Linfield sprints to Crit glory
18-year-old Linfield won a sprint to the line over Josh Taylor (NSW) and Andrew Martin (WA) who had been a part of a large breakaway group for most of the race.
“I was worried coming into the finishing straight,” said Linfield. “I haven’t got much of a sprint so really I wanted to come to the line solo if I was going to try and win.
“Having those strong guys there really made me feel more comfortable. It gave us more of a chance of staying away, which we did,” the 2012 under 23 Oceania road race champion said.
After ten laps of the Ballarat city circuit, a large breakaway formed, initiated by Taylor and Aaron Donnelly (NSW).
The two riders quickly gained a break from the main field with Donnelly’s teammates Jack Beckinsale (NSW), Campbell Flakemore (TAS) and Sam Davis (WA) soon joining.
National time trial gold medallist Damien Howson (SA) also made the break, with fellow South Australian Harry Carpenter, Luke Ockerby (TAS) and Sam Spokes (NSW).
Pre-race fancy Caleb Ewan was a marked man and finished more than 25 seconds back in the main peloton, leading him to sit out the final lap.
The Huon Genesys team controlled the bunch, riders driving the pace and shaking most of their fellow escapees.
With five laps to go it was Sam Spokes who tried in vain to take the solo win before the remaining six breakaway riders reeled him in. On the bell lap, Howson also fruitlessly tried to break away but the three remaining Huon Genesys riders ensured a sprint finish.
“It worked out really well for me with Howson going up the road and the boys from Huon Genesys chasing it back, giving me a bit of a sit in until the last lap,” Linfield said.