2019 National Road Series champion Jarrad Drizners (Hagens Berman Axeon) has started the new year off with a bang by winning the Under 23 men’s road race national title on day four of the 2020 Federation University Road National Championships.
Drizners finished the 139.2km Mt Buninyong course in 3hours 37.06mins, proving too strong for St George Continental’s Sebastian Berwick in the final sprint to the line.
“I have wanted this race for a long time, particularly since I came fifth last year,” said Drizners after his win.“To be able to come out today and win is really special, the time trial didn't go my way, and the criterium definitely didn't go my way.
“My parents were here, my ex-teammates in Inform are here, everyone was full of emotion. It feels great to pull it off in new colours for 2020.”
It was Balmoral’s Calan White and Memil - CCN Pro Cycling’s Elliot Schultz who set the pace early, establishing a small lead in the early laps. The pair were joined by a chase group that included Tom Benton (InForm ™ Insight Make), Thomas Bolton (Oliver’s Real Food Racing) and Connor Reardon (St George Continental Cycling Team).
With eight laps to go, White broke away and built up a lead of one minute with five and a half laps to go before being joined by Shultz. Inside the final three laps, it was Shultz who decided to make a break which saw him take grab lead by over a minute before the chasers closed the gap to 19 seconds at the bell.
Drizners, who had tried a few times throughout the day to break away from the peloton, made his move on the final lap and combined with Berwick to take the lead before confidently sprinting away to claim the green and gold jersey.
“There were a lot of team tactics today, so for me being an individual, it makes it a bit tricky. I saw the race forming and I could follow,” said Drizners. “But we (Berwick and I) rode away to the finish and were committed.
“I knew we weren't going to get caught, so it was a case of being patient with him, I knew I had the better sprint.
“I have been working really hard for this race, and I am looking forward to taking this jersey overseas this year. I might sleep in this tonight, you never know.”
Team Bridgelane’s Alastair Christie-Johnston claimed the bronze medal.
Connor Reardon won the McCain King of the Mountain with 17 points. Thomas Bolton claimed the Langdon Building Sprint jersey while Calan White was awarded the Altus Traffic Most Aggressive Rider.
The 2020 Road Nationals concludes on Sunday with the Elite Men’s and Elite/U23 Women’s road race.