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Australian Open Road Championships - NE
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, January 7-11, 2009
Stage 4 - January 10: Men's Under 23 Road Race, 122.4 km
Bobridge repeats in race with two silver medals
South Australia's Jack Bobridge collected his second gold medal of the week by adding a road race victory today to his time trial win at the Australian Open Road Championships in Buninyong. Bobridge (Team AIS) sprinted clear of his three breakaway companions to claim the win in a time of 3:12:48. Bobridge's teammate and time trial bronze medallist, Michael Matthews, and Victoria's Mark O'Brien (Drapac-Porsche) tied in a dead heat for second place while Tasmanian Nathan Earle (Praties) was fourth. Bobridge's win came in dramatic fashion after he recovered from a fall midway through the 122.4km U23 men's road race (12 laps).
"I have been waiting for this," said Bobridge. "To come out and get two on the road shows that I've still got the ability to ride the road as well as the track."
For Bobridge the win caps off a phenomenal six months that saw him debut at the Olympic Games in his first year out of the junior ranks. In Beijing he was a member of the pursuit team that finished fourth. In November he lined up for the Oceania Track Championships for a win in the individual pursuit. At the Track World Cup in Melbourne later the same month he claimed gold medals in both the individual and team pursuit event and has now added a road double to his already impressive resume.
Almost 100 riders begun the race in warm conditions and despite an early break away of six riders, the race favourites remained in the peloton for the majority of the race.
At the halfway mark, a solo chase by Matthews saw him catch the lead group. But they were absorbed by the main peloton shortly after. A clash of wheels at the feed station on the eighth lap left nineteen-year-old Bobridge on the ground but he kept his cool and rejoined the race.
"It was a bit of my fault and as well as maybe some others – it was a bit of a rush to get a bottle and I clipped a back wheel and had a bit of a spill," said Bobridge. "Luckily it wasn't too bad and I had to chase for a bit, but I managed to get on and recover and I think the adrenalin kicked in after that."
With three laps to go, Matthews attacked at the front and was joined by Bobridge, O'Brien and Earle and the quartet powered ahead to cement their lead on numerous groups of chasing riders.
Although just missing the win on the line, Matthews, 18, who was the 2008 Australian Junior Male Road Cyclist of the Year, was happy to claim his second medal in his debut season in the under 23 category.
"It was not was I was expecting, but I was hoping for that and I still can't believe it," said Matthews. "I didn't feel very good at the start, but after I attacked and rode across to the break I felt I got better from there.
"[Next year] I will hopefully do what Bobridge has done this year and get two gold medals." After finishing with bronze in the same event last year, O'Brien gained some consolation from his shared silver medal.
"I am really happy with this as I have trained probably the hardest I have [ever trained] for an event. [I am a bit] disappointed not to get the actual win," said the 21-year-old O'Brien. "But at the end of the day, I just couldn't get rid of them up the climb. I gave it my all but Jack had too much and it wasn't good enough, so I have to be happy with second."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net
1 Jack Bobridge 3.12.48 (38.09 km/h) 2 Michael Matthews* 2 Mark O'Brien* 4 Nathan Earle 5 Daniel Braunsteins 0.18 6 Lachlan Norris 7 Benjamin King 1.19 8 John Anderson 9 Nathan Haas 1.43 10 Zakkari Dempster 1.45 11 Johnnie Walker 12 Ben Grenda 13 Kane Walker 14 Joseph Lewis 15 Chris Jory 16 Fabio Calabria 17 Michael Fitzgerald 18 Brett Anderson 19 Luke Cridland 20 William Ford 21 Travis Meyer 22 Ben Dyball 23 Adam Semple 24 Timothy Roe 25 Tim Guy 26 Ben Grieve-Johnson 27 Stuart Grimsey 2.29 28 Luke Hardy 3.24 29 Nicholas Walker 30 Nick Aitken 31 Reuben Donati 8.04 32 Geoff Straub 33 Peter Smith 34 Neil Van Der Ploeg 35 Matthew Werrell 36 Suki Stone 12.03 37 Clay Allison 38 Rhys Gillett 39 James Hepburn 39 Steele Von Hoff 41 Silas Fisher 42 Matthew Williams 43 Sean Boyle 44 Brodie Talbot 45 Benjamin Fleming 46 Malcolm Rudolph 47 Tarquin Wallace 48 Andrew Roe 15.03 49 Bradley Clark 17.59 * Dead heat for second place