Jensen Plowright wins the 2021 Melbourne to Warrnambool

The 20-year-old attacked with roughly 1 km to go and won solo.

by CyclingTips

photography by Con Chronis/AusCycling

Jensen Plowright (BridgeLane) has taken out the 105th edition of Australia’s longest and oldest cycling classic, the Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool.

Plowright took a solo victory after attacking late from a reduced lead group. Ben Hill (BridgeLane) led the chase group home for second, ahead of Liam White (Oliver’s Real Food Racing).

The race settled down into a steady pace after a hot start that saw plenty of attacks on the run out from Avalon Airport towards Colac. Two riders, Sam Hill (Nero Continental) and Raphael Freienstein (Inform TMX MAKE), were off the front for 120 kilometres after already being a part of an initial nine-rider attack.

Hill and Freienstein lost their cooperative spirit at the front of the race and it became apparent that they would be caught by the peloton from behind as all the big teams massed towards the front. Upon catching the pair, there was an uneasy run to the line, with the constant threat of attacks off the front of the peloton seeing small groups go clear before being brought back into the fold. 

Finally a large group managed to surge clear on a hill coming into the outskirts of Warrnambool, with just six kilometres of the 267-kilometre course left to race. Plowright launched his decisive move with just over a kilometre to go and managed to hold off the charging pack behind to take the victory.

At just 20, Plowright is the youngest winner since Will Walker in 2004.

“I am feeling on top of the world at the moment,” said Plowright. “I cannot believe I won that and Ben Hill [was] second. I came into this going good and wanting to win it but there are 200 dudes in the race and it’s 270 kilometres. What are the chances?

“I got a sniff at the end there coming round the corner. Everyone sat up and I had good legs so I just gassed it.”

Plowright is regarded as one of the finest talents on the domestic scene, a road sprinter who has also had success on the track. He’d come into the race thinking victory was possible.

“I thought about it; everybody dreams,” said Plowright. “I did sleep on it last night, and I did want to win it. I know it’s my first time but I’ve always been good at long-distance races and rides. I always thought I’d win this, but to do it first time … one from one, it’s pretty good.”

The enormity of the win wasn’t lost on the young phenom who now joins an honour roll of Australia’s best riders.

“It sunk in when I crossed the line,” said Plowright. “I’ve seen pictures of the past winners, they’re all hitters. How good is this?”

Matilda Raynolds (Specialized Women’s Racing) was triumphant in defending her title in the women’s event, finishing ahead of Justine Barrow (Roxsolt Liv SRAM) and Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni Staminade).

