Team Sunweb’s Nikias Arndt finished in 6th place at Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, as an attack on the final ascent of Challambra climb saw the race shred to pieces.
The 164 kilometre race opened with a five rider breakaway going clear. Extending their lead out to six minutes, the peloton were happy to let them lead the race until reaching the local laps. Upon entering Geelong, Team Sunweb’s Chad Haga took huge turns at the front of the race, bringing the gap down significantly to ensure the race ended with a sprint for defending champion Nikias Arndt.
Teams were determined to force splits in the bunch, and with 15 kilometres to the finish, a group of around 20 riders had distanced the remainder of the peloton. Team Sunweb were well represented in the group, which was ultimately brought back. On the final lap, the remnants of the breakaway were swept up as an attack on the last time up Challambra saw a group of riders go clear. Team Sunweb were involved in the chase, but the race came back together too late for an organised lead out. Nikias Arndt rebounded, sprinting to take a respectable 6th place on the line.
After the race, Nikias said: “We saw really good team work today. We put Chad in front to keep the break under control whilst the other guys stayed together, stayed quiet and watched for late breakaways and attacks. On the last lap the group split. We were all together in the second bunch and we tried to bring it back but in the end it was a little bit too late and we just caught them on the line. Everyone was really committed, we went for it and in the ended finished with 6th place. It was a good team result but I think we hoped for more.”
Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts added: “We tried to set up the finish again for Nikias this year. Unfortunately we missed a small group on the final climb which got a bit of a lead and we couldn’t quite catch them on the line. Nikias still came in 6th which is a good result but just missed that little bit to take the win again.”