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Cycling: Five things we learnt from the Surf Coast Classic

The Surf Coast Classic is a one-day road race held in Australia and is an opportunity for the sprinters to hone their skills ahead of some of the bigger races on the UCI World Tour.

The race has been won by Ireland’s Sam Bennett in the past and there were some big names on the startlist in 2024.

The Surf Coast Classic is held just days before the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and just after the Tour Down Under, so the timing is perfect.

Here are five things we learnt from the The Surf Coast Classic.

Girmay returns to winning ways

Biniam Girmay is one of the top sprinters on the world tour, but had a disappointing 2023 following the standards he set the season before.

The Intermarche-Wanty rider will have wanted to start 2024 strongly, and will be delighted to get a win under his belt early on.

He will face stronger competition in the races to come, but a win is a win, and Girmay could be a big hitter once again in the season ahead.

He showed great sprinting speed to get the job done.

Intermarche show strength

If Girmay is to have a successful 2024 then he will need a strong team around him and there were promising signs at the The Surf Coast Classic.

A sprinter needs his team to work for him all day and provide a strong lead-out for the sprint, and that is what Intermarche provided for him.

They fought off a strong Ineos Grenadiers team, who were riding for Elia Viviani, and Girmay had plenty of praise for his team-mates after the race.

Again that effort bodes well for the season ahead.

Second again for Viviani

The good news for Elia Viviani is the fact that he appears to have rediscovered some form following a disappointing 2023.

The 34-year-old’s sprinting speed has returned, but the bad news is, so far it is not bringing results.

Viviani finished second to Sam Welsford on stage three at the Tour Down Under and missed out again at the The Surf Coast Classic.

However, looking for positives, at least Viviani was in the mix, unlike most of 2023. Plus Ineos got him into a good position with their lead-out.

Strong back with a bang

Corbin Strong showed that he was over his health issues when riding a strong race and sprint to take third place.

The Israel-Premier Tech rider was forced to pull out of the recent Tour Down Under after suffering from stomach issues on stage five.

However he showed no ill-effects when taking the final spot on the podium.

Kanter positives for Astana

There was no Mark Cavendish at the The Surf Coast Classic but his Astana team were present and Max Kanter had a good day.

The German missed out on the podium, but was in the mix in the bunch sprint to finish in sixth place.

It remains to be seen if Kanter will be a part of Cavendish’s lead-out team for 2024, but good news for Astana that he looks to be in good form nontheless.

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