South Australia's Damien Howson has won the opening event of the 2013 Cycling Australia Road National Championships, the Under 23 men's 29.2km time trial on a new, closed and improved course at Lake Wendouree.
The 20-year-old claimed the title in a time off 34:42.18 ahead of Alex Morgan (Vic) and Campbell Flakemore (Tas).
Howson and Flakemore had claimed the silver and bronze medals respectively in the event in 2012 with Wednesday's result confirmation of their pedigree.
"I've been really focusing on this event for a while now, so I'm so happy and relieved to have it go my way this time," said an excited Howson after his win.
"Heading around the lake was really tough, it's so open and the wind is coming off the water at different speeds – it blew me across the road a fair bit.
"(But) I knew what I had to do and no matter what the conditions on the course, a time trial is a time trial, so the strongest man wins," Howson explained," he added.
Howson has a full week of racing ahead of him before lining up at the Tour Down Under with the Australian National Team. The SASI rider will race tomorrow's criterium held in the centre of Ballarat before travelling just a short distance for the road race in Buninyong on Saturday.
"Competing at the Tour Down Under in my hometown of Adelaide will be a really exciting time for me. I'm really looking forward to the challenge there, Howson remarked.
Thirty-six riders lined up for the event, with 2010 and 2012 champion Rohan Dennis now riding in the elite category. Fergus Sully (Vic) was first man out of the start house, setting a time of 39:53.42 which was quickly surpassed by Mitch Mulhern two riders later with 36:43.84.
Recent winner of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour Prologue, Jordan Kerby (Qld) continued his good form dropping the benchmark by another second (35:43.47).
The 21-year-old's time first came under threat by Alex Morgan (Vic) with a split of 21:37.36 and then again from Damien Howson (SA) 21:30.11 who was runner-up to Dennis last January. It was a warning that Kerby should get ready to move with the pair eventually displacing him and Howson averaging 50.5km/h for his gold medal-winning effort. Flakemore, the penultimate man out of the start house, couldn't catch his minute man Howson, with his time resulting in the bronze medal.
"Last year I was surprised with the podium, but this year I was aiming to get on the podium, he said. "I knew there was some classy riders here so to get third I am really happy," said Flakemore.
Morgan was oh-so-close to taking the national title but the Jayco-VIS epresentative will have a few more chances in the coming years.
"I had saved a bit for the finish but couldn’t quite bring it home fast enough to beat Damien," Morgan lamented. "I can’t complain though, this was my first Under 23 road time trial and I’m very happy to come so close and to win a silver medal.
"My goal on the road in 2013 is to make the Australian team for worlds, so hopefully finishing second today helped with that," Morgan added.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Damien Howson (SA)||0:34:42.18|
|2||Alexander Morgan (Vic)||0:00:01.79|
|3||Campbell Flakemore (Tas)||0:00:38.38|
|4||Jordan Kerby (Qld)||0:01:01.29|
|5||Jack Haig (Vic)||0:01:19.78|
|6||Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (ACT)||0:01:33.46|
|7||Alex Clements (Tas)||0:01:55.84|
|8||Mitchell Mulhern (Qld)||0:02:01.66|
|9||Aaron Donnelly (NSW)||0:02:02.15|
|10||Harry Carpenter (SA)||0:02:11.73|
|11||Adam Phelan (ACT)||0:02:13.72|
|12||Samuel Spokes (NSW)||0:02:39.65|
|13||Matthew Clark (Vic)||0:02:41.76|
|14||James Boal (Vic)||0:03:01.58|
|15||Jesse Kerrison (Qld)||0:03:04.06|
|16||Mitchell Cooper (Vic)||0:03:18.87|
|17||Luke Ockerby (Tas)||0:03:28.62|
|18||Alex Wohler (Qld)||0:03:33.12|
|19||Jay Dutton (NSW)||0:04:03.12|
|20||David Edwards (Qld)||0:04:05.67|
|21||Rylee Field (NSW)||0:04:17.31|
|22||Alexander Hoffman (Qld)||0:04:19.38|
|23||Fraser Northey (SA)||0:04:30.63|
|24||Scott Mcphee (SA)||0:04:41.29|
|25||Jordan Davies (NSW)||0:04:50.80|
|26||Ivan Michelin-Beard (ACT)||0:04:58.23|
|27||Fergus Sully (Vic)||0:05:11.24|
|28||Ben Cutajar (Qld)||0:05:30.14|
|29||Jesse Ewart (NSW)||0:05:38.57|
|30||Douglas Freeburn (Qld)||0:05:52.06|
|31||Justin Vanstone (Qld)||0:06:28.69|
|32||Joshua Cornish (NSW)||0:06:33.61|
|33||Blaise Bourke (Vic)||0:06:50.94|
|34||Matthew Slee (NSW)||0:06:55.24|
|35||Karl Michelin-Beard (NSW)||0:07:08.62|
|DNS||Timothy Cameron (ACT)|
|DNS||Bradley Linfield (WA)|
|DNS||Thomas Hamilton (Vic)|
|DNS||Jake Mcmahon (Tas)|
|DNS||Dimitry Makeev (Vic)|
|DNS||Peter Loft (Tas)|
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