January 28, 2024

Kiwi Pithie has first WorldTour win

New Zealander Laurence Pithie has timed his sprint perfectly to win the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

The Groupama-FDJ cyclist won the reduced bunch sprint in a photo finish on Sunday at Geelong for his first WorldTour victory.

Pithie had to wait for a couple of minutes at the finish before his win was confirmed.

Eritrean Natnael Tesfazion (Lidl-Trek) was second and German Georg Zimmerman took third, with a group of about 20 riders contesting the end to the pulsating 176.5km race.

Pithie was frustrated after he mistimed his finish on the last stage at the Tour Down Under earlier this month, but it showed he had excellent form for Sunday.

There were no Australians in the top five, after Jayco AlUla rider Luke Plapp was prominent in the last few kilometres.

Plapp was swathed in bandages after crashing out of the Tour Down Under earlier this month with severe road rash.

Conditions were hot, but the winds were much lighter than on Saturday for the women’s race.

A quartet of Australian rising stars – Dylan Proctor-Parker and Josh Cranage from the ARA team, plus Team Bridgelane pair Zac Marriage and Jackson Medway – broke away early.

They stayed clear as a group until about 60km to go, the first of four steep climbs up Challambra Crescent on Geelong’s finishing circuit.

First Proctor-Parker and Cranage dropped back to the peloton and then Marriage and Medway were caught at the top of Challambra on the second-last loop, with 25km left.

Scottish young gun Oscar Onley (Team DSM), who won the iconic Willunga stage at the Tour Down Under, crashed out of the race at 70km.

Read Surf Coast Times story here.

Image: Kiwi Laurence Pithie (c) is first to the line in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Geelong. (Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS)


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