|A worker turned winner, Alex Edmondson has surprised a world-class field at the Australian Championships to claim the coveted green and gold jersey for the season ahead in Europe withMitchelton-SCOTT.
Edmondson, who began the day to fill a team role, found himself in a winning position when he followed a move with just over three laps remaining.
A subdued start:
A calm peloton rolled around the first couple of laps before the main breakaway of the day formed without any argument from the bunch. Five riders, including Rob Power for Mitchelton-SCOTT, were joined by four chasers to form a nine-rider main move. The peloton relaxed and the difference between the two group last quickly extended to seven minutes.
BMC first to react:
With Power in the front group, Mitchelton-SCOTT could back their man as the strongest climber and the pressure was off the rest of the team in the peloton. BMC were the first to react, sending Simon Gerrans and Miles Scotson to the front to put the pressure up the climbs.
A counter attack that counted:
With a little over three laps remaining and the majority of the early breakaway caught, Chris Harper (Bennelong) launch a counter attack which was quickly covered by Edmondson. The pair joined a tired Will Clarke (Education First) and Troy Herfoss who remained from the early breakaway but soon lost touch.
A battle between best mates:
Harper and Edmondson were well acquainted as they found themselves at the front of the race in the final laps – the pair best mates and training partners from Adelaide. Edmondson was the first to put in a big attack on the penultimate climb but Harper was able to respond and the pair worked together for the lap to follow.
Hanging on by a thread:
The attacks from a reduced but chasing peloton came on the last lap, led by Porte. The efforts had them within 20seconds in the last five kilometres as Harper did everything to stay in front. Launching in the final 100metres, just before the bunch caught them, Edmondson just hung on to throw his arms in the air for the victory.
Former Australian Luke Durbridge fell on the penultimate lap, suffering a minor concussion and a broken right collarbone that will see him miss the remainder of the Australian season.
Alex Edmondson – Winner:
“I’m absolutely speechless. This means a hell of a lot to me, I just want to thank the team for all their work, my family and my coach. It’s a magical day that I’m not going to forget for a long time.”
“I came here just to do what I could for the guys and to come away with the green and gold is a dream come true. I think every cyclist grows up wanting to wear the green and gold and this isn’t going to sink in for a while.”
“You’re trying to make sure you’re doing the right thing for the team, everyone wants to win but you really just want your teammates to win. Today everything just seemed to go my way.”
“I knew I felt good in the middle of the race, I asked Mat Haymanwhat I could do, and he just said follow what you can and when Chris Harper went I knew he was in good shape and I knew I needed to get on his wheel.
“Chris Harper is one of my best mates, he lives 500m down the road and every day we ride together, every day he is the one pushing me along and vice versa – most of the time it’s him. It made it a lot harder because we are such good friends off the bike – you want to do the best for your mate, but you also have to look after your teammates. I’m just so thrilled for what he has been able to do, but keep an eye on him, he is going to go a long way.
“This isn’t going to sink in for a while. I’m trying to hold back the tears.”