A battered and bruised Patrick Bevin showed resilience and determination on the final stage of the Santos Tour Down Under to push through injuries sustained in a crash on stage five to finish the race and win the sprint classification.
X-rays and CT scans on Saturday evening confirmed that Bevin did not sustain any fractures or internal injuries, but a bruised hip and ribs, and multiple contusions were always going to make for a tough day of racing. Bevin, who won stage two and held the race lead since then, was determined to start stage six and after being cleared by CCC Team’s medical team this morning, took to the start line of the Willunga Hill stage with a seven-second advantage over Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT).
Surrounded by his teammates on the three laps of flat terrain, Bevin was able to sit in the peloton out of trouble but as soon as the pace was lifted on the first ascent of Willunga Hill, he was unable to maintain contact. Bevin didn’t give up and with the help of Joey Rosskopf and Łukasz Owsian, he pushed through the pain and powered on up the final ascent where huge cheers greeted the New Zealander as he crossed the line. With a stage win, second place, fifth place, and multiple points picked up in intermediate sprints, Bevin started the day with enough points to win the sprint classification and secured that win by finishing stage six.
Although Bevin was unable to keep the ochre jersey, the New Zealand time trial champion’s dominance from stage one, stage win, aggressive style of racing, and courageous battle today signalled his intentions for the season, with two wins to his name already. Bevin’s win on stage two was not only the first UCI WorldTour win of his career, but the first UCI WorldTour win for CCC Team in 2019. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) took the Willunga Hill stage honors while Impey held on to claim the ochre jersey for the second consecutive year.
Quotes from the Finish LinePatrick Bevin:
“I take the Ziptrack sprint jersey away from the race as a nice result for the week’s work. Obviously, it’s tough to touch down yesterday and watch my work evaporate on the GC but that’s bike racing. There are no guarantees. We take a lot of positives out of the race and look forward to the next one. I think someone must have told the crowd that I was Australian today as I had so many fans around the course. I had a lot of support. I had a great time here, an absolute blast coming here and racing from kilometer zero and I plan on sticking to that all year. I’m going to go out and scrap for everything all year. This race really only sets a precedent for what’s ahead.” “I’m a bit beat up, a bit sore. Crashes are a part of racing and it’s such a shame to do all that and have it come tumbling down. But, there will be another race and if nothing else, I’ll be back at the Tour Down Under next year ready to roll my sleeves up and box on again.
I was very sore to start with and then I didn’t feel too bad once we got rolling. Honestly, I was entertaining the though of getting around. I had nothing to lose and I was going to go out and just hang on. But, we started fighting on the run up to the climb and I was in the red there, I was in trouble. I tried to regain my composure as we hit the climb and push on, but I couldn’t do it. It’s a pretty awful feeling to watch the race ride up the road. Until a lap to go, I kind of still thought I could win the race. I’ll be back here again going for the time bonuses and putting it to the little guys and we’ll see how it plays out next time.”
Jackson Stewart, Sports Director:
“I can’t say enough about the way Paddy and the team raced this week. It really is a credit to them and had it not been for the crash yesterday, I think we would have been seeing Paddy up there on the podium. He was flying all week and really showed his dominance here. There are not many riders who would push through the pain and injuries like he did today so you have to hand it to him. There is nothing more we could have done.” “The team has been phenomenal all week.
The experience of Víctor de la Parte, Joey Rosskopf, and Fran Ventoso was invaluable. We also saw amazing performance from Jakub Mareczko, Łukasz Owsian, and Szymon Sajnok who have stepped up to the WorldTour. This is the first time they have ever defended a leader’s jersey in the WorldTour and they showed enormous potential. Although we were so close to winning the race, we can leave Adelaide very happy with a stage win, four days in the ochre jersey, top five results on four stages, and the sprint classification. It has been a great start to the season for CCC Team”