• Australian road national champion 2016, Jack Bobridge (Kathryn Watt)
Jack Bobridge put on a masterclass of solo racing to win the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships for the second time in his career.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Cycling Central
10 Jan 2016 - 5:23 PM  UPDATED 10 Jan 2016 - 7:30 PM

He finished two minutes and 52 seconds ahead of West Australia's Cameron Meyer (Dimension Data) and Victorian Pat Lane (Avanti IsoWhey) who rolled through for second and third after a late desperate chase.

Pre-race all eyes were on the might and numbers of Orica-GreenEDGE but at the end of the day it was Bobridge, riding without team support, who stood tall with an effort to be remembered.

"That was my greatest ever ride," Bobridge said. "I don’t think it’s sunk in yet really but to be honest I think 80km solo is next level I guess.

"In saying that this is the kind of course that when you do have that nine minute advantage those guys are still climbing and you’re descending."

The Trek-Segafredo rider who hails from South Australia dominated the majority of the 183.6km race at Buninyong, near Ballarat, after dropping early breakaway companion Bernie Sulzberger (Drapac).

His effort started early when he was a part of a 21-rider break that formed on the first of the 18 laps on offer for the day.

As the break ground on it became apparent that the move would end up as decisive as the time gap grew and its numbers thinned out.

Bobridge was undaunted by the almost 90km of riding in front of him and a chasing pack which included the likes of Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) and BMC pair Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis giving chase.

Orica-GreenEDGE did mass their numbers at the front of the chase in an effort to bring Bobridge back but the damage had already been done, and the opportunity missed.

While the 2011 champion was on a day to remember, his rivals appeared undecided about giving chase to the renowned soloist in the brutal conditions which saw only 15 of the 127 starters finish.

The end result was that Bobridge held too many minutes in hand with the kilometres ticking away slowly under the rest of the field and the victory was inevitable with over 50km left to race.

“Obviously Rohan was in fantastic condition after what he did to us the other day," Bobridge said. "I was actually going to follow either Gerrans or Caleb (Ewan) today. In the back of my mind I thought Richie or Rohan would probably be too strong for me to try and go with them at the finish.

“When I saw that big group go at the start, 20 guys that had a lot of teams represented, I put myself there and I guess I got away with Bernie and he was 'umming and ahhing' whether to stay there or not.

"At that point in time if I was to go back I’ve spent too much energy already so I’m not going to win the bike race anyway."