A surprise result in the Australian national time trial saw world champion Rohan Dennis fall behind Luke Durbridge by an emphatic margin.
Mitchelton-Scott’s Durbridge proved himself a cut above even the world’s best time triallist on the day, as he held enough power to finish 21 seconds ahead of his compatriot.
The 2018 national champion Dennis, who took the TT rainbow jersey from Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) in Austria last October, is adapting to a new bike after moving from BMC Racing to Bahrain-Merida for 2019.
The 28-year-old said: “Whoever wins is the best.
“Look, the legs are there, the power was good, as good as any other year, if not just a little bit better.
“So it’s just about finding out why I didn’t go as quick now and fixing it for the next race.
“It’s all about trying to figure out how to go a little bit quicker with the equipment that I’ve got.
“It definitely helps to be beaten by a guy like Durbridge. He’s a good guy.
“If I can’t wear the jersey, it’s nice that it’s still going to be shown in Europe as well.”
Dennis’ time trial prowess has shone through in recent seasons after he won seven individual tests in 2018, including at the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España and the World Championships.
He entered the Australian national time trial championships as clear favourite but fell short on the day to Durbridge, who took his third green and gold TT jersey.
Durbridge said: “It’s been a long time to be honest – 2013 was the last national championship I won.
“Both races are special to me, I’m such a passionate Aussie and I still just don’t really believe it at the moment because Rohan Dennis is a world champion and he showed he’s the best and full credit to Rohan because I think he’s made us lift our game.
“Hard work and persistence pays off, it’s been a hell of a week, I’m pretty happy.”
Durbridge glided through the 40.9km trial in 51-01, as Dennis came in 21 seconds down in 51-22.
The third spot went to Durbridge’s Mitchelton-Scott team-mate Cameron Meyer, who crossed in 51-44 to take his second bronze of the nationals after he missed out on the road race title.
Australian Road National Championships 2019, elite men’s individual time trial (40.9km)
1. Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) in 51-01
2. Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida), at 21s
3. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott), at 42s