Melbourne to Warrnambool 2021 Results

1.35Jensen PLOWRIGHT (BLN)6h04:44
2.33Benjamin HILL (BLN)+0
3.26Liam WHITE (OLI)+0
4.87Ryan SCHILT (CHR)+0
5.93William HODGES (GRT)+0
6.42Ryan CAVANAGH (STG)+0
7.164Bailey WALTERS (MCP)+0
8.14Lucas PLAPP (ITM)+0
10.62Zack GILMORE (ACA)+0
11.92Henry DIETZE (GRT)+0
12.1Brendan JOHNSTON (CCS)+0
13.86Mathew ROSS (CHR)+0
14.56Cooper SAYERS (NER)+0
15.15Thomas BENTON (ITM)+4
16.17Carter TURNBULL (ITM)+8
17.163Samuel VOLKERS (MCP)+9
18.122Nathan EARLE (PCT)+9
19.127Sam WELSFORD (PCT)+9
20.36Ben VAN DAM (BLN)+9
21.27Sean WHITFIELD (OLI)+13
22.522Nicholas SPRATT (Penrith)+13
23.183Tommy NANKERVIS (SND)+13
24.57Myles STEWART (NER)+13
25.16Blake QUICK (ITM)+13
26.124Brenton JONES (PCT)+13
27.43Sam CROME (STG)+13
28.96Bill SIMPSON (GRT)+13
29.126Matthew SPARNON (PCT)+13
30.61Alistair DONOHOE (ACA)+13
31.179Tynan SHANNON+13
32.51Iven BENNETT (NER)+13
33.516Peter MILOSTIC (Penrith)+13
34.85Steven ROBB (CHR)+13
35.73Tristan SAUNDERS (VDR)+13
36.65Cameron SCOTT (ACA)+13
37.44James HARVEY (STG)+13
38.95Dylan LINDSEY (GRT)+13
39.115Connor LAMBERT (VRM)+13
40.71Curtis DOWDELL (VDR)+13
41.6Reece TUCKNOTT (CCS)+13
42.32Drew MOREY (BLN)+13
43.141Nathan BURRELL (RRC)+13
44.72Will GOLDING (VDR)+13
45.37Juan-Pierre VAN DER MERWE (BLN)+13
46.169Mitchell COUPER+13
47.74Kael THOMAS (VDR)+13
48.155Joseph INGLIS (HCC)+13
49.170Tim CUTLER+13
50.162Bradley SODEN (MCP)+13
51.145Tasman NANKERVIS (RRC)+13
52.55Dylan MCKENNA (NER)+13
53.41Carter BETTLES (STG)+13
54.159Jack AITKEN+13
55.152Michael GALLAGHER (HCC)+13
56.23Riley FLEMING (OLI)+13
57.12Mark O’BRIEN (ITM)+13
58.24Bentley NIQUET-OLDEN (OLI)+13
59.142John DAVIS (RRC)+13
60.25Jordan SCHMIDT (OLI)+13
61.161Kane RICHARDS (MCP)+13
62.54Samuel HILL (NER)+13
63.13Kelland O’BRIEN (ITM)+13
64.501Vaughan BOWMAN (Blackburn)+13
65.82Terance HORE (CHR)+13
66.81Aidan BUTTIGIEG (CHR)+13
67.173Jaxon KING+13
68.45Lionel MAWDITT (STG)+13
69.104Benjamin SPENCELEY (RCT)+13
70.75Jason THOMASON (VDR)+13
71.52Jesse COYLE (NER)+13
72.22Brendon DAVIDS (OLI)+13
73.91Joseph COOPER (GRT)+13
74.94Alexander HOLDEN (GRT)+25
75.101Tom CHESTER (RCT)+32
76.123Leigh HOWARD (PCT)+32
77.174Phillip LUCAS+36
78.121Marcus CULEY (PCT)+36
79.11Raphael FREIENSTEIN (ITM)+45
80.505Benjamin CURETON (Brunswick)+45
81.64Matthew RICE (ACA)+1:05
82.53Jonathan FARLEY (NER)+6:57
83.520Shannon SCOTT (Alpine)+7:00
84.157Giovanni ROSS (HCC)+7:01
85.97Godfrey SLATTERY (GRT)+7:01
86.507Chris HARGREAVES (Melbourne University)+7:01
87.132Lewis BULL (RTL)+10:00
88.116Jordan LOUIS (VRM)+10:00
89.46Jesse NORTON (STG)+10:01
90.513Adrian LITTLE (Carnegie Caulfield)+16:47
91.212Matilda RAYNOLDS (St Kilda)+16:47
92.506Brenden HALLEUR (Carnegie Caulfield)+16:47
93.201Justine BARROW (Cycling Benefits)+16:47
94.154Riley HELMORE (HCC)+16:47
95.403Christophe BAUDRY (Alpine)+16:47
96.180Will THOMAS+16:47
97.418George MCLACHLAN (Mersey Valley Devonport)+16:47
98.102Luke DEASEY (RCT)+16:47
99.125Matthew SHERWIN (PCT)+16:47
100.502Paul COLLINS (Latrobe City)+16:47
101.112Brady GILMORE (VRM)+16:47
102.306Dan JOHNSON (Seymour Broadford)+16:47
103.205Nicole FRAIN (Hobart Wheelers Dirt Devils)+16:47
104.511Adam JONES (Sunbury)+16:47
105.171Alex DURRANT-WHYTE+16:47
106.137Mathew GRAY (RTL)+16:47
107.160Luke ATKINSON+16:51
108.519Pierre SCHERWEY (Carnegie Caulfield)+16:51
109.111Chase COSTELLO-MANNING (VRM)+16:51
110.156Dean MADDEN (HCC)+16:51
111.83Tom LEAPER (CHR)+16:51
112.84Jack MARSHALL (CHR)+16:51
113.63Michael RICE (ACA)+16:51
114.504Lewis CROFTS (Sunbury)+16:55
