A day out from the under 23 road race, there were murmurs the race wouldn’t go ahead. As Covid-19 cases crept higher in Victoria, the state the Australian Road National Championships are held each year, the threat of snap border-closures left many riders fearing they’d be making a mad dash to their home states rather than a mad dash to the finish line over the coming days.
That didn’t transpire, with lockdown holding off just long enough to wrap up the racing. What instead transpired, was one of the most memorable & exciting Road Nationals in recent memory.
In their first hit-out with the team, the brother's Eddy (Pat & Sam) put in solid time trials in their first year up from juniors, with Pat finishing 3rd. It’s unquestionable that these two hitters from Bendigo are ones to watch in the next few years
Flying solo in the Under 19 ranks, and also new to the team, Sydney-sider Dylan George was the team’s standout rider of the Road Nats campaign. Despite riding the last 3 kilometres of the Time Trial on a completely flat tyre, he willed his TT rig to 2nd place, a phenomenal ride from the young gun, who may need to put in a call to Shimano for a new rim.
Not content with just a silver medal, Dylan went one better in the Road Race. Driving the last 3 passes of Mt Buninyong to whittle down the field, Dylan then outsprinted his compatriots of a heavily reduced bunch to take out his first (of many) national titles. An impressive ride from a rider not yet old enough to share a Great Northern with team boss Andrew Christie-Johnston.
The Elite Road Race was simply the race that had it all, with victory uncertain until the final millimetres. Having learnt from the disappointment of being outsmarted in the U23 road race, the team rode intelligently, putting numbers in the early break & covering every move throughout the race. Nick White went extremely deep, climbing alongside the country's proverbial mountain goats to reach the finish in a very select bunch. If it were not for a mechanical limiting his access to his top gears, his 5th place finish could have been a very different story.