• Team Bridglane, National Road Series (Jamie Finch-Penninger)Source: Jamie Finch-Penninger
Team Bridgelane confirmed their status as the best in Australia for the eleventh year in a row, taking out the 27.2-kilometre team trial to underline their status as the best team in Australia. ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast came into the race as heavy favourites in the women's event, taking the win by a comfortable margin ahead of Sydney Uni-Staminade.
SBS Cycling Central

5 Dec 2020 - 12:52 PM 

A pea-souper of a fog greeted riders early in proceedings delaying the start of the team time trial by 15 minutes. The sun came to the fore, burning off the fog and raising the temperature on course significantly.

On the 27.2-kilometre out-and-back route along the Tweed the pace was hot, with the men's top three teams all posting over 50km/hr average speeds. ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast finished first with a benchmark-setting time that survived the arrival of Oliver's Real Food Racing and Nero Continental, who were just six seconds off the pace of the Sunshine Coast-based squad.

All that remained were Bridgelane, but Australia's premier domestic team confirmed their status as the best, scorching home to win by 18 seconds.

"With Bridgelane, everyone that was doing the TTT was as strong as each other. Looking down (at his bike computer), it was always 51, 52 km/hr, it didn't matter who was on the front. It was pretty awesome to be a part of."

"There are lot of strong teams up here, but we definitely have a really strong squad. Everyone's getting along really well, all meshing really well."

With the win, Bridgelane's lead in the team's classification became a mathematical certainty, and they've now taken their 11th successive victory in the competition.

"It's unreal, to do it, especially with the team time trial this morning," said Field of the overall win. "It felt absolutely amazing. I played a small part in it, but some guys have ridden absolutely out of their skin each and every day, which is amazing to witness."

ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast came in as the team to beat in the women's with Ruby Roseman-Gannon and the track members of the team experienced with the sort of organisation you need to ride a team time trial to an elite level. 

They won convincingly from Sydney Uni-Staminade, with club team Sydney Uni Velo producing their own stellar performance, beating UCI-registered squad Roxsolt-Attaquer to complete the podium just a minute and 24 seconds down on ARA.

"We're all very pleased and happy with this result," said Anya Louw of her team's performance. "We went out there with a team plan, we all believed in each other and to pull it off is a great thing."

"The team time trial is one of those events where you're just on the limit the whole time, especially if you're the weakest rider who's left. Today there wasn't much wind at all which meant it was a very fast course. It was slightly harder on the way back, so we set a fast pace on the way out then tried to hold it on the way back to the finish.

ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast collaborates with the Australian high performance team and AusCycling, putting them at an advantage with riders who are used to doing team pursuits, athletes like Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Chloe Moran.

"Those girls are just so strong and this is what they're used to, this is what they love," said Louw. "It's great to have people in the team with the knowledge of this type of racing."  

Stuart Shaw, high performance director for the men's and women's programs, was over-the-moon with his team's showing. 

"This is a really great group of girls," said Shaw. "We haven't had much chance to race this year. This is a stage that we really wanted to do well in, they haven't these sort of stages for us this week.

"Really stoked to see how they came together and a great team effort. We had a strong team plan and everyone had a lot of input obviously collaborating with the team pursuit program it means they've done this a lot. We've got some really experienced riders in this and some really inexperienced riders. That teamed up really well and delivered well on what we planned."

The National Road Series will conclude with Sunday's road stages around Farrants Hill, 108 kilometres for the men and 68 kilometres for the women. Sarah Gigante and Brendan Johnston have nearly wrapped the individual NRS titles, but still could be mathematically be beaten by Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Jay Vine respectively. 

Team Bridgelane has secured the men's NRS title with their win today and Roxsolt-Attaquer hold a strong lead in the women's standings though it's not quite in the bag yet.