115.135Rob DOYLE (RTL)+16:55
116.309Richard NAPPER (Hawthorn)+16:57
117.176James MORTIMER+16:58
118.34Samuel JENNER (BLN)+16:58
119.66Oliver STENNING (ACA)+17:33
120.21Kai CHAPMAN (OLI)+17:33
121.158Josh ABBEY+17:33
122.182Adam MCGILLIVRAY (SND)+26:47
123.407Tom GALLAGHER (Carnegie Caulfield)+26:49
124.314Grant STUBBS (Carnegie Caulfield)+26:49
125.411Richard HARRIS (Carnegie Caulfield)+26:49
126.503Alan CRAWFORD (Carnegie Caulfield)+26:49
127.424James PARKINSON (St Kilda)+26:49
128.318Alex WOOLLEY (Carnegie Caulfield)+26:53
129.514Marc LOECHERER (Italo Australian)+26:53
130.430Harrison WICKENTON (Camperdown)+26:55
131.414Christopher JOUSTRA (Latrobe City)+26:56
132.114Hayden JAMES (VRM)+27:00
133.113Brendon GREEN (VRM)+27:00
134.133Thomas CHRISTIE (RTL)+27:06
135.415Andrew KANTOR (Carnegie Caulfield)+37:53
136.421Nathan MURPHY (The Pirates Sporting)+37:53
137.413Ben HODGE (Geelong & Surf Coast Masters)+37:53
138.405Peter CHESTER (Southern Masters)+37:53
139.416Andrew KENNELLY (Hawthorn)+37:53
140.406Jesse CROPLEY (Geelong)+37:53
141.402Phillip BARDSLEY-SMITH (Alpine)+37:53
142.316Gregory WALTERS (St Kilda)+37:53
143.175Oskar MOORE+37:53
144.213Elizabeth STANNARD (Manly Warringah)+37:53
145.167Ryan BEAUMONT+37:53
146.429Adrian WEBER (Mornington)+37:53
147.317Harrison WEISINGER (Southern Masters)+37:53
148.204Alana FORSTER (Sydney Uni Velo)+37:53
149.304Peter GREIG ▴ (Port Fairy)+37:53
150.181Luke RILEY (SND)+37:53
151.312Timothy REDDICK ▴ (Port Fairy)+37:53
152.315Sean TAYLOR ▴ (Warrnambool)+37:53
153.518Stephen RICHARDS (St Kilda)+37:53
154.419Evan MILLER (Footscray)+37:53
155.417Jason LAIRD (Warragul)+37:53
156.302Julian DEL BEATO (University of QLD)+37:53
157.210Hailey MASON (Mildura-Coomealla)+37:53
158.151Alexander EDNEY (HCC)+37:53
159.211Georgia MIANSAROW (Sydney Uni Velo)+37:53
160.401Matt ARTHUR (Footscray)+37:53
161.136Lewis FULCHER (RTL)+37:53
162.177Louis PERRIMAN+37:53
163.184Matthew HOL (SND)+37:53
164.420Ryland MOLLARD (Hawthorn)+38:08
165.67Craig WIGGINS (ACA)+38:14
166.408Shaun GINSBOURG (Hawthorn)+1h15:14
167.428Andrew WALDRON (Footscray)+1h15:14
168.310Dermot NICHOLS (Cobram Barooga)+1h15:14
169.422Steven NEAVE (Mornington)+1h15:16
170.313Anthony SOMERS (Brunswick)+1h15:16
171.305Anthony HABERFIELD ▴ (Warrnambool)+1h15:16
172.209Nicola MACDONALD (Norwood)+1h15:18
173.423Marcus OLIVE (Footscray)+1h15:18
174.427Troy VAN TRIENEN (Geelong)+1h15:25
175.425Mathew SIMMONDS (Colac)+1h16:49
dnf2Nicholas DARLING (CCS)
dnf5Cameron ROBERTS (CCS)
dnf117Byron WOODS (VRM)
dnf131Mason AUSTEN (RTL)
dnf134Adrian D’ALFONSO (RTL)
dnf153James GROGAN (HCC)
dnf168Matt BURCHELL ▴
dnf199Russell MENZIES (Randwick Botany)
dnf202Kirsty DEACON (Carnegie Caulfield)
dnf203Lucie FITYUS (Hunter District)
dnf206Chloe HEFFERNAN (Illawarra)
dnf301Lindsay BURGOYNE (Ballarat Sebastopol)
dnf307Timothy MACAULEY (Geelong)
dnf404Alan BROPHY (St Kilda)
dnf409Patrick GORDON (Italo Australian)
dnf410Craig GUILFOYLE (St Kilda)
dnf412Kobe HENDERSON (Bendigo & District)
dnf508Steven HEDLEY (South Perth)
dnf515Tim MCGRATH (St Kilda)
dnf517Dai OWEN (St Kilda)
dnf521Brodie SIMS (Seymour Broadford)
dns172Sam FOX
dns207Chelsea HOLMES (Norwood)
dns208Lisa JACOB (St Kilda)
dns303Douglas DEVEREUX (Alpine)
dns308Dylan MCINERNEY (Carnegie Caulfield)
dns311Scott PIMLOTT (Mornington)
dns426Bruce TREW (Mornington)
dns509Ben HILLEARD (Mornington)
dns512Shannon LAFFEY (Carnegie Caulfield)
  • Average speed of the winner: 43.9 km/h
  • Number of starters: 200
  • Riders abandoning the race: 25

