The first national championship titles of 2020 have been decided in Australia, as Rohan Dennis missed out on the time trial jersey to Luke Durbridge for a second year running.
Played out in the relatively cool 20-degree temperatures of Buninyong, Victoria in the south east of the country, Australia’s elite male time triallists fought over a 37.5km course.
Mitchelton-Scott’s Luke Durbridge pulled clear of his rivals to finish in 46-18, with an average speed of 48.596km/h, finishing 18 seconds ahead of Dennis.
Newly added to the Team Ineos roster, Dennis claimed the silver medal while Jumbo-Visma’s Chris Harper took bronze, 1-53 behind the winner.
The women’s nation TT title went to Sarah Gigante of Tibo-SVB, who finished the 28.6km course in 42-41 with an average speed of 40.203km/h.
Mitchelton-Scott’s Grace Brown finished just nine seconds down to take silver, while Emily Herfoss finished third at 11 seconds.
Amanda Spratt, also with Mitchelton-Scott, took fourth and her team-mate Lucy Kennedy finished up in sixth.
World TT champion Dennis already has three Australian national jerseys to his name, having won the event in 2016, ’17 and ’18.
But the national title has eluded the 29-year-old for the last two years, after Durbridge also claimed the 2019 title by a 22-second margin over Dennis.
Dennis also recently revealed that he has parked his plans to become a Grand Tour contender in the next few years, after growing concerned for his health.
He feared developing unhealthy eating habits and even a potential eating disorder, as he tried to trim down his weight to be a major player in three-week races.
In an interview with the Adelaide Advertisers, Dennis said: “I don’t know if I want to go down that road and I’ll be honest with you, I started to eat and not eat and was on that slippery slope of a complex or disorder.”
In 2019, Dennis battled through a turbulent year that saw him abandon the Tour de France unexpectedly before returning to defend his world title for a second year in Yorkshire, all amid rising tension with his Bahrain-Merida team which resulted in his contract being terminated immediately after the Worlds.
Durbridge, 28, now has four Australian ITT titles to his name, having won his first back in 2012.
The Australian national championships will continue on Saturday with the under-23 road race, before the elite women’s and men’s titles are decided on Sunday.
Australian National Time Trial Championships 2020 results
Elite women’s individual time trial, Buninyong to Buninyong (28.6k)
1. Sarah Gigante (Tibco-SVB), in 41-41
2. Grace Brown (Mitchelton-Scott), at 9s
3. Emily Herfoss, at 11s
Elite men’s individual time trial, Buninyong to Buninyong (37.5km)
1. Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott), in 46-18
2. Rohan Dennis (Team Ineos), at 18s
3. Chris Harper (Jumbo-Visma), at 1-53