• Nathan Elliot (Korda Mentha Australia) leads out Laurens De Vrees (Astana) and team mate Carter Turnbull during the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (Getty)Source: Getty
One of Australia’s most decorated locally-based cyclists joined forces with one of the greenest talents on the scene in the early breakaway at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Sunday.
Jamie Finch-Penninger

Cycling Central
28 Jan 2019 - 10:09 AM  UPDATED 28 Jan 2019 - 10:26 AM

Nathan Elliott, is an exponent of the Australian classics, winning the last two editions of the Melbourne to Warrnambool and the 2018 Grafton to Inverell.

This weekend, the only Australian WorldTour level one-day event was on the agenda for Elliott. And he made his impact, shaping the early stages of the race and taking out the sprint classification after a gentleman’s agreement with Astana’s Laurens De Vreese saw the Belgian given free run at the KOM jersey while Elliott took the early sprints.

WATCH: Turnbull and Elliot in the break of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

“It’s always good, being the Aussie team to get in the break,” said Elliott, “to get the colours out there. I opened the racebook and saw the sprint jersey in the Mapei colours and thought ‘why not’.”

“I heard my name a few times and plenty of ‘go Aussie’ out there.”

Accompanying the seasoned Elliott in the move was 18-year-old Carter Turnbull, who came into the race as the youngest rider. The two-rider move from the national team was also split along domestic squad lines, with Elliott joining Inform TM Insight MAKE at the start of 2019.

Turnbull was a member of the team that helped German Raphael Freienstein to the National Road Series overall win last year, showing himself to be one of the brightest young talents in Australia in the process. His call-up to the national team was no surprise, if quite early for a rider in his first year officially out of the junior ranks.

“Obviously, I’m on the same team as him,” said Elliott. “It was pretty special to have him in the break, he’s only 18. For him to have to be racing in a race like this is a great experience and he did some ripper turns for me coming into the circuits. I can’t thank him enough.”

Turnbull and Elliott shared a room for the race, with the experienced Elliott viewing himself as a mentor for the next generation as part of his role within the team.

“The average age, including me and Raph (within Inform TM Insight MAKE) - we’re both 27 or 28 - is 19. We’re kind of like the dads to the team, so it’s pretty cool, guiding them along.”

For Turnbull, it wasn’t just a day of navigating or learning the ropes around the WorldTour peloton, but highlighted the efforts required of the youngster in races to come. Which Turnbull ably demonstrated through his work to help out the pair of Elliott and De Vreese in keeping their advantage into the circuits around Geelong.

He was essentially riding against experienced WorldTour professional Sam Bewley in the early stages of the race, with the Mitchelton-Scott rider tapping out a solid pace on the front of the peloton, before dropping off on the approach to the famous climb of Challambra Crescent, with Turnbull doing the same thing up at the front of the race for his teammate.

“It was pretty solid out there,” said Turnbull. “I was trying to get Nathan Elliott to the bottom of Challambra with as big a gap as possible and it was job done once we got there.”

“It was quite different to every other race I’ve done, I enjoyed it actually.”

The Oceania Under 19 road race champion enjoys a growing reputation within the sport, tagged as one of the brighter talents of the current domestic crop. His results saw him snag a berth at the World Championships last year as a junior and he was a natural selection for the national team here.

“When I was told I was going to be racing this, I was pretty stoked,” said Turnbull. “Just happy to be out there, let alone out in the break and showing myself. It was a good experience.”

The Jayco Herald Sun Tour looms next for Turnbull, who’ll be surrounded by more of his Inform TM Insight MAKE teammates in the national team next week as the race traverses regional Victoria. Turnbull isn’t making light of the upcoming challenge despite getting a brief taste of what the action is like in the WorldTour.

“If I hadn’t done this race, that would be my hardest,” said Turnbull, “so it’s not going to be a walk in the park.”

The Jayco Herald Sun Tour will be broadcast on SBS with daily highlights available online at Cycling Central and the final stage of the men’s race live on SBS VICELAND Sunday, February 3 from 1.30pm AEDT and streaming via Cycling Central and On Demand.