Hamilton falls short as teammate takes top honour in road race

NEW CHAMPION: Alex Edmondson with his gold medal and gold pan after riding the road race of his life. Picture: Dylan Burns
NEW CHAMPION: Alex Edmondson with his gold medal and gold pan after riding the road race of his life. Picture: Dylan Burns

Ararat’s Lucas Hamilton has finished his first Cycling Australia Road Nationals elite campaign with a 28th-place finish in the road race at Ballarat on Sunday.

Hamilton was unable to force himself to the front of the field as the leaders made their move, with Hamilton finishing 89 seconds behind Mitchelton-Scott teammate Alex Edmondson who won the 185.6km event.

Edmondson has proved he is a talent, with multiple national and world championships under his belt. He is a Commonwealth Games gold medallist and was an Olympian at the age of 18 years.

Now he is a star on the road, following the championships win.

He survived a two-man tussle with fellow South Australian, sometimes training partner and good mate Chris Harper for most of the final two laps.

Jay McCarthy grabbed second in the final sprint as a chasing group closed, with Harper holding on for third.

However, it was not until well into the last of 17 of 11.6km laps that Edmondson had any certainty whether he would keep pushing at the front to figure in the finish or allow Mitchelton-Scott teammate and premier sprinter Caleb Ewan to make the catch for the dash to the line.

“I was second guessing what to do – me or Caleb? I knew it was going to be close.”

Edmondson, 24, said raceday team director Matt Hayman told him it was up to him on the road to make the call. He said when he saw Harper go he responded. Ewans closed in a chasing group, but had to settle for fourth.

Edmondson said he was amazed with the win. “This is one hell of a moment.”

He said he went into the race without any specific plan. “I came here just trying to my best for the team. I wouldn’t have thought I was any chance at the start of the day, but you always have to prepared.”

Troy Herfoss, who is a two-time Australian superbike champion, produced one of the rides of the day outside the top three.

The 30-year-old masters champion was the last surviving member of a breakaway, which led by up to seven minutes mid-race, to be reined in with a little more than two laps to go.

Simon Gerrans took the responsibility of ensuring the breakaway was caught and consequently pulled out inside the last 20km.

His BMC teammate and defending champion Miles Scotson made a similar sacrifice.