Mitchelton-Scott‘s Luke Durbridge took his third national time trial title at the Australian Road National Championships in Buninyong, Victoria, on Tuesday, relegating time trial world champion Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) to second place and preventing Dennis from taking a fourth straight national title.
Durbridge – the winner in 2012 and 2013 – looked strong from the start as the second-to-last rider away, and although it looked at one point as though Dennis – last man off as the defending champion – might have saved himself for the final few kilometres of the 40.9km course, Durbridge took the win by 21 seconds.
Durbridge’s Mitchelton-Scott teammate Cameron Meyer, after what was for him a disappointing third place at Sunday’s road race, sat top of the leaderboard as teammate Callum Scotson, new Australian road race champion Michael Freiberg (Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) and Katusha-Alpecin’s Nathan Haas all finished behind him, unable to better his time.
However, Meyer – time trial national champion in 2010 and 2011 – would have already known from watching the intermediate time checks that Durbridge and Dennis were coming home quickly, and that his ride was only going to be good enough for another bronze medal at this year’s championships.
Durbridge finished with a time of just over 51 minutes, knocking 43 seconds off Meyer’s time to relegate him to second place – albeit briefly – before Dennis came home, 21 seconds in arrears of Durbridge’s time to take the silver medal.
“What an incredible day. I’m super, super happy,” a delighted Durbridge said at the finish. “It’s been a long time coming. 2013 was my last victory, and to beat the world champion and the likes of Cameron Meyer on the podium, it still hasn’t really sunk in yet.
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