The Federation University Road National Championships were once again hosted in Ballarat, Buninyong and surrounding areas bringing the country's best road cyclists to the area for a week of high paced action. The final race on Sunday was the Elite Men's Road Race, hot conditions greeted riders who took on the gruelling Buninyong loop 16 times for a total of 185.6km.
A flurry of early attacks went throughout the day, but it wasn't until late in the race that any moves would stick. Canberra based Giant Australia team rider Brendan Johnston had prepared well for this year's race juggling his training load with full time work as an electrician. Johnston rode smart throughout the early stages, ensuring he kept himself towards the front of the race on his TCR Advanced SL Disc as the race began to split up.
After attacks from both James Whelan (Team Bridgelane), and Lucas Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers), Johnston launched his own attack on the second last lap up the Midland Highway, with what was left of the reduced peloton not being able to follow his wheel. He would ultimately finish solo in 3rd place, cementing his best ever result at the National Road Championship.
When asked about his performance, Johnston had this to say, "I prepared really well for this years National Road Championship, better than ever. I knew I had to race with maximum confidence when going against the WT guys. I floated through the first three quarters of the race and was able to follow all the dangerous attacks, unfortunately missing Plapps jump. With 2 laps remaining I was able to step clear of the small remaining group and ride to 3rd, while I had envisaged the victory I am really pleased with the result and the training efforts paying off".
Brendan will now turn his attention to the Santos Festival of Cycling, where he will represent the Giant Racing Team for the first time, as well as aiming to his second victory at the Melbourne to Warrnambool in February. For full results from the National Road Championship, visit here.