Result: A-GRADE

1.522Nicholas SPRATT (Penrith)6h04:57
2.516Peter MILOSTIC (Penrith)+0
3.501Vaughan BOWMAN (Blackburn)+0
4.505Benjamin CURETON (Brunswick)+32
5.520Shannon SCOTT (Alpine)+6:47
6.507Chris HARGREAVES (Melbourne University)+6:48
7.513Adrian LITTLE (Carnegie Caulfield)+16:34
8.506Brenden HALLEUR (Carnegie Caulfield)+16:34
9.502Paul COLLINS (Latrobe City)+16:34
10.511Adam JONES (Sunbury)+16:34
11.519Pierre SCHERWEY (Carnegie Caulfield)+16:38
12.504Lewis CROFTS (Sunbury)+16:42
13.503Alan CRAWFORD (Carnegie Caulfield)+26:36
14.514Marc LOECHERER (Italo Australian)+26:40
15.518Stephen RICHARDS (St Kilda)+37:40
dnf508Steven HEDLEY (South Perth)
dnf515Tim MCGRATH (St Kilda)
dnf517Dai OWEN (St Kilda)
dnf521Brodie SIMS (Seymour Broadford)
dns509Ben HILLEARD (Mornington)
dns512Shannon LAFFEY (Carnegie Caulfield)
  • Average speed of the winner: 43.9 km/h
  • Number of starters: 19
  • Riders abandoning the race: 4

