Scotson and Garfoot claim national road race crowns
8 January 2017
ROAD CYCLING: In the first week of his professional career BMC Racing Team's Miles Scotson (SA) stole a late charge on a select group to claim the green and gold jersey, in a thrilling finish at the 2017 Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Buninyong.
While earlier in the day, time trial champion Katrin Garfoot (QLD) became the first woman to do the time trial and road race double since Carla Ryan in 2009, as she sprinted to victory in the women's national road race.
The Rio Olympian was part of a two rider break over the final two and a half laps with defending champion and Orica-Scott teammate Amanda Spratt (NSW) before showing her strength in the sprint that went down to the wire with a fast finishing Spratt just missing her third title. One and a half minutes behind Lucy Kennedy (QLD) crossed the line to collect the bronze medal.
"There was a lot of time trialing today, team time trialing. It was still what I'm used to," Garfoot said.
"It feels great. I've wanted to be here for a few years and I finally made it. It feels definitely great and a double as well which was also a dream coming into it.
"It's very special. It’s special because it’s such a rare thing to achieve this.
After a quiet opening lap Queensland trio Jennelle Crooks, Shara Gillow and Ellen Skerritt were the first to attack over the top of Mount Buninyong on lap two of 10, quickly building a one minute lead.
With Orica-Scott controlling the peloton the gap hovered between two and three minutes for the next three laps, before an increase in pace by Garfoot on lap six saw the peloton split up on the climb with the increased pace sending riders backwards.
Starting lap seven a select chase group, including Garfoot and Spratt, had the three leaders in sight and closed the gap. The regrouping at the front was short lived with attacks coming almost immediately in what would prove to be the decisive move as Garfoot, Spratt and Kennedy upped the pace on the climb.
A further acceleration by Spratt saw her continue on solo before Garfoot was able to distance Kennedy leaving the Orica-Scott duo alone at the head of the race. Starting the final two laps Kennedy was fighting for bronze at 40 seconds while former winnre Ruth Corset, Crooks, Gillow, Shannon Malseed and Carly Taylor were one minute and 17 seconds behind.
Garfoot was first to open up her sprint catching Spratt on the back foot who unleashed her quick finish but was unable to come around Garfoot. One minute and 27 seconds behind Lucy Kennedy crossed the line to snare the bronze medal.
"I wanted it to be a hard race so the way to make it hard is go hard on the climb. If I went hard on the climb up the front means everyone has to suffer as well," Garfoot said of her plan heading in to the race.
"Before the race we knew we had to make the attack at about five laps to go, or four laps, five laps depending what’s happening.
"So that was all planned and ready. Amanda was holding me back quite a bit, wait till lap five, wait till lap five. We knew coming out of lap five and we did it and then again lap four."
The men's race kicked off at midday and with 15 riders together over the top of the final ascent of Mount Buninyong, the lead would change continuously as riders tried their luck to avoid a reduced bunch sprint.
It was 2015 under 23 champion Scotson who took a flyer inside the final two kilometres. With Scotson in time trial mode and riders with no teammates left, they were forced to chase on their own to try and bring back the South Australian.
The chasers would miss out with Scotson having time to salute across the line. Two-time winner Simon Gerrans (VIC) won the sprint to claim silver with Nathan Haas (ACT) who finished fourth in 2016 rounding out the podium.
"I've only done one week training over 20 hours since my break in October or November. I was just so surprised I got around today but I really just have good support here that the team arranged," said Scotson who is a multiple world champion on the track.
"I eat and drank well all day, it paid off. I love this course too, I won an Australian title here in the under 23. It suits me and I just love the atmosphere of the climb and love everything about racing here."
A furious pace was set on the opening laps of the race with attacks flying as riders tried to establish an early break. Move after move went up the road only for riders to drop in and out as they bridged across or fell off the pace.
An eight-rider break including 2013 winner Luke Durbridge (WA) along with Neil Van der Ploeg (VIC), Jay McCarthy (QLD), Lachlan Morton (NSW), Pat Lane (VIC), Caleb Ewan (NSW), Cameron Meyer (WA) and Robbie Hucker (VIC) formed with six of 18 (10.2 kilometre) laps completed.
After building up a lead of nearly one minute with 11 laps remaining, time trial medallist Ben Dyball (NSW) put his strength against the clock in to action as he set off in pursuit. Making short work Dyball joined the break a lap later creating a nine-rider move.
