The 104th running of the Melbourne to Warrnambool has been won by Giant Australia sponsored athlete Brendan Johnston. Brendan who rides for the Canberra based CCS Cycling team took the victory in a sprint after 6 hours and 16 minutes in the saddle.
The peloton rolled out from Avalon Airport destined for the race finish in Warrnambool located over 260km away on the Great Ocean Road. Breakaways tried to get away from the main field for the first several hours over the race until a proper break established itself after almost 140kms of racing. Out of this 37 rider bunch, 5 riders emerged including Brendan Johnston, Michael Freiberg, Mark O'Brien and Sam Jenner later into the race as it made its way onto the Great Ocean Road.
With a flurry of attacks in the final kilometres, Jenner was dropped and it came down to a 4 man sprint into Warrnambool. Brendan Johnston riding his Propel Advanced SL Disc launched his sprint early catching out his competitors as he flew across the line for his 1st Melbourne to Warrnambool victory in 5 attempts. Johnston who spends most of his racing off-road was ecstatic with his victory at the highly renowned "Warny".
After being asked what this victory means to him Brendan had this to say, "To win The Warny is unbelievable. The race has been talked about in the scene for so long and particularly since I first attempted it with some mates back in 2011, since then it’s been known as the ‘hard man's day’ (even more so if the weather plays its role). Saturday was literally the perfect storm, rain and wind. I had prepared really well for the race, I had a strong team to help with the first half and from there it was up to me. To be written into the honour roll and to have my name etched onto the statue at the finish line in Warrnambool, is something I’ve always wanted and still cannot believe. This event is everything I’ve come to love about cycling, it’s as tough as they come, a super long day out and it all came down to a battle on the line."
Brendan will now switch the skinny tyres of his Propel for his Anthem 29 mountain bike as he looks to defend his victory in the Otway Odyssey mountain bike race this coming weekend in the Otway Ranges.