with the way that Jack rode.”
While Orica-GreenEDGE did put five riders at the front of the peloton late in the race, with Bobridge having a nine minute lead the response was too late.
“We were the ones who took responsibility for the race, to try to bring him back, but to no avail,” White said. “He was just too strong.”
Orica-GreenEDGE had two riders in the initial 21 rider break that included Bobridge who the set off with Bernie Sulzberger (Drapac) set off on a two-man breakaway.
When Bobridge dropped Sulzberger, White expected that the South n would not stay away.
“I actually thought when Jack went … when he left Bernie Sulzberger [on lap 10 of 18], well that’s great because it’s too far to go on your own,” White said.
“I thought he was setting himself up for a shorter day in the office than what eventuated. He was just too strong.
“We tried to bring [back … we got very little help from the other teams.”
White also questioned the tactics of BMC for which Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis who did not finish.
“A couple of teams did some pretty interesting rides,” White said.
“The BMC guys were doing intervals on the climb today to try to disturb the pace of the peloton. What it did was implode the race.
“Richie was doing some five-minute efforts up the climb today and you saw after a couple of times, there was no-one left.
“Then we had to take responsibility from there. We weren’t just good enough to bring Jack back from nine minutes.”
However, White played down the significance of Orica-GreenEDGE’s poor result, saying: “It’s the first of 228 race days for the team.
“So it’s disappointing we didn’t win the national title, but it’s one day of a very long season and we just look ahead now to Tour Down Under.”