Australian Road Championships: Thomas Benton wins men's U23 road race

Thomas Benton (InForm TMX Make) wins the Australian U23 road race title
(Image credit: Con Chronis)

Thomas Benton (InForm TMX Make) won the under 23 road race at the 2021 Federation University Road National Championships, coming across the line solo after heading off with a break of five on the very first lap.

It was also a clean sweep of the podium for the InForm TMX Make team, with Rudy Porter second and Carter Turnbull third. Saturday’s 139.2 kilometre race, starting and finishing in Buninyong, was the final opportunity at the Australian Road Championships for the under 23 men to claim a title and it was one Benton, who usually rides for others, was determined not to let slip between his fingers.

“I still can’t believe it. It is sinking in slowly. I didn’t think it would be possible to stay away all day. Just the support of my team everyone saying you can do this got me over the line and I’m amazed,” said Benton.

The break started with five riders, fell to three and then by the second last climb Benton went solo. His former breakaway companions were swept up in that final lap while the 21-year-old rider managed to hold off the closing field and win the under 23 title, making the most of the team plan that saw him taking his chances in the early break.

“It suits me being on the pedals all day rather than sitting in the bunch and hitting it the last few laps. That was the plan. We didn’t know if it would stay away but that was my part of the play and it clearly couldn’t have gone any better,” said Benton.

How it unfolded

The under 23 riders lined up early Saturday afternoon to take on a course that runs twelve times around a loop including a climb up Mount Buninyong and a technical section through Federation University. Little time was wasted establishing the break of Benton, Zack Gilmore (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast), Connor Sens, Robert Parker (Onyva Racing) and Luke Deasey (Rauland).

It was just a small gap for a start but had grown to over a minute by the fourth lap. It then fluctuated throughout the race at times reaching near three minutes and at other times dropping back rapidly as the speed ramped up in the rapidly dwindling peloton.

“In the middle of the race the break looked like it was coming back and I thought that’s day over but we stuck at it,” said Benton.

The break fell from five to four when Deasey was dropped and then Parker too went off the back. When the remaining trio of Benton, Gilmore and Sens started to take on the final two laps the advantage was floating around one minute. That was when Benton noticed the gaps between the wheels starting to appear and, as the road started to go up, decided it was time to make his run at the title alone.

“At two laps to go I sort of hit the rest of the other guys and the gap was a minute and a half over the climb and I just thought, just get over the climb once more and it’ll be mine,” said Benton.

Benton stayed out the front as his two remaining breakaway companions were swept up in the final lap. He came over the line 25 seconds ahead of his nearest rivals which, when looking back after celebrating victory, he was ecstatic to see were two of his teammates, Porter and Turnbull, who had leapt out of the bunch and rode to the line together.

It was the second under 23 title for the team at the Australian Road Championships, with Turnbull also claiming the under 23 time trial on Wednesday. The same day, his 20-year-old teammate, Luke Plapp, also won the elite time trial. 

The final titles at the Australian Road Championships will be awarded on Sunday, with the elite and under 23 women racing together before the elite men’s race concludes the event.


