JORDAN Kerby is hoping a new national road title will be impetus for a long-term international cycling career.
The Queenslander made the ideal start to a new chapter in his sporting life by taking out the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships under-23 men's road race at Buninyong on Saturday.
He outsprinted time trial champion Damien Howson in a desperate finish.
Victorian Jack Haig secured third after losing touch with Kerby and Howson in sight of the finish.
Kerby said the national gold medal was the culmination of five years of hard work.
"This is definitely the biggest win of my life.
"I'm trying to go places and this is a first step. "
Kerby, 20, is not completely new to the big time.
He was a two-time world junior track champion in Italy in 2010 – points race and team pursuit.
However, he dismissed the impact of those victories in achieving his long-term goal of carving out an overseas-based future.
Kerby explained that the past few years had been tough.
He battled sickness in 2011 and then last year had to pay his own way to get to races.
Kerby said having signed with a Danished-based team Christina Watches, he now had the chance to ride in Europe.
Kerby missed the first break of the day.
He crossed the gap with Howson and then helped the 20-plus strong group get more than six minutes ahead in the 137.2km event.
The advantage was trimmed to little more than three minutes with two laps (20km) to ride.
It was then that Kerby, Howson, Haig and Sam Crome launched an attack off the front this bunch to take a stranglehold on the race.
"We just drilled it."
Kerby was overwhelmed by the win - breaking down as the realisation of his achievement.
He will now set himself the goal of representing Australia in the world road titles in Italy in September.
Michael Crosbie, of Victoria, won the king of the mountain title.
Jordan Kerby (Qld) 3:19.48
Damien Howson (SA) same time
Jack Haig (Vic) +3sec
Aaron Donnelly (NSW) +44sec
Brendan Johnston (ACT) +46sec
Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (ACT) st
Sam Crome (Vic) +1.06
Michael Crosbie (Vic) +1.08
Scott Law (NSW) +1.15
Ryan Macanally (Qld) st
KING OF THE MOUNTAIN