Rio Olympic silver medallist Michael Hepburn has given ORICA-SCOTT a double on day two of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic, backing up Amanda Spratt’s win with a solo victory of this own in the men’s race.
Hepburn looked ominous at the head of the peloton in the opening 15 minutes of racing but it was teammate Caleb Ewan, having bounced back from yesterday’s crash, who made the main move of the day alongside Robbie Hucker (VTWO Team).
With 15minutes left to ride and no support up front from Hucker, ORICA-SCOTT made the call to bring the race back together in pursuit of victory.
Former Australian champion Luke Durbridge softened the peloton up with attacks but it was Hepburn who went over the top of his efforts to force the winning move of four riders with three laps remaining.
As he crossed the finish line to receive two laps to go, Hepburn surprised his breakaway counterparts and went on solo to take the win.
“The plan today was quite open,” Hepburn said. “The opportunity was there for a few guys to go up the road and be aggressive and I’m thankful that I had the form and legs to go on with it.
“I was away with (Ian) Bibby and (Jesse) Kerrison, so the leader’s jersey and Jesse, who is a pretty fast finisher, so I wanted to go to the line by myself.
“I threw a couple of attacks in and couldn’t get rid of them but then I decided to attack through the start/finish line, which you don’t normally do here, but just tried to catch them off guard and I was lucky I got a gap and could go on with it.”
The victory was the first for the men’s team in 2017, but Hepburn said the team didn’t have a point to prove from yesterday and that the focus was still on the races to come.
“Crashes are just something that happen,” Hepburn explained. “We can’t fault anyone from yesterday, we put ourselves in the situation to get a result in the end and one small moment like that can cost you the race.
“We’re here to get some hard racing in and to prepare for the nationals coming up. Every race we do here is another stepping stone to that.”
1 Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica Scott 1.00.23
2 Ian Bibby (GBr) JLT Condor +0.06
3 Mathew Gibson (GBr) Condor
4 Brenton Jones (Aus) JLT Condor +0.08
5 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica Scott
6 Samuel Spokes (Aus) Total Rush
7 Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Isowhey Sports Swisswellness
8 Benjamin Hill (Aus) GTR +0.09
9 Cameron Bayly (Aus) Isowhey Sports Swisswellness
10 Nathan Haas (Aus) Vtwo Team
Standings after day 2
1 Ian Bibby (GBr) JLT Condor 22 pts
2 Mathew Gibson (GBr) Condor 16
3 Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica Scott 12
4 Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Isowhey Sports Swisswellness) 10
5 Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Isowhey Sports Swisswellness 10
6 Samuel Spokes (Aus) Total Rush 9
7 Cameron Bayly (Aus) Isowhey Sports Swisswellness 9
8 Brenton Jones (Aus) JLT Condor 7
9 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica Scott 6
10 Patrick Lane (Aus) Vtwo Team 5
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