• L'Etape Australia (Kath Bicknell)Source: Kath Bicknell
The second edition of the Snowy Mountains-based gran fondo went ahead on a curtailed course in wet conditions, with Jesse Coyle and Gina Ricardo taking the honours.
Kevin Eddy

3 Dec 2017 - 6:15 AM  UPDATED 3 Dec 2017 - 8:55 AM

More than 3,500 riders completed the wet and windy second edition of L’Etape Australia on 2 December on a curtailed course. 

The event went ahead despite forecasts that warned of the worst storms for years in the region, albeit with the last-minute removal of the final climb to Perisher ski resort and a 24km backcountry section between Jindabyne and Berridale that shortened the event to 104km. 

In the end, the worst of the weather held off, allowing riders to complete the event without serious incident. 

Mobius Future Racing’s Jesse Coyle (riding for 21E28E in this event) took the overall honours in the men’s classification as the first rider across the line, the fastest rider (2hr 46min) and the winner of the Col de Beloka KOM (11min 25sec). Coyle broke away from the leading bunch on the steep 3km climb and soloed to the end, finishing two minutes ahead of a bunch led by teammates Aaron Bicknell, Luke Brame and Daniel Forsythe.

Gina Ricardo was the first woman across the line, finishing in just under three hours. However, Ricardo was pipped to the fastest female by Amanda Spratt (Orica-Scott), who finished in 2hr 52min. Spratt was also the fastest woman up the Col de Beloka.

Even so, the star of the show was Tour de France champion Chris Froome. Fresh off his announcement that he will target a Giro-Tour double in 2018, Froome showed he meant business by climbing the Col de Beloka in 11min 32ses, claiming second behind Coyle, and completing the course in 2hr 58min. He still found time to meet and greet the other riders and volunteers too.

There was just as much action behind the pointy end of the race, with many riders finishing damp but relieved that conditions hadn’t been as wild as predicted. Many riders commented on the high quality of riding despite (or perhaps because of) the wet conditions, especially on the tricky opening descent from Bullocks Flat.

Images of the day

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