The time trial events at the Australian Road National Championships saw familiar faces atop the podiums as Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) and Katrin Garfoot both took victory for the third year in succession.
Despite choosing to stay in Europe over Christmas and only travel to Australia in recent days, Dennis coped well with temperatures approaching the high 30s in Ballarat, Victoria, taking the win by more than a minute over two-time former winner Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott).
The final man off the start ramp as defending champion, Dennis set a time of 51-14 for the 40.9km course, catching Durbridge, who had set off a minute before him, in the process, the two crossing the finish line in quick succession with Durbridge 1-08 slower.
The third step on the podium went to Dennis’s BMC Racing team-mate Riche Porte, racing his first time trial since the opening day of the Tour de France back in July. Porte’s time of 52-58 saw him lead the race at one point, but was pushed down to third by the end after being bettered by Dennis and Durbridge.
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The elite women’s title went Katrin Garfoot, who caught an astonishing five riders on her way to a comprehensive victory by nearly two-and-a-half minutes.
Setting a fast pace from the start, Garfoot quickly had two-time former winner Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) in her sights, making the catch before the halfway mark.
Garfoot eventually crossed the line in a time 41-45 for the 29.5km race, a time that was 2-29 faster than Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-Scott) who had set the early marker. Gillow would cross the line little over a minute later, finishing 2-36 slower than Garfoot to claim the final spot on the podium.
The elite men’s and women’s road races both take place on Sunday, with Garfoot looking to win the road race/time trial double for the second year in succession in the women’s race, while Miles Scotson (BMC Racing) will be defending his title in the men’s race