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Australian Road Championships: Durbridge again beats Dennis to defend elite men's time trial title

Second-placed Rohan Dennis (Team Ineos), winner Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) and third-placed Chris Harper of Jumbo-Visma on the podium following the elite men's time trial at the 2020 Australian Road Championships
Second-placed Rohan Dennis (Team Ineos), winner Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) and third-placed Chris Harper of Jumbo-Visma on the podium following the elite men's time trial at the 2020 Australian Road Championships (Image credit: Con Chronis / Zac Williams)

Mitchelton-Scott's Luke Durbridge won the elite men's time trial at the 2020 Australian Road Championships in Ballarat, Victoria, on Wednesday evening, again bettering time trial world champion Rohan Dennis (Team Ineos) – this year by 18 seconds – to defend the title he took last year.

Chris Harper – who made the step up to WorldTour level with Jumbo-Visma for 2020 – finished in third place, somewhat off the pace of the top two over the 37.5km course, another 1:34 down on Dennis.

How it unfolded

The second man to start, St Kilda's Nick Bensley, set an excellent marker of 51:38, and wouldn't be unseated until Drew Morey (Terengganu Cycling Team) – midway down the list of 29 starters – overhauled him by some way to record 50:27, who in turn gave way to Team Sapura's Marcus Culey, who became the first rider to duck under the 50-minute mark with 49:01.

From there, with the WorldTour riders starting to come home, the times quickly plummeted, with Mitchelton-Scott's Damien Howson lowering the best time to 48:52, which would eventually give him sixth place.

Harper, with only Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott), new Cofidis signing Nathan Haas, Durbridge and Dennis to come behind him, then recorded his 48:11 to take the race lead, which would eventually give him third place.

Race favourite Dennis, as last man off, started fast, and appeared to initially have the measure of defending champion Durbridge, who had started one place in front of the world champion.

However, the tide turned soon after the halfway mark, where just three tenths of a second separated the two riders at the time check as the riders headed out for a second lap of the 18.8km course.

As Durbridge tightened the screw, the outcome soon became inevitable for the second year in a row, and the 28-year-old eventually came home for what was an emphatic victory over his WorldTour counterpart.

More to come

Full results
1Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:46:19
2Rohan Dennis (Aus) Team Ineos0:00:18
3Chris Harper (Aus) Jumbo-Visma0:01:52
4Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:02:04
5Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis0:02:11
6Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:02:33
7Marcus Culey (Aus) Team Sapura Cycling0:02:42
8Jordan Villani (Aus) Subaru-Giant0:02:55
9Michael Freiberg (Aus) Pro Racing Sunshine Coast0:03:05
10Dylan Sunderland (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling0:03:38
11Drew Morey (Aus) Terengganu Cycling Team0:04:08
12Callum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:04:14
13Angus Lyons (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing0:04:40
14Nicholas Squillari (Aus) Geelong Cycling Club0:04:50
15Peter Milostic (Aus) Penrith Cycling Club0:04:55
16Nick Bensley (Aus) St Kilda Cycling Club0:05:19
17Harrison Bailey (Aus) GPM-Stulz0:06:09
18Antonino Calabro (Aus) Hamilton Wheelers Cycling Club0:06:13
19Cameron Fraser (Aus) Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club0:06:15
20Lucas Hoffman (Aus) Whyalla Cycling Club0:06:18
21Matthew Byrne (Aus) Tasmania0:06:21
22Patrick Saccani-Williams (Aus) South Perth Cycling Club0:06:50
23Sam Greenwood (Aus) Hawthorn Cycling Club0:07:22
24Christopher Ball (Aus) Manly Warringha Cycling Club0:08:13
25Stuart Grieve (Aus) Northern Sydney Cycling Club0:09:11
26Paul Speed (Aus) St Kilda Cycling Club0:09:46
27Francois Balland (Aus) St Kilda Cycling Club0:10:54
28Jock McOrist (Aus) Armidale Cycling Club0:11:31
29Simon Pearce (Aus) Beach Road Cycling Club0:12:56
DNSSamuel Jenner (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNSBenjamin Cureton (Aus) Brunswick Cycling Club

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