MICHAEL Hepburn exceeded his own expectations to take the elite men’s time trial crown from Luke Durbridge in the MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships at Burrumbeet yesterday.
A disappointed Durbridge had to settle for second to his teammate in an all ORICA-GreenEDGE
South Australian Damien Howson was third.
Hepburn, of Queensland, said capturing the title had been beyond his expectations.
He said he went into the 45km event hoping for a podium finish, but not expecting to beat Durbridge.
Hepburn, who had won a time trial once previously, said he had raced Durbridge in time trials, but never beaten him.
Hepburn has been a world champion on the track, but this is his best result on the road. He said he was eager to improve his time trailing.
“This is one area I want to improve in. I feel I can improve.
“Hopefully, this is an indicator of things to come ... a stepping stone and signs of better things to come this year.”
Durbridge led by 30 seconds at the halfway mark, but had no answer to Hepburn’s finish.
Hepburn finished in 56 minutes 25.90 seconds, 12 seconds better than Durbridge.
He described the event as a tough ride in tough conditions on a tough course.
He said despite being down on Durbridge midway through the event, he was confident he would finish strongly.
Hepburn said he found the second half easier than he thought it would be.
“This is pretty special.
“It’s huge for me,” he said.
Durbridge gave no excuses for lowering his colours, dismissing any suggestion that a “sore throat” on Sunday had any impact.
“I gave it everything, but it wasn’t enough.”
He said he would review his race to see what went wrong.
“I’ll be back.”