Result: WOMEN

1.212Matilda RAYNOLDS (St Kilda)6h21:31
2.201Justine BARROW (Cycling Benefits)+0
3.205Nicole FRAIN (Hobart Wheelers Dirt Devils)+0
4.213Elizabeth STANNARD (Manly Warringah)+21:06
5.204Alana FORSTER (Sydney Uni Velo)+21:06
6.210Hailey MASON (Mildura-Coomealla)+21:06
7.211Georgia MIANSAROW (Sydney Uni Velo)+21:06
8.209Nicola MACDONALD (Norwood)+58:31
dnf202Kirsty DEACON (Carnegie Caulfield)
dnf203Lucie FITYUS (Hunter District)
dnf206Chloe HEFFERNAN (Illawarra)
dns207Chelsea HOLMES (Norwood)
dns208Lisa JACOB (St Kilda)
  • Average speed of the winner: 42.0 km/h
  • Number of starters: 11
  • Riders abandoning the race: 3

Result: B-GRADE

1.403Christophe BAUDRY (Alpine)6h21:31
2.418George MCLACHLAN (Mersey Valley Devonport)+0
3.407Tom GALLAGHER (Carnegie Caulfield)+10:02
4.411Richard HARRIS (Carnegie Caulfield)+10:02
5.424James PARKINSON (St Kilda)+10:02
6.430Harrison WICKENTON (Camperdown)+10:08
7.414Christopher JOUSTRA (Latrobe City)+10:09
8.415Andrew KANTOR (Carnegie Caulfield)+21:06
9.421Nathan MURPHY (The Pirates Sporting)+21:06
10.413Ben HODGE (Geelong & Surf Coast Masters)+21:06
11.405Peter CHESTER (Southern Masters)+21:06
12.416Andrew KENNELLY (Hawthorn)+21:06
13.406Jesse CROPLEY (Geelong)+21:06
14.402Phillip BARDSLEY-SMITH (Alpine)+21:06
15.429Adrian WEBER (Mornington)+21:06
16.419Evan MILLER (Footscray)+21:06
17.417Jason LAIRD (Warragul)+21:06
18.401Matt ARTHUR (Footscray)+21:06
19.420Ryland MOLLARD (Hawthorn)+21:21
20.408Shaun GINSBOURG (Hawthorn)+58:27
21.428Andrew WALDRON (Footscray)+58:27
22.422Steven NEAVE (Mornington)+58:29
23.423Marcus OLIVE (Footscray)+58:31
24.427Troy VAN TRIENEN (Geelong)+58:38
25.425Mathew SIMMONDS (Colac)+1h00:02
dnf199Russell MENZIES (Randwick Botany)
dnf404Alan BROPHY (St Kilda)
dnf409Patrick GORDON (Italo Australian)
dnf410Craig GUILFOYLE (St Kilda)
dnf412Kobe HENDERSON (Bendigo & District)
dns426Bruce TREW (Mornington)
  • Average speed of the winner: 42.0 km/h
  • Number of starters: 30
  • Riders abandoning the race: 5

Result: C-GRADE

1.306Dan JOHNSON (Seymour Broadford)6h21:31
2.309Richard NAPPER (Hawthorn)+10
3.314Grant STUBBS (Carnegie Caulfield)+10:02
4.318Alex WOOLLEY (Carnegie Caulfield)+10:06
5.316Gregory WALTERS (St Kilda)+21:06
6.317Harrison WEISINGER (Southern Masters)+21:06
7.304Peter GREIG ▴ (Port Fairy)+21:06
8.312Timothy REDDICK ▴ (Port Fairy)+21:06
9.315Sean TAYLOR ▴ (Warrnambool)+21:06
10.302Julian DEL BEATO (University of QLD)+21:06
11.310Dermot NICHOLS (Cobram Barooga)+58:27
12.313Anthony SOMERS (Brunswick)+58:29
13.305Anthony HABERFIELD ▴ (Warrnambool)+58:29
dnf301Lindsay BURGOYNE (Ballarat Sebastopol)
dnf307Timothy MACAULEY (Geelong)
dns303Douglas DEVEREUX (Alpine)
dns308Dylan MCINERNEY (Carnegie Caulfield)
dns311Scott PIMLOTT (Mornington)
  • Average speed of the winner: 42.0 km/h
  • Number of starters: 15
  • Riders abandoning the race: 2

Editors' Picks