Avanti IsoWhey Sports Sean Lake has cemented his place as a force of rising talent by pairing up his Oceania ITT Champions Title with the Road Race Title after a stunning solo win.
The heat in Bendigo rose beyond 39 degrees before Avanti IsoWhey Sports 8 man team took to the start line in the 120 strong field. 180 km in these condition and the unique format of the Oceania Championship event called for a protective but conservative team strategy.
Early racing was fast and hard despite the heat, something many would pay for as the day progressed. The race was marred by a large crash early on involving half the field but the boys managed to escape the carnage.
It took until the 70 km for a break to finally stick. This break soon became more of as split as riders scrambled across to stay in contention with all 8 Avanti IsoWhey Sports riders present. Rock steady road captaincy by Pat Shaw had the team immediately attack the split which eventually resulted in Lake going on a tap with Nathan Elliott a long way from home on a now shortened course.
The Airport Toyota Kluger was kept busy in the heat, handing out 15kg of ice to riders for cooling and over 100 IsoWhey biddons for the day. “It was brutal out there in that heat, everybody was on their knees after 100km” commented Mark O’Brien.
The teams constant attendance at the head of the race had well and truly put the onus on the other teams to set the pace as they approached the decisive climb of Mt Alexander. Lake immediately moved clear of Elliott on the climb proper, free to ride full gas. The chasers launched on the climb in reach of Sean and it looked as though he might be absorbed. The select group of Brendan Canty, Lachlan Norris, Michael Storer and teammate Mark O’Brien but Sean dug deep and managed to hold a slim advantage of 10 seconds as the went over the summit. The depth of the squad was on display with hot footed Joe Cooper, Sam Crome, Oscar Stevenson and Pat Shaw all present in a group just shy of the chase group. “My teammates were fantastic keeping us represented at the front of the race all day and putting pressure on the other teams to chase, this put us in the box seat and enabled me to get up the road before the hill” said Lake post race.
Brakes put away, Lake put his mass to work dropping down the mountain to settle into a 15km TT to the line. With groups all over the road and separated by small margins, O’Brien policed Lakes slender lead as the other three contributed to the chase. Despite Sean being in sight for much of the run in the chasers failed to catch with Sean taking the win solo 11 seconds in front of Canty with Marko third. Lake was understandably elated and relieved after clinching the victory. “I nearly got caught over the top of Mt Alex, but was then able to open up the gap on the descent. It was a super tough day in the saddle and stoked to get the result, and Marko getting third as well was fitting of a great team ride!”