Grafton to Inverell is not the longest race in Australia, but it is widely regarded as the hardest race. Although last weeks Melbourne to Warnambool is a little longer, as last week demonstrated, if there is no wind, it is a relatively straight forward affair. You will never see a bunch of 70 contesting the finish in Inverell.
G2I’s major focal point is the climb up the Gibraltar. Although it’s not possible to win the race from this point, it is certainly possible to lose the race. The break typically get brought back into the fold. The climbers surge free, and the bunch disintegrates. The front three bunches do normally come back together to form a very reduced peloton of 30 or so riders, who then start swinging wildly trying to break free. By the time the front of the race gets to the finish everyone is typically on their knees, and the power numbers in the sprint are likely more aligned to the finish of an U13 criterium than a national calibre field as the strongest grovel to the line.
We will once again go into this race a little low on starters, but with a focus on quality we aren’t too bothered by this. Jason, Tristan, Will and Curtis all showed last week that they are able to mix it up with the best in the country. This will be Jason’s third attempt at G2I. In 2019 he was one of the last riders to run out of legs, only getting distanced from the very front of the race in the last 10km.
Although typically seen as a sprinter, Tristan has some serious climbing capability, and will be hoping that he can make it over the top of the climb without the other sprinters in tow. Curtis and Will be both looking for their own opportunities. Will is one of the youngest riders in the race so it will be about experience as much as anything else. Despite being close to 200cm, Will can climb and will be able to provide invaluable support after the top of the climb. Curtis was one of the strongest in the second half of the Warnie, and the rolling climbs in the last 100km of the G2I suit him down to the ground.
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