Road Race: Cadel Evans
The growth of cycling in Australia has followed in the draft of one man: Tour de France champion, Cadel Evans.
The Australian Cycling Championships Road Race was held around the steep climbs of Mt Buninyong. Evans was unrested and training hard leading into the event, finished second.
The quality of Australian cycling was displayed with Evans beaten in a sprint to the line by Simon Gerrans. Gerrans claimed his second elite men's road race title.
"It's a huge honour to be crowned Australian champion again this year. It makes it even more special with such a classy field this year, it's the who's who of Australian cycling" Gerrans commented.
Post-race, Evans explained his tactics that almost paid off. "Today was my best opportunity and I wanted to attack with 150 metres to go but I left it a bit late. I just couldn't accelerate anymore, I exhausted myself a bit too much early on."
In the Woman's race it was Gracie Elvin who has become the first woman in twenty years to claim back-to-back women's road races. In doing so, she equalled Olympic Gold Medallist Kathy Watt's performance (1992-1994).
Time Trial: Sustained suffering
One of highlights, for me, was watching the individual time trial: 45km of "riding as hard as you can handle."
The course was tough. Rough country roads, combined with rolling hills, low 30's temperatures and steady wind made for a strong men's/women's time trial. Averaging over 47km/hr, dual-reigning track world champion, Michael Hepburn won in 56min 25sec.
Victoria's own Felicity Wardlaw took victory in 38min 46sec for the 28km course (avg 43.3km/hr).
Watching the riders sustain this pace on such a tough course was an inspiration. The 2014 Cycling Road Nationals demonstrates that Australian riders are in a great position leading up to the European season, Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html