Who will wear the coveted green and gold jersey for 2017 as Australian National Road Champion has been decided.
The men's and women's road races were run in stifling conditions that saw the field in both races dramatically reduced by the finish. There was a surprise in the men's race following a late attack and a dominate display in the women's from team ORICA-Scott. Earlier in the week the time-trial specialists tested themselves against the clock with the two defending champions showing their class yet again with commanding victories that never looked in doubt.
Read on to get the full story.
Miles Scotson solos to thrilling Australian road race title
BUNINYONG, Australia (CT) – Miles Scotson (BMC) will wear the green and gold of Australian road race champion in his first season as a professional after a thrilling solo victory at the Australian Road National Championships today.
Scotson, who won on this circuit as an U23 two years ago, put in a devastating attack with 1.5km to go, leaving behind an elite group of 13 riders and powering to the line in Buninyong. Two-time former winner and pre-race favourite Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott) won the bunch kick for second while fellow favourite Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) dashed to third.
Scotson had come into the race with no BMC teammates to support him, no specific tactic for the race, and wasn’t even sure he’d finish the race.
“I just tried to be pretty patient,” Scotson said. “Early on today I was trying to get in the early move. I didn’t really have a tactic. I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to get around 18 laps today but I had really good legs.
“I kind of started pushing the pace on the climb, five or four laps out, and I was like ‘I hope I don’t push this pace on the climb and then get popped — it’s going to look bad.’”
As it turned out, Scotson’s best shot at victory was one big late attack.
“Sometimes it can stay away here and I was like ‘I’m going to put a bigger chainring on and stick to the plan of just all-in really’,” he said. “And I was so glad I did because then I just waited behind in the last lap and then whacked them.”
A moment of hesitation in the group behind gave Scotson enough time to open up an unassailable lead.
“I just wound the gear out and tried to tuck low on that descent,” he said. “And I got to the bottom of that hill just seeing the gap I had — I just couldn’t believe it. I was like ‘Wow, it’s really going to happen.’”
Scotson has spent the past few years balancing his commitments on the road and the track, and in October last year, took the bronze medal in the U23 men’s individual time trial at the Road World Championships in Qatar. That result lead to a two-year contract with BMC, setting Scotson up for the exciting but challenging transition to the senior ranks in 2017.
As national champion, Scotson believes there’ll now be even more pressure on him to perform at the highest level.
“I’m just going to be racing in a national championship jersey in Europe this year — it’s going to be a big jump,” Scotson said. “There was maybe a bit of pressure — I’m not sure how this season is going to go whether or not I can handle it in Europe — but now I’m going to stand out so it’s time to lift my game.”
Read the full race report from the Men's Road Race.
In the U23 men's road race, nineteen-year-old Sam Jenner (NSWIS) has emerged victorious, riding to an impressive solo victory in hot conditions.
Jenner attacked from a lead group of seven riders with a little more than three laps of the challenging Mt. Buninyong circuit remaining. He powered through those final laps on his own to cross the finish line 47 seconds ahead of a chase group of nine riders.
Newly crowned U23 criterium Alex Porter (SA) was second in the small-bunch sprint, while last year’s runner-up in the road race, Lucas Hamilton (VIS), was third. For Jenner, the win was a particularly satisfying one, not least because of the frustrating year that preceded it.
“A lot of hard work for me has gone into this,” he said. “Last year was really tough for me, having crashes and being ill. But I you know I never gave up. Just kept on getting up every time I got kicked down.
“To pull it off after all the hard work and that’s just unbelievable.”
Read the full race report from the Men's U23 Road Race.
Garfoot adds women’s Australian road race title to tally in Orica-Scott one-two
Katrin Garfoot (Orica-Scott) took the victory at the elite women’s road race at the 2017 Mars Cycling Australia National Road Championships, pulling off the time trial/road race double and delivering a clean sweep of the elite women’s green and gold road jerseys for her team.
It was a one-two for Orica-Scott with the win decided by a sprint to the line with team mate and defending champion Amanda Spratt, after the pair spent that last couple of laps working together off the front.
“There was a lot of time trialling today, team time trialling,” Garfoot, who took third in 2014 and fourth last year, told reporters. “I’ve wanted to be here for a few years now and I’ve finally made it so it feels definitely great, and a double as well which was also a dream.”
Garfoot is the first rider to take the double since Carla Ryan in 2009.
Queenslander Lucy Kennedy took the final spot on the elite podium, after also swapping into time trial mode to stay away from the chase after being dropped by the Orica-Scott pair. Kennedy, who is signed with the High5 Dream Team this year, said she initially tried to catch the duo but near the end happily resigned herself to chasing her podium goal.
“A podium result for me was always going to be huge,” Kennedy told Ella CyclingTips. “The third step is a good progression from where I’ve been, but I’m still hungry for a lot more.”
The winner of the under 23 title was Alexandra Manly (Orica-Scott) who, like her older team mate, also pulled off the road race/time trial double.
Read the full race report from the Women's Road Race.
Rohan Dennis wins his second consecutive Australian time trial title
Rohan Dennis (BMC) will wear the green and gold of Australian time trial champion for another year after defending his national title in Buninyong today.
