GEELONG - Bendigo cyclist Zak Dempster upstaged his better-known Orica-GreenEDGE rivals to win Thursday night's ppening race of the Bay Classic criterium series.
Women's favourite and dual world road champion Georgia Bronzini showed she will be tough to beat when she won the opening round at Ritchie Boulevard in Geelong.
Dempster, 26, was in a breakaway group of seven riders that dominated the hour-long men's race on the hotdog circuit in the opening round of the Mitchelton-backed series.
Dempster and SA Sports Institute team-mate Harry Carpenter put themselves in the perfect position when the break caught the main bunch in the closing laps.
Dempster outsprinted British rider Felix English (Rapha Condor) for the win and Victorian Brenton Jones (Procon) was third.
"I couldn't be happier - January 2nd and one win, so it's one more than last year," Dempster said.
He contested his first Grand Tour last season when he rode in the Tour of Spain with his professional team NetApp-Endura.
Dempster's record includes winning the Melbourne to Warrnambool, the Bendigo International Madison, and Austral Wheelrace.
Bronzini and her Wiggle Honda team-mates, which includes Bendigo's Peta Mullens, dominated.
The Italian outsprinted South Australian Annette Edmondson for the win.
Round two is on Friday at Geelong's Eastern Park. First of two support races is at 11.30am. The women's elite starts at 1.30pm. Men's elite from 2.30pm.