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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thomas Benton (Aus) 3:33:59
2Rudy Porter (Aus) 0:00:25
3Carter Turnbull (Aus)
4Jensen Plowright (Aus) 0:00:42
5Cooper Sayers (Aus)
6Bailey Walters (Aus)
7Ben Metcalfe (Aus) 0:00:45
8Dylan Hopkins (Aus)
9Godfrey Slattery (Aus) 0:01:26
10Matthew Dinham (Aus)
11Will Moloney-morton (Aus)
12Rhys Robotham (Aus)
13Connor Sens (Aus)
14Zachary Johnson (Aus)
15Sebastian Barrett (Aus)
16Jasper Albrecht (Aus) 0:01:43
17David Williams (Aus)
18Sam Fox (Aus)
19Alastair Mackellar (Aus)
20Timothy Harvey (Aus)
21Terance Hore (Aus)
22Riley Fleming (Aus) 0:01:47
23Declan Trezise (Aus)
24Matthew Harvey (Aus)
25Connor Reardon (Aus) 0:02:49
26Mitchell Couper (Aus) 0:03:50
27Daniel Siwek (Aus)
28Zac Barnhill (Aus)
29Elliot Schultz (Aus) 0:05:36
30Zack Gilmore (Aus) 0:05:54
31Brady Gilmore (Aus) 0:06:47
32Stinus Kaempe (Aus) 0:08:21
33Adam Blazevic (Aus) 0:08:28
34Patrick Eddy (Aus)
35Alex Bogna (Aus)
36Brandon Conway (Aus) 0:08:58
37Domenic Paolilli (Aus) 0:09:41
38Myles Stewart (Aus)
39Tristan Saunders (Aus)
40Jarred Clarke (Aus)
41Robert Parker (Aus)
42James Forbes (Aus) 0:10:32
43Conor Leahy (Aus) 0:10:34
44Jack Marshall (Aus)
45James Moriarty (Aus)
46Tom Cheesman (Aus)
47Chase Costello-manning (Aus)
48Matthew Fox (Aus)
49Jason Woodard (Aus)
50Liam Johnston (Aus)
51Craig Wiggins (Aus)
52Spencer Evans (Aus)
53Luke Britten (Aus) 0:15:00
54Aidan Filshie (Aus)
55Xavier Cooper (Aus)
56Daniel di Domenico (Aus)
57Joshua Brodie (Aus)
58Fintan Conway (Aus) 0:30:00
59Campbell Jones (Aus)
60Piper Albrecht (Aus)
61James Farley (Aus)
62Lachlan Harrigan (Aus)
63Bryce Lanigan (Aus)
64Benjamin Spenceley (Aus) 0:45:00
65Zach Larsson (Aus)
66Luke Roper (Aus)
67Tynan Shannon (Aus)
68Zachary Marshall (Aus) 1:00:00
69Luke Deasey (Aus)
70Christopher Mcinnes (Aus)
71Byron Woods (Aus)
72Liam Walsh (Aus) 1:15:00
73Lachie Sky (Aus)
74Rohan Haydon-smith (Aus)
75Riley Helmore (Aus)
76Henry Dietze (Aus)
77Tom Sharp (Aus)
78Graeme Frislie (Aus)
79Joseph Inglis (Aus) 1:30:00
80Jack Schouten (Aus)
81James Grogan (Aus)
82Oskar Moore (Aus)
83Mackenzie Edwardson (Aus) 1:45:00
84Griffin Knight (Aus)
85Harrison Morley (Aus)
86Ben Patrick (Aus) 2:05:00
87Zach Owen (Aus)
DSQLiam Edwards (Aus)
DNFBlake Agnoletto (Aus)
DNFJosh Duffy (Aus)
DNFBlake Quick (Aus)
DNFEdwin Britts (Aus)
DNFKai Chapman (Aus)
DNFKurt Eather (Aus)
DNFJack Sykes (Aus)
DNFTaylor Forrest (Aus)
DNFFinely Moutter (Aus)
DNFDuncan Allen (Aus)
DNFStephen Cuff (Aus)
DNFSamuel Eddy (Aus)
DNFMatthew Rice (Aus)
DNFWill Golding (Aus)
DNFBill Simpson (Aus)
DNFMichael Beatson (Aus)
DNFDevraj Grewal (Aus)
DNFAmarni Drake (Aus)
DNFJesse Norton (Aus)
DNFJared Madsen (Aus)
DNFJude Dodd (Aus)
DNFTom Lynch (Aus)
DNFIsaac Buckell (Aus)
DNFMarcus Cain (Aus)
DNFDakota Cooper (Aus)
DNFJoshua Davis (Aus)
DNFJonathan Farley (Aus)
DNFMackenzie Hastings (Aus)
DNFAidan Hill (Aus)
DNFJaxon King (Aus)
DNFJonathan Marr (Aus)
DNFHarry Nankervis (Aus)
DNFLiam Pino (Aus)
DNFAndrew Rigoni (Aus)
DNFBrenton Ryan (Aus)
DNFLachlan Sinclair (Aus)
DNFJarrod Williams (Aus)
DNFJuan Pierre van der Merwe (Aus)
DNFWill Thomas (Aus)

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