Lasse Norman Hansen
Lasse Norman Hansen Photo: Karen M. Edwards

Lasse Norman Hansen seized Aqua Blue Sport ‘s first UCI podium in the 2018 season by winning the KOM classification at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race after a long day in the breakaway. The race was won by Australian Jay McCarthy (Bora Hansgrohe) who beat Elia Viviani and Daryl Impey in a select bunch sprint in the city of Geelong.

The 4th edition of Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road – a 164km UCI World Tour one day race – got underway in sweltering conditions, with the temperatures rising to 40ºc, but that didn’t stop Lasse Norman Hansen from attacking from the gun. Our Dane, taking advantage of his Olympian track pedigree, was amongst the first to react as the flag dropped and quickly found himself at the front with a solid five minutes gap on a benevolent peloton, alongside four other riders.

Pavel Kochetkov (Team Katusha Alpecin), Robbert de Greef (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) Alexander Porter and Samuel Welsford (both representing the Australia Team) worked well with Norman Hansen as the group wound its way through Barwon Heads extending the advantage to nearly seven minutes.

Photo: Harry Dennis / New Gravity Media

At the first KOM at Bells Beach our Dane put the foot down and claimed maximum points stating his goal to go for the Mountains Classification. Lasse Norman Hansen proved again to be the strongest uphill on the Challambra Crescent (1km climb at 10%) where he took maximum points on the three first ascents sealing the King of the Mountains classification, just as teammate Conor Dunne had done in the 2017 edition.

“We attacked from the gun and got a massive gap quickly. We were dictating the speed all day and took it relatively easy until we hit the circuit. We were quickly down to three riders but I felt strong and sprinted for some mountain points and got them all. In the end I got the Mountains jersey and I’m super happy about that. I don’t think anyone in the break thought we could hold off the peloton, we just rode as hard as we could and I think we were all surprised with how far we made it into the race. All the team did a super job even if some of the guys struggled a bit in the heat. I did as well but had a big advantage before I started to suffer because I had six minutes to give,” said Lasse Norman Hansen

Photo: Karen M. Edwards

With 30km to go only Norman Hansen and Kochetkov remained at the front with the gap dwindling to under two minutes. The duo was eventually swept up by the charging peloton with 15km remaining to the finish after a long, hard day in the saddle.

A group of nine riders, led by Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s George Bennett, pushed clear on the final ascent of the Challambra shattering the peloton, but the move was eventually caught within the final metres of the finishing straight.

Jay McCarthy (Bora Hansgrohe) became the first Australian to win the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race when he edged italian Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) and compatriot Daryl Impey (Michelton-SCOTT) in a select bunch sprint in Geelong.

Australian Calvin Watson was the best placed Aqua Blue Sport rider on the GC, crossing the line in 46th place, two minutes and 39 seconds off the winner.



 


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