Miles Scotson (BMC) won the Australian national road championships after a late attack saw him arrive at the line just ahead of Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott) while Nathan Haas ensured Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka started the season on the podium, by claiming 3rd place.
Once again the Australian national road championships was a hotly contested affair, in scorching conditions around the 10km Buninyong circuit. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Nathan Haas, Lachlan Morton and Ben O’Connor take the start with Haas being the protected rider, Morton the wild card and O’Connor took on a supporting role.
The African team trio put in a near perfect performance starting with Morton making it into the early 9-rider breakaway. As Morton and co. were able to build a 3 minute lead on the peloton, O’Connor could look after Haas in the peloton as the race was whittled down lap by lap, over the 18 lap race. While riders were being shed each lap on the Mount Buninyong climb, the heat was also a factor once again and riders were constantly losing contact as the peloton pursued the breakaway.
Heading into the final lap, Morton was proving to be one of the strongest in the race as he and 4 other early breakaway riders were surviving just ahead of what was left of the peloton, which still contained Haas and O’Connor. When they reached the final ascent of Mount Buninyong, the escapees were caught and a flurry of attacks followed. Only 14 riders remained in contention after the climb, Haas showing once again he is a man for the big occasions and made it into this select group.
It looked like it would be 14 riders sprinting for the win, until a crafty move with 1.5km to go saw Scotson take a solo win, only seconds ahead of the sprinting chasers. Gerrans was first across the line from the chase group with Haas hot on his heels, taking the bronze medal position. Morton and O’Connor came home with the 2nd group, finishing 22nd and 24th respectively. A solid team performance by Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in a tough race which saw only 44 of the 119 starters, finish.
Nathan Haas – Rider
Championship events need to be ridden one way, like champions. You cant wake up and not want to go all in, you need to want it. Whilst our team was only 3, we were incredible. Ben and Lachlan rode today like old proffesionals, tactically and in strength. I’m really happy to have taken a medal, but after their hard work it hurts somewhat not to reward us all with gold. Many thanks to the helpers, the team, the sponsors and above all, Qhubeka for giving us the extra drive to wake up with reason.