After illness forced him to retire from the Tour Down Under, Corbin Strong has returned to form with a fast finish at the Surf Coast Classic to sprint to third place.
The inaugural edition of the race featured a point to point parcours from Lorne to Torquay and despite an uphill start, the sprinters’ teams were motivated to see a bunch sprint and committed to controlling the five-rider breakaway of the day. Strong’s IPT teammates assisted with the chase throughout the race, with the catch eventually being made in the final kilometers heading into Torquay.
“The boys nailed the run in”, explained Strong. “We knew that roundabout with one kilometer to go was crucial and that the race would be won or lost there. The boys just did a really good job. It’s not the best race suited to me with a pure bunch sprint but we knew that if we could nail the run in, I would be in with a chance. We did everything right, I maybe lost one too many positions around the last corner but I was pretty happy to manage a podium today.”
Sports Director Daryl Impey echoed Strong’s post-race analysis, praising the team for their work to set Strong up in the sprint.
“We knew the final was going to be decided by that final roundabout and we committed everyone to putting Corbin in the best position position,” said Impey. “It’s not easy but the boys are riding with a lot of confidence coming in from Tour Down Under. We executed exactly how we planned it and knew that if we put Corbin in the top four or five positions, a podium would follow. We were hoping for a top-five so a podium, after he had been sick, was great to see. We’re motivated for Sunday to end our Australian season well.”
After today’s warm-up, all eyes are on the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Sunday, where Simon Clarke rounded out the podium in 2023.
“Sunday’s race is the one we are really targeting,” added Strong. “It is a really nice parcours for us. We have a super strong team here as everyone saw at the Tour Down Under, everyone’s in good shape, and I think we have a number of cards to play on Sunday.”