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Cycling | 28 januari 2018

Team LottoNL-Jumbo spice up Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

Enrico Battaglin has finished ninth in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The 28-year-old Italian sprinted past a handful of escapees in the final metres. He also passed Robert Gesink and George Bennett, who were very active during the escape in the last local lap. Gesink eventually became 11th, Bennett 28th.

Soon after the start, a breakaway took an advantage of a few minutes. It was only during the last local lap in Geelong that the race became hectic. In the end, the peloton diminished considerably, partly because Tom Leezer kept the pace extremely high during the last ascent of the Challambra Crescent. Subsequently, Gesink and Bennett were in the leading group for Team LottoNL-Jumbo.

Jay McCarthy was in that leading group too and he eventually won the race, but the pursuers came close. Enrico Battaglin was among them. The Italian had to come from far, but with the ninth place he launched himself into the top ten, two places before Gesink.

The latter looked back on the race with mixed feelings. "We rode a strong race and took control. The result unfortunately does not reflect that", he said afterwards. "George and I were with the favourites during the last climb and we wanted to sprint for the win. Just before the finish, a group joined and my sprint did not come together. I didn’t like that.”

What Gesink obviously does like, is that he is back in the peloton. "It was nice to race again. Now I am going to prepare for Paris - Nice and the Tour of Catalonia. But first I will have to recover from the Australian heat", the 31-year-old Dutchman said.