The weather gods turned out another superb summer?s day as the final stage of the 2015 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic wrapped up in Williamstown this afternoon. As in stage one?s circuit, the level terrain proved to suit veteran powerhouse Greg Henderson in the Elite Men?s race as he soared away to victory ahead of breakaway companions Chris Hamilton (Avanti Racing Team), Roger Kluge (Total Rush Hyster), Michael Hepburn (Orica GreenEdge) and Sam Dobbs (search2retrain-health.com.au Cycling Team).
It was an exhilarating race from the outset, with the pace set fast and strong from the first lap. It didn?t take long, however, for the attacking pressure at the front of the peloton to establish the five man breakaway of Henderson, Hamilton, Kluge, Hepburn and Dobbs and see the group power away. The depleted peloton failed to launch a counter attack to contain the bunch, which proved costly for the likes of Ewan, as Henderson and co. continued to extend their lead with every lap. With a 46 second deficit reached by the 30-minute mark, there was no stopping the breakaway as they surged closer to lapping the tail end of the peloton. Henderson and Kluge appeared to be the workhorses in the lead group, rotating turns to ensure the peloton wouldn?t catch them as their companion riders took advantage of their slipstream. At ten laps to go, Chris ?Hurricane? Hamilton attempted to make a swift attack in a bid to pull away from the breakaway, much to the dismay of Henderson chasing behind. With breakaway efforts much about teamwork and Henderson applying much of the pressure in maintaining their lead from the outset, the attempt to launch an attack by Hamilton at the pointy end of the race was less than appreciated. Once reigned back in, it was clear that Henderson heavily reprimanded Hamilton for the lack of cooperation in the breakaway. At two laps to go and with the breakaway still together, it was clear Henderson would be a force to be reckoned with at the finish. A strong all-round rider, Henderson showed his experience in the final sprint to take out the final stage win ahead of Hepburn in 2nd and the German rider Kluge in 3rd. Ewan was the first of the chasing peloton riders to cross the line, finishing the race in 5th position and certifying his incredible victory of the Bay Classic for a second time. ?It feels just as good the second time around. It was a pretty tough series and I was lucky to have such a strong team here and it worked perfectly,? Ewan said. Ben Hill (CharterMason Giant Racing) won the Sprint Ace competition with a final tally of 12pts, 4pts ahead of his closest rival Henderson. Pocket rocket Caleb Ewan proved an unstoppable force across all four days of racing and was crowned series champion ahead of a quality field of challengers. Ewan won the first three stages of the series and achieved a fifth place finish today, but says despite not achieving a clean sweep there is still much to be taken away from this year?s event. ?It?s a little bit disappointing, but at the end of the day it doesn?t really matter, we came here and we got the yellow jersey and three stages which is pretty good in my first series as a pro,? Ewan said. ?I think this is the best result GreenEdge has got so far, so I?m happy to deliver that for them,? he said.