The para-cycling, intellectually impaired, deaf and transplant time trials warmed up the Federation University Road Nationals time trial hub on Tuesday morning, with nine national champions from Saturday’s road races doubling their gold medal haul.
Lifecycle CC and Queensland Academy of Sport’s Alex Welsh was one of the nine, winning the men’s H3 (MH3) convincingly.
It caps off a great start to the year for the 31-year-old AusCycling Podium Potential categorised athlete, who has his eyes set on selection for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
“This year it’s building towards next year for the Paralympics, trying to do as much international racing as possible and do well,” Welsh said.
“We’ve had great weather here this week. The course was great, as usual, and I had a good time out there, it all went well.
“I was lucky to ride with Grant Allen in the road race. We had some fun out there, he showed me the way up the hill, and I tried to show him the way down.
“I enjoy Ballarat. The country city is great and Federation University does a great job in terms of facilities and AusCycling supporting the event. The course is great; it’s challenging – the hills are tough on a handcycle, but it’s nice to finish on a downhill.”
Australian Cycling Team stars Darren Hicks (MC2 – Norwood CC), Grant Allen (Port Adelaide CC – MH4), Candice Kennedy piloted by Kelly Fettes (WB – Port Adelaide CC), and Kaitlyn Schurmann (WC1 – Geelong CC) were also part of the nine to double their national champion tally from Ballarat.
The remaining four members of the double club were Cameron Marshall (AWII Men – Preston CC), Reece-Emerson van Beek (Men’s Deaf – Voga CC), Annaliese Hodge (WC2 – Brunswick CC), and Tamaryn Stevens (Women’s Transplant – Coburg CC).
Several that tasted national champion success on Tuesday were able to flip the script from Saturday, most notably Australian Cycling Team’s Meg Lemon (WC4 – Port Adelaide CC) and Men’s Tandem para-cyclist Steven Kemp (Kilkenny CC) piloted by Peter Spencer.
Both Lemon and Kemp settled for silver on Saturday in sprint finishes.
“As much as I was happy for Alana (Forster), I was a bit disappointed with myself on Sunday as I managed to get her over the hill, but had a bit of a moment over the top, she got back on and tactically did really well to sit on my wheel and just outsprinted me in the end,” Lemon said.
“I had a bit of fire in my belly to come back and prove that I could do alright today. (It’s a) good feeling!
“Today was pretty good, pretty cold to start with, so it took a little while to work into it, but the hill definitely warmed me up. It was a pretty good race; I put together a race a bit better, I had a few people to chase, so I was happy with that.
“As always, I love the hilly bits, but they bite you at the end.”
Lemon has a jam-packed 2023 on the cards, which continues in March with the 2023 AusCycling Track National Championships at Brisbane’s Anna Meares Velodrome.
“We have some racing coming up, Track Nationals and Oceanias and hopefully a couple of Road World Cups in April,” Lemon said.
“We’ll be away for the year, get some experience, and later in the year work towards Glasgow (2023 UCI Cycling World Championships), if possible. That’ll be a big event, but something to really look forward to.
“I think it (2023 UCI Cycling World Championships) will be really exciting and nice to be able to watch but also be amongst the ‘able-bods’, BMX, para, track and road.
“There will probably be a little bit of a community and almost be a bit like the (Paralympic) Games, but be able to actually see other events.
“I actually can’t wait, and for me, it’ll be a good thing, I don’t know if it’ll work for everyone, but each race you get better and you learn things, so I can only see it being positive.”