Reigning team pursuit world champion and newly crowned Oceania scratch race champion Alex Porter (SA) transferred his track form on to the road to claim the under 23 men's criterium at the 2017 MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships.
In an a thrilling finish a five ride group of Porter, Lucas Hamilton (VIC), Jai Hindley (WA), Ayden Toovey (NSW) and Ryan Thomas (QLD) were joined by a fast finishing Scott Bowden (TAS) who attacked from a select three rider chase group.
Porter's speed was too strong for Tour de l'Avenir Mountains Classification winner Hamilton who took silver with Toovey rounding out the podium.
The five rider group established themselves at the half way point building an advantage of over 40 seconds. With the peloton sensing the opportunity to contest the win was slipping away, Bowden, Harrison Bailey (NSW), and Ben Carmen (QLD) set off in pursuit.
With Bowden leading the chase the three chasers were able to halve the advantage to under 20 seconds before Hamilton put in a big attack over the line to extend the advantage.
As the bell sounded Bowden was within eight seconds, and he had the leaders well in his sights before joining them in the final 200 metres. With a tailwind behind him and his explosive tack speed Porter was unstoppable in the race to the line.
"I knew there was some quick guys back in the main bunch so I knew I would have a better chance if I was off the front with just a small number of guys, so when I saw that move go I thought it was a good opportunity to get in it and just try to utilise only having sprint against only five guys rather than 60 odd," Porter said.
As he started the sprint the South Australian had one thought going through his mind. "Where's the finish line? I had to go early I knew I had the wind which was gonna help.
"But I went full gas and looking at the sign 100 (metres), 50 (metres) to go I was just making sure no one was coming over the top of me and I crossed the line it was honestly unreal.
Best known as a track rider including world titles in both the junior and elite category and a recent Oceania title.
"It means a huge amount, to get a win on the road. I've been riding on the track for a while now and I’ve had some success with the team pursuit and I really wanted to get some individual successes so to get something like this under my belt is awesome."
With the criterium title under his belt Porter is turning his attention to the road race on Saturday. "Yeah well and truly I think those guys that were there in the break are the ones that are going to be there over the top of Buninyong so I am hoping that with a bit of form that I have got now, I can be there with them on Saturday."
Under 23 Men's Criterium Podium
Gold - Alex Porter (SA)
Silver - Lucas Hamilton (VIC)
Bronze - Ayden Toovey (NSW)
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