World champions claim Australian titles in Shepparton
2011 junior track world champions Caleb Ewan and Emily Roper added national time trial crowns to their resumes on Thursday with victories on the opening day of the 2012 Cycling Australia U19 Road National Championships.
In bitterly cold conditions in the town of Dookie just outside of Shepparton, Ewan (NSW) claimed gold by mere seconds, while Roper blitzed a quality women's field by over half a minute.
Ewan, 17, covered the 28 kilometre undulating course in 37mins 25.38secs, averaging 44.9km/hr to finish less than four seconds ahead of reigning national and Oceania time trial champion Alexander Morgan (37:29.06) of Victoria.
"This win is really up there in my results and as my main goal coming here was road race, this is a great surprise," said Ewan, the 2011 Omnium world champion. "Considering Alex (Morgan) hasn't really been beaten in this event in the past two years, to beat him is pretty amazing.
"I was watching Alex come into the finish, watching the time go down and I was hoping he would go a bit slower, and he did, just," explained Ewan. "(But) I think he was pretty happy for me, but he is obviously disappointed to lose his best event, but this will only make him stronger."
South Australia's Miles Scotson crossed the line in 37:49.99 to take the bronze medal.
In the under 19 women’s event, 2011 team pursuit junior world champion Roper was simply superb, averaging 39.6km/hr along the 15kilometre course to post a time of 22mins 43.77secs.
Roper finished over thirty seconds ahead of her world champion team mate Georgia Baker (TAS) who completed the course in 23mins 16.56secs.
"I am pretty happy, as I haven't won an individual time trial at this level before, so this is a pretty amazing win," said Roper, the 2012 Oceania under 19 road champion. ""There was a pretty tough head wind and it was uphill in the first half, but it was a little easier and quicker on the way home.
"It was pretty cold compared to Queensland where I live, that's for sure.
"I am looking forward to Saturday's road race now, and although it is not a very hilly course so it doesn't suit me, maybe if its windy and cold that might be my chance to get a break," Roper added.
West Australia's Kelsey Robson (23:20.51) took bronze, while Canberra's reigning Australian and Oceania time trial champion Allison Rice (23:37.38) finished fifth.
The 2012 Cycling Australia U19 Road National Championships run from Thursday 28 June to Sunday 1 July in the Shepparton & Dookie areas of regional Victoria. They are being hosted in conjunction with Cycling Australia and the Greater Shepparton City Council.
A rest day is scheduled for Friday, with Dookie to also host the road races on Saturday before the action moves to Shepparton on Sunday for the critierums.
The event has been a breeding ground for Australia’s elite professional cyclists, with 2012 London Olympic Games cyclists Rohan Dennis, Josephine Tomic, Melissa Hoskins and Amy Cure, plus reigning world champions and Orica GreenEDGE cyclists Cameron Meyer and Luke Durbridge, all forging their careers with victories at the championships.