Men on a misson at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

Natnael Tesfazion sprinted to second place in Geelong after Lidl-Trek lit the race up on the Challambra Crescent circuit.

Lidl-Trek started the day with a clear plan to race aggressively on the four laps of the finishing circuit that, alongside the scenic coastal views, define the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

The Team was ready to show their cards early setting a strong tempo at the front of the peloton on the second lap before a series of strong moves off the front of the ever reducing bunch over the remaining two circuits.

A late attack from Quinn Simmons after the final ascent of the short but Challambra Crescent climb, which at only 810 meters long has an average gradient of 9.8 percent and pitches of 22 percent in places, had potential to go all the way to the line.

The American national champion looked strong as he went away solo while behind the group, that also included Tesfazion and Bauke Mollema, struggled to get organized.

It was only in the closing couple of kilometers that the other teams behind started a determined chase, agonisingly catching Simmons inside the final 500 meters.

Lidl-Trek wasn’t done piling on the pressure just yet with Mollema making a fresh move to force the others to go early.

Tesfazion, who had been sat patiently in the group, launched his sprint with around 200 meters to go with only Laurence Pithie (Groupama – FDJ) able to come around the 24-year-old on the line.

So close was the finish that the Eritrean had to wait for the photo finish to find out what spot on the podium he would stand on.



Race reaction

Natnael Tesfazion

I don't think it's a secret that we were disappointed with the results from Santos Tour Down Under. We had some good performances but we lacked something at the end of the week so, to get this result here is super nice. We had a plan coming into the race. We wanted to make the race hard on the circuits and my job was to be there for a small group sprint. Thanks to how we raced as a team, we were able to execute our plan almost to perfection. Sometimes it's difficult when you finish second by such a small margin but I am happy with this result and this performance both for myself and for the Team. The season is still long for all of us but, with the way we raced today, I think we have shown we are all in good shape.

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