Dennis covered the 40.9km out-and-back course in a time of 50:59 (48.1km/h average), finishing an impressive 58 seconds ahead of two-time former winner Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott) with Ben Dyball another 40 seconds back in third place.
Dennis was second fastest at the halfway mark, three seconds behind Durbridge, but powered through the tougher second half of the course in scorching temperatures to take the gold medal.
While Dennis’ winning margin was significant, he hadn’t been overly confident coming into the event. An illness in the lead-up caused a few restless nights and concerns about his ability to defend the title.
“Probably about five-six days ago I woke up at midnight and had a sore throat and I’ve just been on antibiotics since,” Dennis said. “I’ve kept it quiet and I’ve been telling myself that it was severe hayfever. But last night I had my sinuses and everything all blocked up.
“So I was stressing a little bit. I’m thinking that this is not a good … something bad’s going to happen and I’m not going to win tomorrow. But I woke up and it was a lot clearer and I was like ‘thank God for that!’”
Read the full race report from the Men's Time Trial.
Katrin Garfoot delivers emphatic win to defend women’s Australian time trial title
Katrin Garfoot (Orica-Scott) delivered a victory in the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships time trial for a second consecutive year, coming to the finish line completely spent after she set a blistering pace to beat Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine) by a hefty 1 minute and 55.18 seconds.
The elation you might expect at such a hard fought and decisive win, though was restrained in the post-race media conference. Not surprisingly Garfoot looked hot and exhausted, but also seemed flat and expressed disappointment at the lack of support from the national sports funding organisation to give her the opportunity to perform at her best level as she contemplates the approaching end of her cycling career.
“It (the national title) does mean a lot to me after the Olympics where I couldn’t get the result I wanted and getting the third at Worlds, which was good but just a few seconds off the first,” Garfoot told reporters. “In the overall scheme a third doesn’t count as anything towards my funding, which I’m pretty frustrated by, so it’s good to show them that I’m actually worth it.”
The 35-year-old Garfoot said she will change focus a little this year, looking to the GC at the Giro Rosa mid-year and also flagged that next year’s Commonwealth Games in Brisbane could potentially be the last race of her career.
“At my age – I’m ancient – you wonder why you are doing this and you wonder should you not get screaming children and settle down to family and all that, so I weigh it all up. I don’t get superannuation, I’m on little pay, how much can I ask my husband to support me,” she said. “He is very supportive but how long can you actually do that, as a female it’s pretty tough.”
Read the full race report from the Women's Time Trial.
Caleb Ewan claims second consecutive Australian criterium title
BALLARAT, Australia (CT) – Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) has claimed his second Australian criterium title in as many years, winning the bunch sprint in Ballarat this evening to earn another 12 months as national champion.
In a fiercely contested bunch kick in the centre of Ballarat, Ewan got the better of rivals Scott Sunderland (IsoWhey Sports-SwissWellness) and Brenton Jones (Condor-JLT) after patiently biding his time in the bunch throughout the hour-long race.
Ewan had been out of position coming into the final corner but managed to navigate his way through traffic to take a popular win.
“To be honest I wasn’t exactly where I hoped I would be,” Ewan said of the course’s final turn onto Sturt St. “I got boxed off the wheel in the final corner and I started my sprint probably as soon as I came out of that corner and I had to get my way through the bunch.
“Luckily I got out at the end and could beat Scott.”
Ewan had come into the race as the rider to beat but didn’t enjoy the same team support he has in previous years. While Sunderland had nine of his IsoWhey Sports-SwissWellness teammates for support, Ewan had just two — Mitch Docker and Damian Howson.
“It was always going to be hard coming with only two guys to help me,” Ewan said. “[But they were] probably the two strongest guys in the race, fortunately for me — they covered everything perfectly and all I had to do was sit there and relax.”
Read the full race report from the Men's criterium.
Jessica Allen wins Australian criterium title, opens account for Orica-Scott
Jessica Allen (Orica-Scott) took out the win in the elite women’s criterium at the 2017 Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships with a solo charge to the line.
Allen had such a clear gap that by the second last lap there was no doubt she would deliver the first win of the Australian Road Championship’s for her new team, Orica-Scott and her second win in two days, as yesterday she took the final stage of the Michelton Bay Cycling Classic.
The battle was then just for the lower steps of the podium. Kendelle Hodges (Colavita Bianchi) just edged out Shannon Malseed (Holden Women’s Cycling Team). The 18-year-old Nicola MacDonald (Subaru Nswis NKC) was the first under 23 rider across the line in eleventh place.
There were a number of early breaks, one that included former Australian road champion Peta Mullens (Hagens Berman-Supermint), but the peloton wasn’t prepared to let any of them stick.
“I was actually a bit concerned about how I’d be feeling today,” said the rider from Perth. “It’s been a big three days at Bay Crits but when Jenelle and I were in that break of about five I knew we had to be aggressive, we were with three sprinters, and … that is not our forte so we had to attack.”
“She attacked, I attacked, I knew one of us had to get away. I was lucky enough for it to be me,” Allen told reporters. “I felt like I had really good legs out there and I just time-trialled all the way to the end.”
Read the full race report from the Women's criterium.
This content was originally published on cyclingtips.com
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