November 10: Melbourné – Frankstoné – Melbourné Classique 91km
Complete live report
Live commentary by: Phil Liggett
Welcome to Cyclingnews’ live coverage of the 101st edition of the Melbourné – Frankstoné – Melbourné Classique.
Today’s stage takes over 90km from Melbourné to Frankstoné and then back to Melbourné. There’s only one way to describe the conditions being faced by the riders today: HOT. Well, perhaps few words: hot, with lots of traffic lights and crazy bogan drivers on their way to work. It’s gonna be EPIC!
91km to go. Two O2 riders have broken away from the peloton right after leaving Cafe Racer. Naylor (O2 Racing) and Loaksy (O2 Racing) have managed to slip away right after the neutral zone in St Kilda. The nerves are likely up and the seven lattes between them isn’t helping.
85km to go. The O2 breakaway attempt was never going to be much of a threat at this point in the race and fortunately for Cervelo and HTC-Columbia that traffic lights at Brighton have brought the peloton back together.
80km to go. Henderson and Renshaw are now up front controlling the tempo so no one can sneak away. It’s strungout at the back as car doors are flying open on the left, tradies are trying passing on the right. It’s complete and utter mayhem.
70km to go. The pace has settled in now. There’s a few attacks off the front after traffic lights but nothing is sticking. The stakes are too high this morning. No one is getting away.
61km to go. Cervelo takes to the front as the Mordi roundabout is fast approaching. Everyone knows that if there’s going to be a split in the field this is where it’ll happen. No one wants to get caught chasing back on at this critical point.
60km to go. Jez Hunt (Cervelo) attacks! He hits them hard at the Mordi roundabout as soon as a gap in the traffic opened up! The rest of the peloton is smashed to pieces in one’s and two’s trying to break their way through the chaos at the roundabout. The fans are going nuts! Horns are honking, people screaming and waving their fists in excitement! What a day for a classic such as this!
55km to go. The chase is on! Hunt (Cervelo) is alone and has dodged a red light by a sliver! The rest of the peloton is looking at each other wondering who’s going to take up the chase. Mooksy (O2 Racing) comes from behind, assumes responsibility and drives the pace up to 60km/hr. Hunt (Cervelo) is too dangerous to let slip away at this crucial moment. He’ll ride on walkways, through sandy beach, over cobbled alleyways…whatever it takes to win his first Classic.
40km to go. Tough luck for Jez (Cervelo). Caught through some tough traffic conditions leading up to Frankstoné and red lights galore. In a Classic such as this, you don’t necessarily need good luck to win, but you have to avoid the bad luck…and bad luck is what Jez (Cervelo) is encountering.
38km to go. The turn around at the BP Station is usually sacred territory. Under these blistering conditions no one can afford to miss a feed. There’s a strange lack of swanys and handlers present so riders have to fend for themselves. Renshaw is baffled doesn’t even know what to do! He has no choice but to carry on without a feed.
35km to go. Another attack off the lights! This time is Gerro (Cervelo)! There’s a bit of a headwind – will he be able to hold it!?
30km to go. Gerro (Cervelo) fades as Henderson (Columbia-HTC) and Renshaw (Columbia-HTC) work together bring him back.
19km to go. Hunt (Cervelo) leads the charge as the peloton enters the Mordi roundabout. It’s a hard left and the pack is fighting to stay together as it’s strung out for what seems like miles. It’s Cervelo and O2 Racing on the front driving the pace hard not letting anyone slip away.
12km to go. KOM up Ricketts Point is fast approaching and it’s Henderson (HTC-Columbia) and Renshaw (HTC-Columbia) who unleash a blistering attack! Loaksy (O2 Racing) and Gerro (Cervelo) jump on the back and barely say on!
11km to go. Henderson (HTC-Columbia) leading out Renshaw (HTC-Columbia) and drops him off at the start of the Ricketts Point KOM. Renshaw (HTC-Columbia) is flying! Gerro (Cervelo) and Loaksy (O2 Racing) can’t hold his wheel!
9km to go. Renshaw has done it! He has smashed Anna Meares’ record up Ricketts Point posting a time of 52 seconds! He’s done it! What legend!
8km to go. Renshaw is out of site! I don’t think the DS has told him where the finish line is! He is on a mission ladies and gentleman. No one in the peloton is responding to this blistering acceleration and it’s Renshaw’s race for the taking. Enough with being the lead-out man for Cavendish. This one is his! Can he hold it to Cafe Racer?
6km to go. Traffic light at Brighton – “Stopping!” A disappointed Renshaw is reeled back in and relegated to the back of the peloton.
3km to go. Traffic light at Elwood – “Stopping!”
3km to go. Gerro (Cervelo) hits them hard off the green! He has dropped a bomb on the field ladies and gentleman! The peloton has split and the elastic has snapped! It’s just up to Gerro (Cervelo) now to hold them off to the BP sprint. He’s out there alone and all he can do is suffer.
1km to go. The peloton is chasing hard and the HTC-Columbia train has taken complete control to bring back the Cervelo man in white. The pace has lifted to 65km/hr and it’s going to be a close one.
500m to go. Gerro (Cervelo) still has a 50m gap and is digging deep into that suitcase of courage! The peloton is driving hard…will he hold it!??
100m to go and Gerro has been swallowed up and spit out the back with Columbia and HTC flying straight past!
FINISH: What the…?? It’s Mooksy (O2 Racing) to crosses the line first! What an astonishing surprise victory! Columbia-HTC does all the work and Mooksy (O2 Racing) sneaks aboard the yellow train and comes up with a sensational first season win for the O2 Racing squad! He pulled a sickie from work today but as we can all see it was well worth it.
As for the preliminary stage results, it was as follows:
1. Mooksy (O2 Racing)
2. Renshaw (HTC-Columbia)
3. Henderson (HTC-Columbia)
4. Loaksy (O2 Racing)
5. Naylor (O2 Racing)
6. Gerro (Cervelo)
7. CT (O2 Racing)
Thanks for joining Cyclingnews on the Melbourné – Frankstoné – Melbourné Classique. Join us on Saturday as we present live coverage of the 1,303rd edition of the Hell Ridé. See you then!