Lucas Plapp (Team Jayco AlUla) has put his hands on the elite men’s individual time trial national championship for the second time in his career in Ballarat, three years after his first elite win in 2021.
The 23-year-old almost experienced history repeating itself when he dropped his chain in the first two kilometres. It was the same mechanical issue he suffered last year when he finished off the podium, on the same point of the course.
However, this year, the new Team Jayco AlUla recruit calmly took his spare bike and continued with an imperious ride to win with a time of 46:19.54 over the 37.5-kilometre course, 32.71 seconds ahead of teammate Chris Harper.
Team Jayco AlUla veteran and 2014 time trial national champion Michael Hepburn closed out the podium, with Kelland O'Brien next in fourth to cap off a dominant 1-2-3-4 finish for the Australian UCI WorldTour outfit.
“I’ve missed wearing this jersey for the last few years,” Plapp said.
“I think people don't realize how much of a team effort the TT is, it's been a really big team effort around this with Sync, with Giant and the whole team getting ready for this.
“I think being the first race of the season, you have to nail every little thing, it's been so much work getting it ready for today, so this is a real testament to the hard work the team has done behind the scenes.
“I just had to get on and ride the fastest equipment in the world.”
Plapp estimated his mechanical cost him roughly 30 seconds, as it did in 2023, but he took the learnings from the mishap last year and put them to work to steady the ship.
“Exact same spot as last year on the very top of the climb of the first lap, I just went to change from the little ring back to the big and the chain just didn’t come up,” Plapp said.
“Just a bit of bad luck from me, but I think last year I really got overexcited and tried to make up for it and I just wasn’t mature enough and I think I really learned from that, and I was able to stick to the processes and we got it done in the end.
“I did get a little bit overwhelmed, but (Mathew) Hayman on the radio was really cool, calm and collected, and I just trusted the training.
“We trained a lot without power in case something ever happened, so it was really nice knowing that was still sort of in the back of my mind and I knew my sensations and what power I had to hold.
“I think fortunately enough this course has been really kind to me in the past and I know it off by heart, so I knew where to go, how fast I needed to be going, where to put the power out.
“It's a shame we are moving courses next year because I won't have that in the bank, but I'm stoked to have made the most of it here. I really love Buninyong and I can’t wait to go again on Sunday.”
After two years with INEOS Grenadiers, Plapp already feels at home with Team Jayco AlUla, and said he can’t wait to rip in for the first time with his new teammates in the road race.
“I think today shows we’re all in red-hot form,” Plapp said.
“I think we've got the numbers to fill the podium. Harper getting second in a TT shows he’s absolutely flying and will be a man on a mission on Sunday and Caleb (Ewan) looks absolutely amazing.
“I think one of us will be in the jersey, it doesn’t really matter who, I think we’ve just got to stick to our guns and work as a team to make sure we bring it home.”
Jackson Medway produces shock of the day to win U23 men’s time trial national championship
Twelve months ago, Jackson Medway (Team BridgeLane) wasn’t even in Ballarat at the Federation University RoadNats. Today, he’s a national champion.
The 19-year-old upset two-time world championship medallist Hamish McKenzie (Hagens Berman-Jayco) by 5.39 seconds and 2023 junior time trial world champion Oscar Chamberlain (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) by 14.34 seconds to win the under-23 men's time trial national championship.
The new kid on the block from Brisbane paced his 28.6km effort to perfection, torching the final kilometres of the course to edge in front of McKenzie when it mattered most.
Medway said his breakthrough win was not what he expected from the day.
“I came into this with a bit of belief, but I just had to trust the process,” Medway said.
“I was going for that podium, but I didn’t think I could take the top step.
“I was told by my coach to keep a lid on it and I think I did that pretty well, and he supported me the whole way through in my ear.
“I was able to lift somehow and found those last couple of seconds in the end.
“I definitely was the underdog. They towered over me the whole way, they were in front of me, but I paced it well and rode out of my skin and I’m really happy in the end to be able to pull it off for the team.”
Medway has made a sharp rise in cycling over the past 12 months after switching from triathlon and cross-country running.
“Obviously in triathlon, you’re time trialling for about the same distance and cross-country is that sort of threshold effort as well,” Medway said.
“So, it’s not really a surprise that I would specialise in this sort of an event but didn’t think I’d go so well. It’s a big surprise to me.”
Elite Men Individual Time Trial
Lucas PLAPP (Team Jayco AlUla) 46:19.54
Chris HARPER (Team Jayco AlUla) +32.71
Michael HEPBURN (Team Jayco AlUla) +55.01
Kelland O'BRIEN (Team Jayco AlUla) +1:07.30
Alastair CHRISTIE-JOHNSTON (CCACHE x Par Küp) +2:07.73
Conor LEAHY (Peel District CC) +2:09.23
Michael STORER (Tudor Pro Cycling Team) +2:10.15
Tali Lane Welsh (CCACHE x Par Küp) +2:19.60
Bentley NIQUET-OLDEN (CCACHE x Par Küp) +4:34.53
Hayden JARVIS (Criterion BEx Racing) +4:39.70
U23 Men Individual Time Trial
Jackson MEDWAY (Team BridgeLane) 36:59.97
Hamish MCKENZIE (Hagens Berman-Jayco) +5.39
Oscar CHAMBERLAIN (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) +14.34
Zac MARRIAGE (Team BridgeLane) +34.27
Fergus BROWNING (Trinity Racing) +45.09
Blake AGNOLETTO (ARA Skip Capital) +45.56
William EAVES (ARA Skip Capital) +47.80
Tyler TOMKINSON (ARA Skip Capital) +58.55
Oliver BLEDDYN (ARA Skip Capital) +59.64
Cameron ROGERS (Lidl-Trek Development Team) +1:53.98