Reigning world champions Alistair Donohoe, Carol Cooke, David Nicholas and Paige Greco swapped their rainbow jerseys for green and gold jerseys after claiming time trial gold on the opening day of the 2020 Federation University Road National Championships in Ballarat on Wednesday.
A new time trial course greeted the riders with the challenging and technical out and back course starting and finishing at Federation University, and featuring a flat section along Yankee Flat Road and a more technical section around the campus.
Carol Cooke claimed a ninth straight time trial national crown in the T2 category, covering two laps of the 8-kilometre course in 38mins 54.87secs.
“It is such an honour to win this, today was a tough day. It was tough going up the hill the second time,” said Victoria’s Cooke, who praised event organisers for their inclusiveness at the Championships.
“It was such an honour to have para-cycling included in the National Championships a few years ago, and now this year we see the inclusion of riders with an intellectual impairment which is fantastic.
“As a country, we are way ahead of everybody else in terms of inclusiveness and I am really proud of this fact.”
Australia’s para-cyclists enjoyed a stellar 2019 on both the road at track, with Cooke quick to praise the Australian Cycling Team’s para-cycling program.
“At the 2019 World Championships, Australia was the top nation, it was absolutely fantastic. We have such a great team. We have really good support, great leaders in the team through Warren McDonald, Cam Jenn ings and Dave Betts. It is a privilege to be on such a great team, a real family.”
Victoria’s Alistair Donohoe shone in his rainbow jersey as he won his third consecutive green and gold jersey in the C5 final, negotiating three laps of the course in 35mins 28.03 seconds.
“To be in my home state and in front of friends and family, to be in the rainbows. It is a pretty special feeling,” said Donohoe. “I had really good sensations out there today, it was a nice course, a refreshing change to the traditional courses over the past few years.”
With Donohoe chasing a second Paralympic selection for the Tokyo 2020 Games, it was the perfect start to the season. “The win is a great way to start the season. It is also really good preparation for the Tokyo Paralympic Games, real technical, lots of ups and downs, not a lot of rhythm so you had to keep concentrating.”
Brisbane’s David Nicholas won his C3 category for a ninth straight year, while Adelaide’s Paige Greco defended her C3 event.
2019 world and defending champions Emilie Miller and Emily Petricola, unfortunately, crashed on course and did not finish the race. Miller suffered scratches, while Petricola required stitches on her elbow.