Dual-reigning track world champion Michael Hepburn (ORICA-GreenEDGE) has captured an elusive national road title with victory in the time trial at the MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Burrumbeet this afternoon.
It was a clean sweep for the ORICA-GreenEDGE team, with Hepburn (56:25.90) joined by his two-time defending champion Luke Durbridge (56:37.52) and recent recruit, under 23 world champion Damien Howson (58:32.20).
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think about winning,” said a stunned Hepburn post race. “I don’t think I’ve ever beaten Luke in a time-trial, [but] I felt like I was on a good one.
“I knew at the half-way check point that I was a little bit down on Luke and I just tried to come home strong and luckily that was enough.
Sporting the new ORICA-GreenEDGE outfit unveiled in Melbourne on Tuesday, Hepburn powered around the 45 kilometre course, passing a number of the riders who had left before him.
“I counted about 8 or 9 (riders passed), the first guy was Will Clarke and he was one minute ahead of me. (So then) I knew he would be doing a decent ride so at that point it does motivate you and I knew I must be making some good ground.
“The more guys you can catch the better,” he laughed.
Silver medalist Durbridge (WA), looking to claim a third consecutive title, was disappointed but lauded praise on his team mate and friend.
“I thought I gave it everything and thought my everything was going to be enough today, but it wasn’t so obviously Heppy was on a super ride,” Durbridge commented.
“I was going as hard as I can, I wasn’t sitting back on my laurels.
“Full credit to Hepburn he’s a great time traillist, I’m really proud of the guy he’s one of my best friends,” added Durbridge.
Howson (SA), the reigning under 23 world, Oceania and national time trial champion, was pleased to have found the podium in his debut race in the elite ranks and with the ORICA-GreenEDGE outfit.
“I’m pretty happy to be on the podium and to share it with two teammates at my first race with ORICA-GreenEDGE,” Howson said. “I’m very happy with the bronze medal today.
“I haven’t ridden a race since the world championships so I wasn’t too sure where the form was at.
“Hopefully next year I can come back bigger and stronger and take it to the two mates I shared the podium with today,” Howson remarked.
South Australian Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) crashed out of the race after a strong wind gust knocked him to the ground. Dennis is expected to line up for Sunday men’s road race on January 12.
(2014) - Men's Elite Individual Time Trial
|1.||5||Michael HEPBURN (QLD)||56:25.90|
|2.||1||Luke DURBRIDGE (WA)||56:37.52||+11.6|
|3.||4||Damien HOWSON (SA)||58:32.20||+2:06.3|
|4.||77||Ben DYBALL (NSW)||59:01.69||+2:35.7|
|5.||19||William CLARKE (TAS)||59:17.12||+2:51.2|
|6.||42||Timothy ROE (SA)||59:36.97||+3:11.0|
|7.||40||Marc WILLIAMS (ACT)||1h00:27.36||+4:01.4|
|8.||59||Matthew CLARK (VIC)||1h00:43.58||+4:17.6|
|9.||20||Jack ANDERSON (QLD)||1h00:54.48||+4:28.5|
|10.||38||Jacob KAUFFMANN (NSW)||1h01:06.21||+4:40.3|
|11.||72||Nicholas SQUILLARI (VIC)||1h01:23.55||+4:57.6|
|12.||78||Aaron DONNELLY (NSW)||1h01:26.79||+5:00.8|
|13.||39||Michael CUPITT (ACT)||1h01:30.27||+5:04.3|
|14.||37||Michael GALLAGHER (VIC)||1h01:31.54||+5:05.6|
|15.||91||Rhys GILLETT (VIC)||1h01:34.50||+5:08.6|
|16.||121||Jayden COPP (QLD)||1h01:57.88||+5:31.9|
|17.||116||Peter MILOSTIC (NSW)||1h02:14.15||+5:48.2|
|18.||118||Michael FREIBERG (WA)||1h02:25.97||+6:00.0|
|19.||92||Nathan ELLIOTT (VIC)||1h03:05.72||+6:39.8|
|20.||21||Lachlan NORRIS (VIC)||1h03:15.59||+6:49.6|
|21.||41||Brodie TALBOT (NSW)||1h03:17.09||+6:51.1|
|22.||102||Nicholas WOOD (SA)||1h03:49.66||+7:23.7|
|23.||67||Duncan HOUSTON (NSW)||1h04:03.49||+7:37.5|
|24.||103||Mark CRAWFORD (NSW)||1h04:22.97||+7:57.0|
|25.||119||Tyson CHAMBERS (VIC)||1h04:46.28||+8:20.3|
|26.||76||Benjamin JOHNSON (VIC)||1h04:47.60||+8:21.7|
|27.||66||Kyle BRIDGWOOD (QLD)||1h05:28.82||+9:02.9|
|28.||120||Mark FAGG (VIC)||1h06:43.66||+10:17.7|
|29.||112||David KELLY (VIC)||1h07:10.28||+10:44.3|
|30.||123||Rick WOOLFE (SA)||1h09:06.04||+12:40.1|
|31.||110||Jacob SUTHERLAND (VIC)||1h09:30.57||+13:04.6|
|32.||100||Reece VAN BEEK (VIC)||1h09:48.71||+13:22.8|
|33.||65||David FAIRBURN (VIC)||1h12:08.59||+15:42.6|
|35.||111||Christopher MCKAY (VIC)||1h13:31.66||+17:05.7|
|36.||124||Brett COTTEE (NSW)||1h26:40.32||+30:14.4|
|dnf||14||Rohan DENNIS (SA)|
|dnf||33||Thomas DONALD (QLD)|
|dnf||117||Mark FACEY (VIC)|
|dns||87||Stuart GRIMSEY (VIC)|
- Average speed of the winner: 47.8 km/h
- Number of starters: 39
- Riders abandoning the race: 3