Grace Brown and Rohan Dennis took the women's and men's Australian national time trial titles in comprehensive fashion on Wednesday, both racing in their new trade team kits for the first time.
Brown (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) posted a time of 41:28.68 over the 28.6km course in Ballarat, Victoria. This meant she won by 1:01 over her nearest competitor, Amber Pate (InForm TMX MAKE); it is the second time she pulled on the Australian bands. Lisa Jacob came third.
Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) meanwhile, finished in 45:33.58 over 37.5km, beating Luke Durbridge (Team BikeExchange Jayco) by 1:13. Conor Leahy of InForm TMX MAKE completed the podium
Dennis and Durbridge now share four titles between them in an event they have dominated since 2012, only being interrupted on three occasions by Richie Porte, Michael Hepburn and Luke Plapp.
Neither defending champion, Sarah Gigante or Plapp, took to the startline, but Brown and Dennis both proved their skill and form ahead of a season which sees new starts for both.
Speaking after his victory, Dennis paid tribute to his new team. "They put a lot of faith in me," he said. "To come in and show respect to that and put all my effort in – not that I haven’t every other year – but to really knuckle down on every little detail to perform for them straight away was really important.”
The South Australian last won the title in 2018 in BMC colours, before his move to Bahrain-Merida which ended abruptly after just nine months. He then joined Ineos Grenadiers, where he won two WorldTour time trials and helped Tao Geoghegan Hart to victory at the Giro d'Italia in 2020.
However, after two years with the British squad, he joined Jumbo-Visma. When his transfer was announced he said that the chance to ride with the likes of Primož Roglič, Tom Dumoulin and Wout van Aert was "something I couldn’t refuse".
Brown has also moved teams for 2022, joining FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope from BikeExchange, a move away from the Australian set up.
The rouleur, who was fourth at the Olympic Games time trial last year, has also looked promising in one-day races, something her new team sees potential in.
"I really wanted to get this for FDJ so it's nice to have that done now," Brown said after the race. "It was a pretty hard race actually, it didn't come easy, but I'm proud of the effort and happy to have the jersey for the year."
Anya Louw won the women's U23 time trial title, while Carter Turnbull won the men's equivalent.
The men and women's elite road races both fall on Sunday, with riders tackling a circuit around Buninyong, which includes the Mount Buninyong climb each lap.
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