Over the years, he was made to work on his back, but the loss of Sam Bonnet was the Dreyes Devenins’ gain at the Caddy Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Irish star Bennett went on to win the game by a huge margin.
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Belgium won the two-member sprint at the Geelong waterfront to single out Pavel Shivakov within the final 5km.
Back in the day, South African Daryl Impi was third in the draw for the third year, while champion J McCarthy of the 20 champion was four seconds behind in sixth place.
Caleb Evan finished seventh, 25 seconds behind Devenys.
“For three years I was good footing in this race and was in the front, but I was always behind, waiting for my sprinter, waiting for my sprinter,” Devenice said then.
“But he didn’t come back this time, so it was a great experience to win.
“It’s a very special day for me. I like this race a lot and every time I come here I try well.
“Last year I was here for (Elijah) Viviani and I was Viviani a year ago. But this year we were in a squad and Sam (Bennett) didn’t feel like coming back, so I got involved for the win and I’m happy to spread it and accept it. “
With a strong wind blowing from the northwest, the race was driven by Tim Inies on the road to Baron Heads.
Inspired by the division and renovation of the peloton, Assy teenager Carter Turnbull was making his own race, joining his Australian national teammates Conor Leahy and Rudy Porter in the initial three-member break.
When the trio closed a fierce Enios, Turnbull attacked again to join Eliot Schultz, another partner, and the pair kept the peloton at bay for 40 km.
Shortly after Turnbull was caught, the Imperial Mitchelton-Scott landed where the Ennies had gone, dividing Vallam’s field for 25 km after the winding of the Challambre Crescent.
It created a 17-member Brexio group that had five riders on the Aussie team.
Elite sprinters were among the elite in the group until the final attack of the Crescent in the final climb of the Mitchelton-Scott climber Simon Yates.
But Yates paid for his efforts and, when he was thrown for a kilometer remaining on Melville Avenue at the top of the aisle, was sidelined by cat and mouse play behind teammates Impa Shibakov and Devenin.
Impi said, “It’s a shame we didn’t work together properly in the end because I think I had the best foot in the boys there.”
“I thought everything was pretty good until the final, but unfortunately we lost Yatsi there and then it was a fight between the fastest.
“Simon has done a great job. I think it caught up with him in the end, but it’s bike racing. You are gone and this is how it is.