• Alyssa Polites of Sydney Uni-Staminade wins the road at the Australian Road National Championships ahead of Lucy Stewart and Isabelle Carnes (Jamie Finch-Penninger)Source: Jamie Finch-Penninger
Polites claimed the road race-time trial double with a fabulous solo win at in the junior womens national road race, with Dylan George claiming the win in the men's juniors with a sprint from a reduced group to claim victory.
By
Jamie Finch-Penninger

6 Feb 2021 - 3:34 PM  UPDATED 6 Feb 2021 - 3:40 PM

It was a bold attack with still over 30 kilometres to race that saw Alyssa Polites (Sydney Uni-Staminade) claim the road race to go with her time trial title earlier in the week.

"I didn't intend to go with three or two and a half to go," said Polites. "I'd have preffered to go with two or one and half laps left. But I saw the opportunity and luckily enough I got away.

"I was just trying to hold my tempo, I wasn't expecting to get away solo, I was pretty happy.

Polites backed up from her time trial win on Wednesday with the road win, her first in the win in the blue riband event after claiming the silver in 2020.

"Last year I was second to my teammate Haylee Fuller," said Polites. "I kind of stuffed up the sprint, so I was really wanted to get it right for this one.

"It was my goal to just get on the podium this year, my dream was to get the double gold."

Polites is beginning university this year and will balance further cycling ambitions with her education. Australian track nationals are the next target, with Polites the holder of the Australia record in the two-kilometre pursuit.

The 18-year-old hasn't committed to either the track or the road yet, keeping her options open.

"Ideally both, I'm not too sure yet, we'll see where it takes us," said Polites when asked which she'd favour.

It was a much reduced group after just a few laps of racing on the 69.6-kilometre race around the Mt Buninyong circuit when Alyssa Polites attacked from the peloton, immediately gaining an advantage and never looking back.

Eloise Sandow (Norwood Cycling Club) chased solo to try and bridge over to the escaped Polities but her lead was already out to 42 seconds the first time through the start/finish and she continued to stretch her out her lead as Sandow was caught from behind by the remnants of the field.

Polites winning margin was massive in the end, finishing with a two minute and 47 second gap on a chasing group of three, led home for second by criterium winner Lucy Stewart (Carnegie-Caulfield), with Isabella Carnes (Balmoral) third.

The junior men's race came down to a select group of eight that battled it out for the victory. An early break had been brought back and the attacks with over two laps to go formed a lead group of eight that couldn't be split despite aggressive racing in the finale of the 104.4-kilometre route.

In the dash to the finish it was Dylan George (Team Bridgelane) who took the win, surging clear of the group to finish the winner after a long sprint to the line, with Zac Marriage (Butterfields-InsuranceNet) second and Aiden Sinclair (Oliver's Real Food Racing) third.

"I'm pretty ecstatic to be honest," said George. "There was a bit of pressure after the time trial (where George was second) and I was a bit of a marked man in the road race.

"After just missing out in the time trial - it was neck and neck until I got a flat tyre - I'm really happy to get at least one green and gold jersey for the week."

George was part of an elite group that formed off the front of the race, and managed cramps along with his rivals for the win to claim his maiden road title.

"I was cramping a bit on the last lap," said George, "I wanted to go earlier but I couldn't go with it early. Aiden opened up (the sprint) pretty early and it was just spinning really hard with junior gears and it was a drag race to the line.

"When you're going that hard at the end of a 100-kilometre race the adrenaline rush is pretty high. You feel the pain but forget it afterwards."

George is in Year 12 in high school and had to balance his nationals campaign with his schooling.

"This week has been the first week back at school, so it's been busy everyday doing a bit of school work," said George. "I'll get back into the swing of it after this."

The race was a surprisingly controlled affair for a junior race, with the early break getting established and then brought back for the favourites to fight out the win.

The early break saw a solo move of Harry Jones (Canberra Cycling Club) joined by criterium winner Cameron Rogers (Canberra Cycling Club) and Tarun Cook (Blackburn Cycling Club). The trio enjoyed a maximum lead of 1'40 with four laps to go, but their lead went down quickly as the peloton woke up behind and drove the gap down.

The trio had 51 seconds with three laps left as cook was dropped and returned to the peloton to set a hard tempo to catch his former companions.

A strong group of eight including Luke Tuckwell, George, Tyler Tomkinson, Marriage, James Panizza, Lachlan Miller, Ronan Teese and Sinclair formed at the front of the race, with all but Tuckwell going on to contest the final sprint in Buninyong.