• Grace Brown wins the time trial at the Australian Road National Championships (Con Chronis/AusCycling)Source: Con Chronis/AusCycling
Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) and Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitanie Futuroscope) both made winning starts with their new teams for 2022, re-claiming titles that had been taken by others in recent years in the Australian Road National Championships time trial.
By
SBS Cycling Central

12 Jan - 7:59 PM  UPDATED 12 Jan - 8:27 PM

Brown won the National title in 2019, but had relinquished the title to Sarah Gigante (Movistar) in recent years. With Gigante out due to her recovery from myopericarditis, Brown was the overwhelming favourite and proved the truth of that status over the 28.6 kilometre course.

She rode to a comfortable victory over second-placed Amber Pate (InForm TMX Make), who finished on the elite time trial podium for the first time in her career, a minute and one second adrift. Lisa Jacob (Knights of Suburbia) finished in third.

Rohan Dennis also made a return to the top step of the podium in the race against the clock, the fourth national time trial elite title of his career as the two-time world champion was able to overcome rival Luke Durbridge (Team BikeExchange) and Conor Leahy (Inform TMX MAKE) to win by a sizeable margin. 

Dennis' time of 45 minutes and 33 seconds over the 37.5 kilometre course was good enough to secure victory by a minute and 13 seconds over Durbridge, with Leahy a further 35 seconds behind.

Under 23 time trials

Anya Louw (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) was the winner of the women's Under 23 time trial in a time of 43 minutes and thirty-one seconds, held over the same course and at the same time as the elite women. Alyssa Polites (Sydney Uni Staminade) finished second, with last year's winner Emily Watt (Knights of Suburbia) in third.

The Under 23 men saw Carter Turnbull (Inform TMX MAKE) claim back-to-back titles in the category, in a time forty seconds slower than his ride the previous season. He held off Matt Dinham (Team Bridgelane) by 37 seconds, with Zac Marriage (Team Bridgelane) 57 seconds off Turnbulls pace.

The Under 23 road race will be shown live for the first time in national championships history, with the battle between powerhouse squads of Inform TMX MAKE and Team Bridgelane sure to be an entertaining one. Watch it on SBS On Demand from 1530-1700 AEDT on Saturday.

Para-Cycling

Facing a strong breeze under cloudy skies, 56 starters – including 11 of Australia’s 12 cyclists at the Tokyo Paralympic Games – contested the time trials for para-cycling, cyclists with intellectual impairment, transplant cyclists and deaf cyclists.

Riders took on courses between 16.9 and 28.6 kilometres in length around Federation University’s Mount Helen Campus.

Para-Cycling time trial highlights

In their first outing since Tokyo, Paralympic medalists David Nicholas (Bathurst CC), Carol Cooke (St Kilda CC), Paige Greco (Port Adelaide CC), Amanda Reid (St George CC), Emily Petricola (St Kilda CC) and Darren Hicks (Norwood CC) put their names on this year’s list of champions.

Carol Cooke (T2 Women): “It hurt like hell. The hill was really bad. I am only about 70 per cent fit since coming back from my crash in Tokyo, so it was just about coming out and getting back on the horse, as you say, and see what I could do.

“It is awesome to be racing. We had no racing anywhere after last year’s Nationals through until Tokyo, so it is great to have this, and everybody is being so COVID-aware. To be able to put it on is fantastic.”

Darren Hicks (C2 Men): “Today was a little better than I was expecting; really good numbers, good speed, difficult day with the wind, but overall, I am really happy.

“It is one of the biggest crowds we have had at a Nationals for a long time, and given the circumstances, that is incredible. It is really cool to see para get a foothold again and enjoying it.

“I try not to think too much about winning gold in Tokyo. That is in the past. We are now getting back into racing mode in 2022, regroup and start earning points towards Paris.”

The men’s blind or visually impaired category came down to the tightest of margins, with Daniel Searle (Albury-Wodonga CC) besting Kevin O’Meley (Southern Highlands CC) by just 3.5 seconds – reversing last year’s result in which O’Meley won by less than 3 seconds.

For the first time, AusCycling hosted championships for riders in the transplant community, a milestone in the growth of Australian cycling’s inclusiveness. Matthew Spencer (St Kilda CC) and Tamaryn Stevens (Coburg CC) – both recipients of kidney transplants – claimed the top step.

Tamaryn Stevens (Transplant Women): “It was a hilly course which is always challenging for me, but I think once I got over the hills – yeah, the wind was there – but I was more focused on just riding in those areas.

“The kidney is new so [my goal is] getting back to some sort of fitness. Those who have seen me around know I’m sort of just on the edge; I can ride with the bunch for three laps and then I’m gone, so it’s mostly to get this kidney settled in and to get back to fitness.

“It was great to just ride, and Matt [Spencer] and I are friends, so it was great to come out here and celebrate the Nationals.”

The third championship for athletes with an intellectual impairment saw Nathan Broeren (Brunswick CC) win his second title and Georgia Powning (Preston CC) complete a hat-trick of time trial victories.

Reece-Emerson Van Beek (VOGA CC) won the men’s championship for deaf cyclists.