• Ben Dyball enroute to the mens TT elite win at the Oceania Road Championships (Twitter/Oceania Cycling Federation)Source: Twitter/Oceania Cycling Federation
Australia won five of six titles on offer in the time trials on the opening day of the 2019 Oceania Road Championships in Tasmania.
16 Mar 2019 - 11:51 AM  UPDATED 16 Mar 2019 - 11:52 AM

Kate Perry (Specialized Women's Racing) and Ben Dyball (Sapura Cycling) claimed maiden Oceania elite titles, stepping up to the top step having filled out the podium in previous years. Under 23 titles went to Sarah Gigante (Roxsolt-Attaquer) and Liam Magennis (Drapac-Cannondale) while Francesca Sewell (Australia) and Finn-Fisher-Black (New Zealand) claimed the under 19 crowns.

Perry has been a perennial contender at the major one-off time trials in recent years, winning medals at the Australian nationals and the Oceania championships. This was a breakthrough for the athlete-coach, who splits working on her own cycling with her job coaching some of the nation's most promising cyclists with FTP training.

“It is a pretty nice win," said Perry. "It is probably my biggest win so far.”

“I was pretty confident coming in to today that if I did everything right then hopefully, I would be able to take it on the day and I was very fortunate the legs were good.

“I have basically gone from bronze to silver to gold and I have put in a lot of work for this one and the preparation is definitely key so I was very fortunate I knew exactly what I was in for so it is a very nice feeling to be on the top step.”

It was only a seven-rider field for the women's event, with second taken by Nicole Frain (St Lukes Health Racing) one minute and ten seconds down and third Jenny Pettenon (Gusto Step Fwd KOM) two minutes and 15 seconds behind Perry.

Ben Dyball continued to show why he's regarded as the best Australian cyclist outside the WorldTour, backing up his superb season racing in Asia last year with his first win of 2019.

"I have been twice second and once third," said Dyball, "so it is good to finally be on the top step.

“The wind was a bit different to yesterday [recon] with a headwind on the way back but today there was a little wind on the way back, but it seemed quicker."

Dyball's main goal for the season is the upcoming Tour de Langkawi, with his Malaysian team keen to win their home event with the Australian climber. Finishing second was Jason Christie (NZ) with the strong Kiwi again showcasing his talent to finish just 24 seconds behind Dyball despite not riding regularly with a team. Australian national road race champion Michael Freiberg (Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) finished in third, one minute and 35 seconds behind the winner.  

Liam Magennis backed up his Under 23 national time trial win in January with another powerhouse ride to take out his first Continental crown, winning the gold medal by a commanding margin of one minute and thirty-six seconds over Alastair Christie-Johnston (Bridgelane) and two minutes and 12 seconds to Jordan Louis (Nero Bianchi) in third.

“It feels really good. It is good to back up my Australian TT title in January. It was a good day out,” said Magennis.

Magennis has been regarded as a top talent in the sport, indeed he won the Under 23 Oceania TT title in 2017, but 2019 has seen the Port Macquarie local starting to take results consistently that reflect his promise. Magennis also holds hopes for the road race after his strong showing against the clock.

“I will hopefully try and get up the road early and give myself a head start with the climbing and hopefully it is windy so it will split up a bit".

Australian national championships surprise star Sarah Gigante was again in the ascendancy, winning the Under 23 womens time trial in the closest fought battle of the day. Gigante just prevailed over Georgia Christie (NZ) by thirteen seconds, with Gusto Step Fwd KOM teammate Gemma Eastwood in third, thirty seconds in arrears.   

“It is really special. I have never won the Oceania time trial title before, so it is cool," said Gigante.

“I have been targeting this race specifically since Nationals really. I turned my focus really from the summer of cycling to Oceanias down here in Tasmania so it’s really cool to see the hard word pay off."

“It is good to have the Kiwis here I was unsure how I would go against them. I don’t think I have ever raced Georgia Christie and some of her teammates as well so really cool to see the Aussies are pretty good here.”

Francesca Sewell was in splendid form at Australian nationals, winning both the road race (after another rider was disqualified) as well as the time trial and continued her form at the Oceania championships. She won by fifteen seconds over Catelyn Turner with New Zealander Henrietta Christe in thrid, 35 seconds in arrears.

Finn Fisher-Black continued to show why he's regarded as a star of the future, the under-19 individual pursuit world record holder took the time trial victory by 23 seconds over Laurence Pithie, with 38 seconds to third placed Alexander White for a New Zealand clean sweep of the podium.