With less than a week until the final round of the 2018 Super Series, there is a lot to be excited for. The street circuit around the soon to be complete AV Jennings development of St Clair gives bike racers everything that they could dream of. Tight turns, flowing straights and a tranquil urban backdrop.
The race of the round is likely to be the Elite Men. With Just two points between series leader Justin Gassner of Lightsview and Jack Sutton of Oliver’s Real Food Racing, the competition is set to come right down to the line. Gassner took the lead in the series by a solitary point after his Lightsview team rode incredibly cohesively in the Team’s Time Trial at Lenswood. At Round 7 – a Lightsview controlled bunch had let a breakaway slip away and eat up the majority of the points on offer with Jarrad Drizners (SASI) taking his second win for the series. Gassner and Sutton both wanted the remaining points – and to the naked eye it looked like Sutton had closed the gap. The finish line camera would show that it was, in fact, Gassner who had taken the upper hand by the narrowest of margins, giving him a slightly bigger, but still incredibly slender, lead going into the final round.
This isn’t the first time that Sutton has found himself in this position. In 2016, Sutton was locked in a two-way battle with Gassner’s then Team Mate Russel van Hout. Van Hout, a former Australian Champion, and Giro D’Italia star used a combination of team tactics and brute force to overcome the newcomer in Sutton. Now two years on from this battle, Sutton is much more experienced after spending the last two seasons racing with Oliver’s across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Asked whether this experience has motivated him to overcome Gassner, Sutton replied: “Absolutely, the Lightsview boys will no doubt make it hard, but I’m looking forward to it!”
The GC isn’t the only tight battle that the Lightsview team is facing. Gessner’s younger brother Matthew is also set for a close battle, leading the sprinter’s competition by a single point over Chris Harper. Gassner thrust himself into contention for this prize after taking maximum points at Round 7, and he will need to be on the top of his game if he wants to keep a hold of Harper on this breakaway friendly course.
One battle that Lightsview won’t need to invest too much effort into coming into the final round is the team’s classification. With a handy 16-point lead over the Australian Cycling Team going into the final round and the majority of the Australian Cycling Team’s gun riders racing overseas, it is unlikely that they will be dethroned.
With Saint Clair less than 20 minutes from the CBD, make sure you get out and watch this climatic final round.