VIS cyclists dominated at the 2024 Road National Championships

Ten VIS scholarship holders won gold at the championships, which concluded in Buninyong on Sunday. A further four won either silver or bronze.

Lucas Plapp produced what was perhaps the most significant ride to claim his third consecutive Elite Men's Road Race title, a feat only three others have ever achieved. 

The 23-year-old Tokyo Olympian won the first two of his Road Race crowns as an individual rider but this year won as a member of Team Jayco AlUla, who dominated the road race with three team members finishing on the podium including fellow VIS rider Kell O’Brien who won bronze. 

Plapp and teammate Chris Harper (silver) broke away from the lead group with 103 kilometres to go, holding a significant lead which saw them cruise down the final straight celebrating in tandem.

“We just wanted to be in control the whole time and I think you saw we had everyone on the ropes from how well the team worked early,” said Plapp.

“We had to make the individuals chase. Me and Harps were just lucky that it was us two that had the legs to then counter off all the amazing work the team did for us.”

Image: Chris Harper (left) and Lucas Plapp riding to the finish line of the Elite Men's Road Race in Buninyong.


Another of the VIS squad, Ruby Roseman-Gannon, turned her dream into reality by claiming her first National Women’s Road Race title after a rain-soaked lead group of 11 sprinted to the finish line.

“It had been such a hectic finale so crossing the finish line I was just full of adrenaline, and I couldn't believe it. I thought that I'd feel ecstatic– and I am for sure– but in that moment it was more a numb shock or disbelief. I think it's going to take a while to sink in,” Roseman-Gannon said.

While the distinctive jersey of national colours will be hers to wear for the next year, Roseman-Gannon said the greater pleasure will be riding with her team in the upcoming European season.

“It feels super special to start 2024 in the Australian colours. We can’t wait to bring it to Europe.”

Roseman-Gannon also won in Buninyong her fourth Criterium title, having won in 2022 and enjoyed success in the under23 category in 2020 and 2021.


Image: Ruby Roseman-Gannon on the podium after her Elite Women's Criterium championship finish.


The Time Trials performances from the VIS squad were notably strong with Grace Brown, Emily Petricola, Alana Forster and Alistair Donohoe all claiming victory in their respective categories.

Neve Bradbury was another who shone, in the U23 age group, winning the Road Race and finishing third in the Time Trial and Criterium.

After finishing second in the U23 Criterium last year, Blake Agnoletto went one better in 2024 with the assistance of a well-executed and strategic ride from his team-mates who set him up for a sprint victory.

“I just wasn’t getting second. I just knew coming in, I needed to win this,” Agnoletto said.

“It was amazing. The way the other boys rode with me and for me, it just shows how close we’ve come as a team over the last year. Spending a lot of time in Europe, we know how each other rides.”

Also benefitting from a well-crafted race plan was Oscar Gallagher, who burst clear at the finish of the Junior Men’s Criterium to win by 10 metres.

Several VIS Para-cyclists such as Emma Mickle, who was the sole competitor in her classification for the Women’s C3 Road Race, used the Road Nationals as preparation for the 2024 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup to be held in Adelaide this month.

Mickle also came in second in the Women’s C3 Time Trial.

Jensen Plowright took home second in the Elite Men’s Criterium. Kell O’Brien and Sharon Boyd finished third in the Elite Men’s Road Race and Women’s C4 Time Trial respectively. And Georgie Howe chased Grace Brown to take bronze in the Elite Women’s Time Trial.

 

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