Race report

Liane Lippert wins Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race with tremendous late attack

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race - Elite Women's Race

The Women’s WorldTour began today at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race with a challenging 121 kilometre route in Geelong and the surrounding area awaiting the riders. Alongside the testing parcours, the weather added an extra challenge to the race, as the peloton had to contend with strong winds and rain throughout the afternoon.

Not long after the flag drop an early breakaway duo escaped and it looked as if they would form the move of the day, but upon arriving at the first sprint point things were all back together. A new group of five forged on at the head of the race to be more successful, slowly building up their lead over the bunch. As the rain continued to pour and with a lack of cooperation in the peloton, the breakaway held an advantage of over four minutes with just 40 kilometres to go.

The bunch soon responded and the team came to the front to help set the pace and slowly reel in the breakaway. The gap fell at a steady rate and as the bunch hit the slopes of the Challambra climb with roughly ten kilometres to go, the race was back together.

The team set a solid pace on the climb with riders dropping off the back, but in a cagey affair no attacks were made. Those dropped made it back onto the group on the descent, including some dangerous sprinters. On the final small but sharp rise with around five kilometres to go, Liane Lippert put in a stinging attack, managing to get clear of the now diminished peloton.

Not looking back, she dug deep and continued to push on the pedals all the way to the line, holding on to take a memorable victory. Behind, Leah Kirchmann sprinted to fifth place, rounding off what was a great day of racing for the team.

“The team did such a good job from the beginning and they protected me through the whole day,” beamed Lippert at the finish. “We’re used to the tough conditions so it was good for us and we made the race hard in the wind. I felt really good so I attacked on the final uphill part after the bridge and I never looked back. It’s amazing, I can’t believe I’ve won my first WorldTour race. The team played a really important role in the finale; without them I couldn’t have won today.” 

Team Sunweb coach Nicolas Marche added: “We showed during the Tour Down Under how strong we are so we were confident of a good result today and believed we could win. We started with a really clear plan and everyone knew exactly what to do. The team rode really well all day and the race was exactly like we had talked about in the morning. Liane put in a really strong attack in the finale and could stay away until the line; it’s a fantastic day for us. It’s a great result for the whole team, everyone worked really hard, and it’s a nice way to finish our time racing in Australia.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 LIPPERT Liane Team Sunweb 3:17:46 400
2 SIERRA Arlenis Astana Womens Team 0:15 320
3 SPRATT Amanda Mitchelton-Scott ,, 260