Cameron Ivory wins Australian elite men's criterium title with a late solo charge

Mountain biker Cameron Ivory (St George Continental Cycling Team) triumphed in the battle for the elite men's criterium at Australia's Federation University Road National Championships (opens in new tab), holding off the field with a late solo charge.

After a late break was caught, Ivory took the opportunity to take off alone just before the final lap. Flying through the corners at speed, the unexpected victor held off the pursuit, leaving enough time to sit up and look back as Alastair Christie-Johnston (Team BridgeLane) closed in to take second while Cameron Scott (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) came across the line in third.

"That was definitely unexpected," Ivory said in an interview on SBS immediately after the race. 

"I came in here not really knowing how the form would be, I know that I've done heaps of training into this, in good form, just maybe lacking a bit of leg speed. I felt a little bit sluggish out there but at the end I had an opportunity to go.

"I've actually sort of played that last lap in my mind in the past and I thought if this happens maybe I'll just have a dig and next thing you know I'm finding myself in that situation. That last lap was just a blur for me, I couldn't believe it was happening."

It is not the first time Ivory has won a national title, it’s just that his previous ones have come in the discipline of mountain biking. Still he has come in close to the front at the criterium before, finishing just off the podium in 2019.

The elite men rode 40 laps of a 1.1km hot dog course, racing 44 kilometres in the heart of the Victorian city of Ballarat. It was the second of three elite men’s titles up for grabs, with Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) securing the time trial title on Wednesday and the men’s road race closing out the event on Sunday.

While Ivory may have been an unexpected winner in the criterium, the unpredictability of the racing wasn’t a surprise. Particularly with the normally dominant BikeExchange-Jayco ending up fielding just one rider, it always looked set to be an extremely open race.

In the initial stages there were plenty of attacks as individual riders and small groups tried to get away. As the race progressed Ben Carman (Nero Continental) and Jean-Pierre van der Merwe (Team BridgeLane) eventually pulled out a gap but the peloton turned up the pace and stretched the field, bringing the riders within reach with seven laps to go.

Then it was another mountain biker lighting up the race, with Brendan Johnston on the attack and dragging a break of seven out the front which held as the laps trickled down until there were just two to go. 

When it too was swept up, the fatigue and splintered field presented an opportunity for Ivory, who had been leaping through the breaks and up to the front. He bravely decided it was time to go all in for the win as the count shifted down to one lap to go. 

He managed to stay away and win alone, the chasers only managing to close the gap as he celebrated to appear in the winner's shot.

“Thankfully it paid off,” said Ivory. 

“I kept glancing over my shoulder on that last lap down the descent thinking the bunch is about to come but I thankfully had a big enough gap.” 

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Pos.Rider Name (Team)Result
1Cameron Ivory (St George Continental Cycling Team) 1:01:03
2Alastair Christie-Johnston (Team BridgeLane) 0:00:02
3Cameron Scott (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast)
4Craig Wiggins (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast)
5Brenton Jones (Inform TMX Make)
6Jacob Langham (VA Pro Racing)
7Nick White (Team BridgeLane)
8Nick Pedler (NCMG Criterion Racing)
9Brendan Johnston
10Cooper Sayers (Nero Continental)
11Liam White (Oliver's Real Food Racing)
12Bentley Niquet-Olden (Oliver's Real Food Racing)
13Brendon Green (Cycling Development Foundation)
14Sam Jenner (Team BridgeLane)
15Nick Spratt (Penrith Cycling Club)
16Daniel Luke
17Scott Reynolds (NCMG Criterion Racing)
18Brodie Sims (Cycle House)
19Aidan Buttigieg (Nero Continental)
20Jason Thomason (Butterfields - Insurance Advisernet p/b van d'am Racing)
21Jean-Pierre van der Merwe (Team BridgeLane)
22Myles Stewart (Nero Continental)
23James Whelan (Team BridgeLane)
24Cyrus Monk (Cycle House)
25Dylan Lindsey (NCMG Criterion Racing)
26Ryan Cavanagh (Victoire Hiroshima)
27Zack Gilmore (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast)
28Jordan Villani (Victorian Institute of Sport)
29Adam Blazevic (Giant Racing)
30Tom Chapman (Team BridgeLane)
31Tasman Nankervis (st George Continental Cycling Team)
32Joshua Eden
33Lucas Hoffman (Whyalla Cycling Club)
34Tom Ovens (Geelong Cycling Club)
35Ben Carman (Nero Continental)
36Luke Burns (Inform TMX Make)
37Callum Scotson (BikeExchange-Jayco)
38Tom Chester (Team Rauland)
DNFThomas Clarke (Cycle House)
DNFJaxon King (Cycling Development Foundation)
DNFConor Leahy (Inform TMX Make)
DNFPatrick Lane (Inform TMX Make)
DNFBrandon Conway (NCMG Criterion Racing)
DNFHugo Thompson (NCMG Criterion Racing)
DNFKarl Michelin-Beard (Oliver's Real Food Racing)
DNFKai Chapman (Oliver's Real Food Racing)
DNFCallum Pearce (Onyva Racing)
DNFBen Spenceley (Team Rauland)
DNFSam Greenwood (Team Rauland)
DNFMichael Harris (Armidale CC)
DNFMichael Wellman
DNSCameron Meyer (BikeExchange-Jayco)
DNSDrew Morey (Team BridgeLane)
DNSRylee Field (Team BridgeLane)
DNSBrent Rees (Ncmg Criterion Racing)
DNSBen Hill (Canberra Cycling Club)
DNSDylan Sunderland (Global 6 Cycling)
DNSAston Freeth (SASI)

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Production editor

Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.

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