The 2020 Federation University Road National Championships moved to Buninyong on Saturday with Australia’s para-cycling world champions tackling the tough Mt Buninyong road course, while the newly introduced category for cyclists with an intellectual impairment celebrated their maiden road titles.
Sporting the rainbow jersey, Bathurst’s reigning world champion Emilie Miller took gold in the women’s handcycle final.
“Always an honour to wear the rainbows jerseys and at national championships to be able to come away with a gold medal, I am really pleased with the result,” said Miller, who unfortunately crashed during her ride in Wednesday’s time trial.
“I think from being able to come back from the crash in the time trial and to ride the road race as well as I did today, I am really happy.”
Following his victory in Wednesday’s time trial, Melbourne’s Stuart Tripp secured the double with gold in the H5 road race.
“Very happy, compared to last year, today’s course my splits were a lot better and it was a much better ride,” said Tripp, who covered the four laps of the challenging course in 1hr 19.25mins. “I knocked a few minutes off my time from last year so I am really happy with today.”
Targetting a third Paralympic selection for Tokyo 2020, Tripp is ready and eager for the challenge ahead.
“It is a big year for everyone, you have started to feel the build-up. It all ramps up from here. It is an all or nothing year for us.
“With the build-up, you have a massive competition with yourself. And that is what it is all about, you competing against yourself to be in the best shape you can be, do the extra training, tick your boxes and make sure everything is perfect.”
Fellow dual gold medallist on the week Meg Lemon was pleased with her performance despite being in the midst of an intense track period,
“It has been a really good Championships despite not having done as much road prep as we would have liked. It was good to come out here on a hilly course and see where we were at,” said Lemon, who contested the 2019 Track World Cup last month in Brisbane, and will head to the 2020 Track World Championships later next week.
“The past couple of months I have had some improvements particularly on the track and now coming onto the road, improvements in both the time trial and road race, and now I am trying to put a few things into play today that I learned last year racing internationally. Things are moving in the right direction and looking good.”
Saturday also saw the first road national crowns awarded for cyclists with an intellectual impairment, wth Andre Ascui was ecstatic after claiming the gold in the men’s event. Ascui covered four laps of the 10-kilometre course in 1hour 20:41secs
“Pretty happy, but tired. The ride was good, a bit windy, I just stayed patient and kept going through the climbs,” said Ascui who enjoyed being a part of the first-ever National Championships.
“Being involved in this event is really amazing, we love competing, and being with all the other events, meeting new friends, doing everyone proud.”
Georgia Powning claimed the double for the Championships with a strong win in the women’s event. Powning, who claimed time trial gold on Wednesday, clocked 1hour 8mins across the three laps. “I put on the small chainring today and then stayed at the front and held on to the finish.
“The week has been good, my legs are a bit tight but that’s ok. My friends did well, everyone did really well.”