Over a thousand riders from all around Australia descended upon Newcastle last week to take on the annual Port to Port multi-day off-road race. Set in a spectacular region featuring wineries and great scenery, the event does a great job at catering to all kinds of competitors. This year for the first time saw a new format in which the elite teams would find a partner and take on the race as a pair. Giant Australia fielded two teams, the experienced pairing of Brendan Johnston / Jon Odams & the first time pairing of Adam Blazevic / Ben Allen. All four riders chose to race on our Anthem Advanced Pro 29 XC race bike.
Brendan & Jon headed into the event as a favourite for the race after they won the inaugural Reef to Reef in 2018. In 2018 Brendan won the triple crown as he was successful in winning all 3 of Port to Port, Reef to Reef and Cape to Cape in the same year.
To kick things off a short prologue TT stage on Wednesday took the elite riders on a short loop to test their lungs & legs. Time bonuses were on offer and the pairing of Brendan / Jon took 2nd place just one second behind the winners ensuring they were in a good position heading into the first stage.
Stage 1 was a 48km off-road loop with over 1100m of climbing and all riders were put straight to the test, figuring out quickly if their partners were equal in ability and fitness. After a minor crash and a flat tyre the Giant Australia Off-Road Team A of Brendan & Jon came home strong to finish in 4th place with our second team not far behind and 5th. The team were keen to make amends on Stage 2, a 46km mix of short sharp climbs and flowing singletrack. Brendan & Jon rode strongly taking the stage win but were still trailing behind in the general classification battle.
The third stage was classified as the queen stage of the event with a 58km loop taking riders through Awaba mountain bike park at the beginning and then up a steep climb before descending towards the finish. The Giant Australia Off-Road Team A pairing rode super consistently to take the stage victory, reigning leaders from Stage 2 unfortunately withdrew before the start of the day seeing the Giant team take over the lead of the event with one day left to race.
After three hard days of racing the Johnston / Odams pairing did what they needed to on the last stage and held the competing teams at bay. They crossed the line in second place cementing their overall victory by more than 10 minutes. Check out full results over on the Port to Port website here.
General Classification – Men’s Elite
1st (#100) GIANT AUSTRALIA OFF-ROAD TEAM (A) 11:59:30
5th (#184) GIANT AUSTRALIA TEAM 12:45:45