2020 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

Analysis: Deceuninck Continues Domination In Fast Rising Cadel Evans Race

Analysis: Deceuninck Continues Domination In Fast Rising Cadel Evans Race

Dries Devenyns's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race win showed that Deceuninck's continuing domination in a fast-rising race

Feb 3, 2020 by Gregor Brown
Replay: Cadel Evans Race Men

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Dries Devenyns's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race win showed that Deceuninck-Quick Step is continuing its domination in cycling, in a race that is quickly gaining prestige.

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Dries Devenyns's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race win showed that Deceuninck-Quick Step is continuing its domination in cycling, in a race that is quickly gaining prestige.

The Cadel Evans race opened up the WorldTour calendar's one-day races on Sunday in Geelong, Australia – host of the 2010 World Championships. On Saturday, it held the women's first big one-day race of the year.

Deceuninck-Quick Step continues domination in 2020

Continuing where it left off, Deceuninck-Quick Step is already on top of the wins rankings for 2020 WorldTour teams. It closed out 2019 with the most wins as it has done in the last seasons, 68 compared to Jumbo-Visma in second with 51.

Over the weekend, it picked up three more wins with Belgian Dries Devenyns delivering the surprise. The reason why this team is so successful is because it has captains, but also strength in numbers down through its work-horses like Devenyns. He is usually sacrificing himself for the stars like Sam Bennett, Zdenek Stybar or Julian Alaphilippe. However, the 36-year-old had been secretly dreaming of winning the Cadel Evans race over the last five years.

When Bennett was shelled under the attacks, Devenyns had the freedom to work in the lead group. He made his move about 6km out on the heels of an attack by Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) and handled his Russian rival in the two-up sprint.


The race is gaining prestige as an Aussie classic

It has ended in sprints in past editions, but Sunday showed that this course has the makings to become a hard-man's Aussie Classic. It was a "stressful day" already from kilometer six or seven, explained Devenyns. The cross-winds coming of the coast near the Great Ocean Road saw the race shredded early on. Ineos and Mitchelton – working for Daryl Impey – were the most aggressive. In the final circuits, Grand Tour star Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) split the remnants of the group on the closing two climbs. With sprinters like Viviani, Bennett and Ewan, and hard men like Sivakov and Devenyns in the mix, the race compares nicely to a Spring Classic like Ghent-Wevelgem.


Liane Lippert is the latest Sunweb talent

German Liane Lippert (Sunweb) – 22 years old, the best young rider and second overall in the Tour Down Under – showed her star should shine brightly over the next years to come.

"I still can't believe I won my first WorldTour race!" she said. The win after a wet and windy day, marked by a crash over the Challambra Crescent climb, underscored why this race is cementing itself as an Aussie classic.

For Lippert, it is the start of what could be her most important year yet with the Olympics in the Summer. She attacked solo on the final climb around 6km out and admitted it was a "risky move" but she had the straight to defend it. 

In consecutive seasons, Sunweb lost two dominant riders in Lucinda Brand and Ellen van Dijk to rival Trek-Segafredo. However, Lippert's victory shows Sunweb's commitment to talent identification and development is paying off as young riders deliver results.


Unmarked climb the race's critical point

The race organizer marks the Challambra Crescent on the profile and map, the men cross it four times and the women once, but the small kick afterwards is the critical point. 

After the narrow bridge, the road climbs over 650 meters on Queens Park Road and Melville Avenue (Strava links one and two), it reveals legs weakened by the previous climb and provides the winning launch pad. Devenyns and Sivakov went free after the top, and here on the unmarked climb, Lippert made her solo bid.