Sensing disunity in the break the peloton upped the pace quickly eating in to the advantage with Mathew Clark (VIC) leading the chase. As the field reached two laps to go the gap was inside 30 seconds and the catch made ahead of the penultimate ascent of the climb.
Over the top of the climb it was Gerrans who made his move with McCarthy and Nathan Earle (TAS) in hot pursuit but a group of 15 quickly came together. A flurry of attacks followed, though Durbridge was quick to close everything down until the surge from the very back by Scotson set him up for glory.
"I was so glad I waited behind on that last lap and then whacked them and just round the gear out and tried to tuck low at 100%. When I got to the bottom of that hill, just seeing the gap I had I just couldn’t believe it," Scotson explained.
"I was like wow, its really going to happen and then so many different feelings coming into the line I couldn't believe it. I wasn't racing for fifth or podium, I've done that before. I was fifth the other day in the time trial and satisfied but not super happy but now I am," added a still elated Scotson.
The 22-year-old was full of praise for everyone who has supported him over his career. "I had great support here from BMC, I want to thank them, my parents, the team, my long time coach before Tim Decker [Cycling Australia Senior Coach - Men's Track Endurance].
"Just kind of today I feel like I really had that winning instinct at the end and he rammed that into me over years."
Two time winner Simon Gerrans was full of praise for the young Scotson. "What a great way for him to get his professional career started.
"I'm really happy for the young guy to get the win today, he really deserved it. He didn't have any teammates so he raced a really smart race."
Under 23 Road Race
Armidale's Sam Jenner (NSW) broke through to take the biggest victory of his still young career with a stellar solo victory at the 2017 Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Buninyong on Saturday.
The 19-year-old Subaru-NSWIS cyclists, who spent the 2016 season in Europe with the Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy, timed his attack to perfection inside the final few laps and soloed the final three laps of the 10.2 kilometre course to victory.
The battle for the podium positions went down to the wire with 2016 track world champion Alex Porter taking silver to add to his criterium gold, as Lucus Hamilton added bronze to his silver from a year ago.
"I made the move just before three laps to go on the back downhill on Fisken Road. It wasn't really the plan but there was a bit of a lull in the bunch and I thought it was time to go," Jenner said. "I just backed myself and that’s all I could do really.
"The whole last lap I was cramping up. I had to sort of stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, all the way up the climb and then as soon as I finished the line I couldn't stand.
"When you know there is a gold medal on the line you just push yourself and it just seems all the pain goes away."
While in the race for the under 23 women's national title it was Orica-Scott's Alex Manly (SA) who added the road race to her time trial title from Thursday.
The battle was fought out in the main peloton seven minutes and 19 seconds behind Garfoot's victory, with Manly taking the spoils and finishing the elite race in 15th position. With mountain biker Emily Parkes (ACT) in silver and first year under 23 Jaime Gunning (QLD) in bronze.
"It is really good. I came here wanting to win both and I did so I'm really happy," said Manly who claimed her third national title in the past month after the Madison in December and time trial on Thursday.
"I was aware where they were. It came down to the last sprint and they rode really well," she added of her competition in the under 23 category. "They were really strong on the hills and had to wait for the sprint. I was confident."
"I'm not really a sprinter but I have a track background so I was like maybe I can out sprint them. That was my strongest point out there because I definitely didn't have them on the hills.
"The motorbike came up to me and told me about it, really, really happy about that," Manly explained of hearing the news of her Orica-Scott teammates going 1-2. "You can't do better than a one, two. they really deserved that win. We all respect them so much."
Elite Men's Road Race
Gold – Miles Scotson (SA)
Silver – Simon Gerrans (VIC)
Bronze – Nathan Haas (ACT)
Elite Women's Road Race
Gold - Katrin Garfoot (QLD)
Silver - Amanda Spratt (NSW)
Bronze - Lucy Kennedy (QLD)
Under 23 Men's Road Race
Gold - Samuel Jenner (NSW)
Silver - Alex Porter (SA)
Bronze - Lucas Hamilton (VIC)
Under 23 Women's Road Race
Gold - Alex Manly (SA)
Silver - Emily Parkes (ACT)
Bronze - Jaime Gunning (QLD)
Full restuls from the 2017 RoadNats can be viewed HERE.
Cycling Australia & AOC