CCC Team rider Patrick Bevin bounced back from a heavy crash on the penultimate stage of the Santos Tour Down Under to finish the six-day stage race in Australia Sunday and win the sprint classification. The New Zealander put in a gutsy performance, pushing through injuries sustained in Stage 5 to finish the final stage to Willunga Hill on his TCR Advanced SL team bike.
X-rays and CT scans Saturday evening after his Stage 5 crash confirmed that Bevin did not suffer any fractures or internal injuries, but a bruised hip and ribs, plus multiple contusions, made for a tough day of racing. After winning Stage 2 earlier in the week, Bevin held the overall lead until the final stage, starting Stage 6 with a 7-second lead over South African Daryl Impey.
Protected by his CCC Team, Bevin stayed with the lead group until the first ascent of Willunga Hill, where he was unable to keep pace with the leaders. Australian Richie Porte ended up winning the final stage, and Impey took the overall—but Bevin was happy to win the sprint classification and continue the momentum of a strong start to his 2019 season.
“I take the Ziptrack sprint jersey away from the race as a nice result for the week’s work,” he said. “Obviously it’s tough to touch down yesterday and watch my work evaporate on the GC but that’s bike racing. There are no guarantees. We take a lot of positives out of the race and look forward to the next one.”
CCC Team sports director Jackson Stewart praised Bevin for his courageous performance at the first WorldTour race of the year. It was a strong follow-up to his win at the New Zealand national time trial championship the previous week and helped get the team off to a hot start in 2019.
"I can't say enough about the way Paddy and the team raced this week,” Stewart said. “It really is a credit to them and had it not been for the crash yesterday I think we would have been seeing Paddy up there on the podium. He was flying all week and really showed his dominance here.”