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Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. De Vreese in escape, wins KOM, Ballerini in attack, Sanchez is 10th in sprint

Astana Pro Team did a very solid race today at the UCI WorldTour event Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (164 km) in Geelong, Australia. 

Laurens De Vreese, making part of the daily breakaway together with two riders of the Australian National Team, was the most aggressive rider in the leading group, taking 3 Challambra climbs and winning the mountain classification of the race.

- Before the start at the team’s meeting our director told us to do this race as hard as possible because Luis Leon Sanchez is in a good shape. So, I went in a break and did my best there. I had good legs and I am happy to win the king of mountain jersey. But, of course, it wasn’t the goal. I wanted to stay in front as long as possible and when Davide joined me, I just gave my all to help him and to do as bigger gap as possible. I think, that Astana Pro Team did a very good race, we can be proud with it, but, unfortunately, not many teams were interested to do this race really tough. For me this day was a good test of my form and I am happy with it. It is a nice start of the season, - said Laurens De Vreese.

With 40 km to go De Vreese went solo, leading the race until the moment his teammate Davide Ballerini joined him with 25 km to the finish after a very strong attack from the peloton.

Later it was Ballerini, who led the race for 15 kilometers, being caught inside the last 10 km.

- We tried to do this race as hard as possible, because we wanted to prevent the expected final sprint. Yeah, Laurens was in the break, later I joined him and did my best in front. In a moment I had 2 minutes and a half, but the profile of the race was not too hard to drop the sprinters. Anyway, it was a good race and nice time here in Australia. Now, I am looking to my next goal in Oman, - said Davide Ballerini.

In the final, Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez was among the most active riders in front of the group, trying to attack to anticipate the massive sprint.

However, nobody could escape from the peloton and, thus, the race ended with a sprint won by the Italian champion Elia Viviani, while Luis Leon Sanchez finished 10th.

- We had only one chance – to try to do our own race, to do it really fast and hard. And we did our best for it. We were hoping for a big breakaway group, which could put the sprinters under the pressure, later with attack of Davide Ballerini we wanted to animate the race, but it did not work. Honestly, the race was not really hard, the pace was quite slow and almost all the sprinters remained in the main group. I did my best in sprint, but, of course, I could not do much. Anyway, we leave Australia in a good mood, we spent three great weeks here, we trained and raced really well, so we are coming to Europe in good form and ready for a new challenge, - added Luis Leon Sanchez.

Photo credit: © Tim De Waele/Getty Images

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