Plapp won Stage 2 of the Santos Festival of Cycling, the replacement event for the Tour Down Under. He then looked the strongest on the Willunga Hill summit finish as he clapped Richie Porte over the line after catching the Australian star climber, riding on the same team as Plapp, in the final kilometre of the climb.
Plapp is a member of the Australian Olympic track endurance squad and was named as the youngest member of the Olympics squad in 2020 with the Games being postponed to 2021.
He's had good performances on the road in the past, winning the Under 23 time trial at nationals in 2020, and taking out a stage of the National Road Series for Inform TM Insight MAKE at the Tour of the Tropics. His results at the Santos Festival of Cycling came against WorldTour competition, albeit not the normal Tour Down Under and it turned heads from WorldTour suitors.
"Yes, I had five really serious ones and then a few others who have just enquired," said Plapp in an interview with CyclingTips, confirming that it had been a whirlwind experience. "Yeah, pretty much straight overnight. The last two days the phone’s just been going crazy."
Plapp will tackle the Australian road national championships in Ballarat next week, but rather than tackle the Under 23 category, where he'd be the unbackable favourite in the time trial and road race, Plapp will race in the elite category.
"Yep, so we head off to Road Nationals next week and I’m going to give elite Nationals a crack," said Plapp. "That was a last-minute decision that happened yesterday. Richie (Porte) suggested I should give it a crack and see how I go. I spoke to a few others and we agreed that it would be alright.
"And then after that, we race the Warrny [the Melbourne to Warrnambool], which will be pretty interesting, considering we haven’t really trained at all for a road race, let alone 280 km. And then after that, I guess it’s really up in the air."
Plapp has a long list of options with WorldTour landing spots, with an agent handling negotiations, but Plapp himself having clear ideas about the sort of team that he'd like to ride for.
"A lot of it’s around the culture," said Plapp. "I think the money for me is not everything. It’s about having a long career and getting opportunities as well.
"So having the culture and the right people around you, but also the right R&D. So a big thing to me would be around having as good equipment as possible rather than maybe a team that doesn’t have as good equipment.
"You can obviously see the teams that have the best equipment and that’d be the dream and as well as learning from the best riders possibly that you can.
"I feel like I really look up to guys and I aspire to be like them. So if I could be around them, I think that’d help elevate me quicker and to become hopefully a better rider. And it always helps having a couple of Aussies on a team. That would be ideal."
Whatever the future holds for Plapp, it will be intriguing watching the Brunswick cycling club product continue to develop his prodigious ability.