• Cyrus Monk beat the heat and bunch to win the under 23 title. (Kathryn Watt)Source: Kathryn Watt
Initially furious that organisers cut the event distance, Cyrus Monk won the under-23 Australian road race championship with a daring solo move.
Cycling Central

6 Jan 2018 - 6:10 PM 

Cyrus Monk's day turned from fury to fantastic when he won the under-23 road race at the Australian championships.

It is the biggest result of his emerging career but Monk was angry when organisers slashed Saturday's race program at Buninyong, near Ballarat, because of the extreme weather.

The temperature was forecast to reach 39 degrees and the wind was also blustery.

The Gran Fondo amateur event was cancelled and the under 23 race was cut by four laps, from 139.2 to 92.8km, so Saturday's program was done by 11.30am.

As late as Saturday morning, Monk was lobbying race officials to reverse that decision.

"I was probably the least happy of the whole peloton, initially," the 21-year-old said. "I was pretty furious and trying to get my managers to complain to Cycling Australia.

"Even this morning, I was asking if they could change it. I really wanted the longer distance, to wear the riders down.

But the shortened race planned perfectly into Monk's hands.

While he is not a climbing specialist, the heat nullified the long ascent that is the key feature of the Buninyong circuit.

With two and a half laps left, Monk went off the front of the main group and soon had the lead.

"Two-and-a-half laps from the finish, no-one wants to spend all their bikkies there," he said. "So it's often a time you can sneak off the front. I wasn't happy to be out there, but I just thought 'now I've got to try and make it stick'.

"I threw all the eggs in that basket and luckily I was able to hold them off."

The Drapac development team member from Gippsland in country Victoria won by 26 seconds, with James Potter winning a three-rider sprint for silver and Michael Potter taking third.

Monk should now gain a start with the composite UniSA team later this month at Adelaide's Tour Down Under.

Sarah Gigante (Holden Team Gusto) completed a clean sweep of all three under 19 national titles - criterium, time trial and road race.

After winning the criterium solo and taking out the time trial by 13 seconds, Gigante once again showed her power as she rode to a solo victory in the 58km road race around Mt Buninyong.

"I didn't even think I'd win one, you always hope to win one, but definitely not this," Gigante said.

“I didn't want to leave it to a sprint as I thought it was too risky as I didn't know how my sprint legs where. But I tried to get away and then just time trialled home."

Time trial silver medallist Tyler Lindorff (WAIS) took line honours in the under 19 men's road race. Ben Metcalfe (Mobius BridgeLane) and Carter Turnbull (InformMake) completed the podium places.

"It’s a dream come true today," Lindorff said. "I’ve been training for this one solely for the last couple of months.

“I just thought I would give it a go, I knew with the course going downhill and through Federation University it was quite quick so it was just a matter of trying to get ahead.

"I felt like I was the strongest on the last lap so I thought I would give it a nudge and I got away.”