The Cycling Australia Road National Championships Elite Men’s Road Race started a breakneck pace and the race situation quickly spiralled out of control for several of the pre-race favourites.
After two laps, a 30-rider strong breakaway formed off the front of the peloton. For those that missed the split, it was day done. InForm TM Insight MAKE’s Nathan Elliott was present in the move that was missing riders including Caleb Ewan, Miles Scotson and Heinrich Haussler.
Luke Durbridge, Michael Freiberg, Alex Edmondson and Chris Harper pushed away from the leading group and the quartet would be the main protagonists of the day’s proceedings.
As the four extended their gap, the big names who had missed the 30 man split were scrambling to get across but to no avail.
The race situation remained the same until Cameron Meyer bridge the gap from the second group the leading four with a little over three laps to go. With now three Mitchelton-Scott riders in the lead group of five, Durbridge and Edmondson shifted their focus to working for Meyer. Edmondson losing contact soon after Meyer had joined.
Chris Harper, arguably the strongest rider of the day, attacked the group on the third last lap which forced Durbridge to do the chasing. Harper was reeled in at the top of the climb on the second last climb by Meyer and Frieberg. The three approach the bell lap together, all appearing rather legless, and it showed on the last climb with Frieberg getting distanced to the tempo riding of the other two.
With the fastest of the three riders on paper distanced, Meyer and Harper worked together until two kilometres to go with the gap to Frieberg at 20 seconds. The leader’s game of cat and mouse opened the door for Frieberg to come back into the fold. As soon as the West Australian made contact, had no hesitation in hitting the two leaders, hanging on for the Gold Medal ahead of the scrambling Harper and Meyer.
Nathan Elliott finished in 17th after spending the whole day in the 26 man break away.
“It was great to be in the breakaway, or my day would have been over fairly early. It was a super hard day out there. Mitchelton- Scott was attacking heaps to split up the group of 30 and I missed out on the right group. Overall, I think I can be happy with my day out there today,” Nathan Elliott said.
The U19 Time Trial is tomorrow, followed by the U23 Time Trial on Tuesday.