Edward Theuns was the highest finisher for the team in the Cadel Evan Great Ocean Road Race, narrowly missing the selection on the final ascent and arriving with the second group just over half a minute later for 26th place. It was not the result the team aimed for coming into the newly crowned WorldTour event.
The 174-kilometer race begun slowly, but when the peloton arrived for the three 20-kilometer local laps in Geelong, it turned into a thrilling affair. With constant attacks on the tough undulating course and the high pace over the steep climb each lap adding to the suffering and attrition, the peloton whittled to 25 strong over the final ascent. Unfortunately,Trek-Segafredo was missing from the grand finale that played out in the ending kilometers.
"We were good until the last lap, until the long climb on the circuit," explained Theuns. "They went really full gas, and we just didn't make it in the first group. We were just behind in the second group, not so far back, and we tried to close the gap but couldn't do it – yeah, it's a pity."
Nikias Arndt (Sunweb) sprinted to the win over Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott), second, after catching a late attacking Cameron Meyer (Korda Mentha Real Estate) just before the line. Meyer held on for third.
A shining moment in an otherwise disappointing showing for the team was the attack of Mads Pedersen, 21, at the foot of the climb on the last lap. Although his move was quickly marked and soon brought to heel by the peloton, Pedersen showed he is not afraid to mix it up with the big boys and, more than that, demonstrated he will be a force in the years to come.
"It was quite easy in the start, no one wanted to take the lead, and the breakaway went, four guys, and had almost 10mins," said Pedersen about the race. "Then Orica, BMC, and Bora started pulling easy until we hit the laps. Then we started racing, and it was man against man in the end. We tried to make it as easy as possible for Edward. I think we did a good job; I was pretty cooked in the end. We missed the result, but I think we can be proud of the work today."