The Australian Team has departed the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, finishing equal third on the medal table behind the Netherlands and Belgium. Three medals; gold in the elite men’s ITT, silver in the elite women’s RR and a silver in the junior men’s ITT making this one of the best all-around performances in recent years.
Rohan Dennis etched his name into the record books with a storming ride to claim his maiden individual time trial world title, finishing some 1:21 ahead of warm favourite Tom Dumoulin. Dennis became just the second Australian to win the event after Michael Rogers claimed three consecutive titles between 2003 and 2005.
Amanda Spratt rode alone for the final 40km of the women’s road race on her way to a silver medal. She had been one of the main protagonists in a competitive and entertaining race and is just the sixth Australian woman in sixty years to reach a World Championship road race podium.
Spratt was supported as a protected leader for the first time at the World Championships, and all assembled impressively rose to the occasion. Lucy Kennedy called it “showtime” when she lit up the race on the first ascent of Igls while keeping something in reserve to nullify attacks before Spratt slipped into what was the start of the winning move.
Earlier in the week, Luke Plapp claimed silver in the junior men's time trial, adding to his dual track world titles won at the 2018 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Switzerland in August.
The final race of the World Championships saw the men's road race, with the super demanding course profile delivering on its promise of pain, pain and more pain.
The pressure and strain were evident at 90 kilometres to go with several riders being dropped from the main peloton including three-time reigning world champion Peter Sagan. The finale was a hotly contested affair with Valverde (Spain) winning from Romain Bardet (France) and Michael Woods (Canada).
Jack Haig capped off a strong 2018 season with 19th place, 1min 21secs behind the winner, after being in all the right moves in the final 20 km. Rob Power (70th) was the only other Australian finisher on a day which saw more DNFs than riders cross the finish line. In both road races, the teamwork and commitment to the race strategy were impressive, with all riders playing their part in the race results.
In other results, Callum Scotson finished tenth in the under 23 time trial, and Jai Hindley was the best placed Australian in 11th in the under 23 road race, both bagging good results amongst high-quality opposition.
Debutants Sarah Gigante and Anya Louw gained useful experience in their junior time trial and road race campaigns, with the two 17-year olds producing top 20 Time Trial results.
Australian Cycling Team Performance Director Simon Jones:
“Overall we had a really pleasing World Championships, and it is very satisfying to see the result of good pre-planning that led to good delivery on the day.
“It’s been a terrific collective effort, and I want to pay tribute to all involved this week in Austria. The manner in which the riders came together as a team and the way the staff worked as a unit in the lead-up and throughout the week in Innsbruck. It was excellent.
“Having said that, we have already started reviewing and looking at areas for improvement, with an eye on Yorkshire in 2019 and Tokyo 2020."