Graeme Frislie powers to Tour de Brisbane NRS win

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CCACHE x Par Küp sprinter Graeme Frislie has won the 2024 Tour de Brisbane National Road Series race with an impressive display of cornering and speed after a frenetic race through the River City.

Frislie finished off a near-flawless team performance from CCACHE x Par Küp to perfection on the tight, technical finale in Brisbane to win the bunch sprint by metres ahead of Team BridgeLane duo Zac Marriage and Jack Ward.

The final kilometre of the 102.1-kilometre race was tailor-made for 23-year-old Frislie, who is renowned for his bike handling skills and finishing speed in tight spaces on both the road and the track.

“Full credit to the team for welding me back to the front and covering the breaks all day. They put me in the perfect spot in the end and just glad I could finish it off,” Frislie said post-race.

“We’ve got an awesome team this year and I’m glad to get the first NRS win for the team this season.”

Sunday’s victory is Frislie’s first road glory since winning the under-23 criterium national title at the 2023 AusCycling Road National Championships in Ballarat.

How it unfolded

The 116-strong NRS peloton was provided perfect Brisbane conditions for the 5:45am sunrise start, but it would turn out to be the only moment of calm for the next two and a half hours.

Hometown NRS outfit Tandem Co Pro Cycling kickstarted the aggressiveness courtesy of a lone opening attack of the day from Josh Beikoff, who was quickly joined by Cameron Winfield (Criterion BEx Racing), Ryley Collett (Cycling Development Foundation) and Saudi Arabian Jehad Alhassan.

The quartet would make it as far as halfway up the first ascent of Mt Coot-tha's back side before Team BridgeLane entered the fray under the impetus of Ben Metcalfe and Luke Burns, marked tightly by CCACHE x Par Küp’s Brisbanite Finn Walsh.

A larger group formed over the top of the 2.8-kilometre climb, which has an average gradient of 8.2% on the steeper back side.

On the second and final ascent of Mt Coot-tha, it was Metcalfe who attacked for the second time, but once again it was Walsh glued to his wheel, with the duo cresting the climb together before being joined by a select group of the NRS’ best climbers.

With Mt Coot-tha behind them and 50-plus kilometres of flat roads ahead, the group of 11 would never truly get going in earnest, largely due to the strong representation of Team BridgeLane, who had four riders at the front of the race in Marriage, Burns, Metcalfe and national and Oceania under-23 time trial champion Jackson Medway.

Alongside the BridgeLane four were Walsh (CCACHE x Par Küp), Matthew May (Cycling Development Foundation), Ben Carman (St George Continental), Oliver Sims and Ren Bao Tsen (Criterion BEx Racing), Matthew Lambert (Tandem Co Pro Cycling) and Kiwi individual rider Finnegan Murphy.

The breakaway 11 were reeled back in by a reduced peloton on the Centenary Motorway with 45km to go, leading to a flurry of attacks as riders tried in vain to form a new breakaway.

After several kilometres, a move finally succeeded comprised of Jack Clark (Van D’am Racing p/b Butterfields), Sims, Carman, Oli Stenning (Blackshaw Racing), Kiwi Jonty Harris and May.

Notably absent from the new breakaway group were Team BridgeLane and CCACHE x Par Küp, but that ended when powerhouse Medway (Team BridgeLane) and Max Campbell (CCACHE x Par Küp) bridged the gap together with 15km to go.

Medway and Campbell’s presence immediately shut down cohesion in the breakaway and allowed the chasing peloton to bring the race all back together for a bunch sprint.

As the race neared the technical final kilometres, it was Team BridgeLane and CCACHE x Par Küp who began their battle for front position.

CCACHE x Par Küp entered the last U-turn in front, but on the short ramp that immediately followed BridgeLane regained control and looked to be in the box seat for the penultimate right then left corners.

However, Frislie left his braking latest into the tight right-hand corner and instantly opened up bike lengths between himself and BridgeLane duo Marriage and Ward.

From there, it was always going to be tough to pip the fastest sprinter in the race, with Frislie powering to the win out of the final corner with enough time to celebrate before the finish.

“It was a super tough day out,” Frislie said.

“The boys made it hard all day after the climbs and I was going full gas both times up Coot-tha just to try and stay close to them.

“I was pretty confident that the boys would have the legs to bring the breakaway back in the end, but it got a bit hairy going out along the river.

“It looked pretty dangerous at one point, but we got it moving in the end and I’m happy we could get back to the front.”

Third-place finisher Ward won the Young Rider jersey. Kiwi individual rider Harris finished as the best in the Sprint classification and Metcalfe took home the KOM jersey.

Frislie is now the joint leader of the NRS alongside Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic winner Mark O’Brien on 250 points.

Results

  1. Graeme FRISLIE (CCACHE x Par Küp) 2h24:43
  2. Zac MARRIAGE (Team BridgeLane) +0
  3. Jack WARD (Team BridgeLane) +0
  4. Alastair CHRISTIE-JOHNSTON (CCACHE x Par Küp) +0
  5. Mitchell MCGOVERN (Criterion BEx Racing) +0
  6. Jack DOHLER (Van D'am Racing p/b Butterfields) +0
  7. Matthew MAY (Cycling Development Foundation) +0
  8. Josh BEIKOFF (Tandem Co Pro Cycling) +0
  9. Brendon GREEN (Cycling Development Foundation) +0
  10. Ben CARMAN (St George Continental Cycling) +0

For full results, visit the AusCycling results page.

A full replay of the race can be viewed on SBS On Demand.


Feature picture: Raceatlas

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