• Carter Turnbull of Inform TMX MAKE wins the Under 23 men's time trial at the nation road championships in Ballarat. (Jamie Finch-Penninger)Source: Jamie Finch-Penninger
Carter Turnbull (Inform TMX MAKE) proved the strongest in a sharp test in the men's Under 23 ranks, beating home teammate Conor Leahy and Pat Eddy (Team Bridgelane) to win the time trial at Federation University. Sarah Gigante won the women's Under 23 title as well as the elite title, beating Emily Watts (KOM-Knights) and Anya Louw (ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast).
By
Jamie Finch-Penninger

3 Feb 2021 - 10:29 PM 

Turnbull turned in a dominant time on the 28.6km course in a time of 36 minutes 50.52 secs to claim the gold medal, 45 seconds ahead of Leahy (InForm TMX Make) and another 55 seconds ahead of first year Under-23 Patrick Eddy (Team BridgeLane). 

The result was the biggest in the career of the 21-year-old who represented Australia at the 2018 Junior World Championships.  

“I was pretty happy with that," said Turnbull. "I enjoyed the course from last year so I was looking forward to the race coming into it. I had good pacing and it was good fun out there.

"Running third last year and the top two not racing, I thought I was a good chance but to produce it on the day it feels much better."

Turnbull had been one of the favourites coming into the race, with Plapp racing (and winning) in the elites after taking out the category last year and second-placed Kell O'Brien also moving up to the open ranks. Turnbull's also noted as a strong climber, and the road race could well suit his attributes, as he showed in his 7th placed finish in 2020.

"First up is Sunday, the road race, just going to give that the best crack I can," said Turnbull. "With Covid and everything, we lost so much racing after February so I’m keen to pick up where we left off."

Polites and Miller claim junior time trial titles
Lachlan Miller and Alyssa Polites (Sydney Uni Staminade) claimed the men's and women's junior time trial titles respectively on the opening day of competition in Ballarat.
Plapp dethrones Durbridge with massive ride for TT title
The 20-year-old came into the time trial with a lot of hype around his performance at the Santos Festival of Cycling, but few were expecting him to dominate his competition in such stellar fashion, finishing over a minute ahead of four-time champion Luke Durbridge (Team BikeExchange) and Kell O'Brien (Inform TMX MAKE).
Gigante just beats out Brown for time trial title
Sarah Gigante (TIBCO-SVB) completed a successful defence of her 2020 Australian time trial title, beating out Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) by 17 seconds in a tough tussle for the honour of wearing the green and gold for 2021, with Nicole, Frain (Sydney Uni Staminade) in third.

Turnbull is considered a rising talent within Australian cycling, with the result today confirming that ability. Clearly, Turnbull fared better than most through lockdown, improving his ability on the bike through a season bereft of substantial racing, a thought he backed up.

"I found it a lot better than I thought," said Turnbull. "For me, I sort of just faced every day as it was in lockdown. Time went pretty quick and motivation wasn’t too bad."

Gigante's stomping ride for the elite win also garnered her the Under 23 title, as they were held over the same course, winning by over four minutes from Emily Watts and Anya Louw.

Watts got a puncture out of the gate and was allowed to get a restart by officials, starting as the final rider and just coming in under Louw's time, with Maeve Plouffe (ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) the unlucky one shunted to fourth. 

SBS brings you the Australian National Road Championships
SBS Cycling Central will bring you the major action from the 2021 Federation University Australia Road Cycling National Championships, with a combination of livestreaming and live television coverage of the elite road races on Sunday.