A BLISTERING display at the 2014 Under-19 National Road Championships has Ballarat cyclist Lucas Hamilton firmly in the selectors’ sights for the world titles.
Hamilton claimed gold in the men’s road race and silver in the time trail at Canberra’s Stromlo Forest Park last Friday and Saturday.
The 18-year-old should find out next week if he has made the Australian squad bound for Spain for September’s UCI Road World Championships.
Saturday’s victory in the 118-kilometre road race came after a daring break off the front of the peloton with less than 20 kilometres left.
Hamilton joined the breakaway group before the last ascent of the day and used his climbing abilities to blow the lead group apart in the final few kilometres.
He crossed the finish line with a time of three hours, eight minutes and 50 seconds, ahead of Queensland’s Daniel Fitter (3:08.50) and Western Australia’s Jai Hindley (3:09.00).
“It was pretty important racing in terms of selection for the national team,” Hamilton said of the win.
“Junior racing is pretty unpredictable and I didn’t really have a clue what was going to happen – but the road race was definitely what I came here for.
“I launched as many attacks in the final kilometres as I could because I knew if I was going to win it then that was where I had to make a move.”
The Victorian Institute of Sport rider might have been targeting a victory in the road event since early in the year, but Hamilton couldn’t possibly have predicted what would eventuate in Friday’s 22-kilometre time trial.
A stunning ride up hill and down dale saw him finish just 2.4 seconds shy of eventual winner Callum Scotson (South Australia) with a time of 31:46.53, more than 20 seconds ahead of Ballarat Sebastopol Cycling Club time trial specialist Angus Lyons in third.
“I’m definitely a climber more than anything else and I’d only done two other time trials for the season,” Hamilton said.
“Going into it, I definitely wasn’t one of the favourites and because I didn’t have that much confidence I never thought I was on a winning ride.
“The time trial is something that I’ve been worried about all season, so second was a great result.”
The Ararat-born rider, who is in year 12 at Ballarat Clarendon College, boasts an almost incomparable record on the National Road Series this year.
He began the season with victories at the Australian Madison Championship in January and the under-19 men’s road race at the Oceania Championships one month later.
The lead-up to the national titles saw him claim the time trial, road race and general classification standings at the Junior Mountain Climb Championships in Bright.
He backed up the performance with a stage win in the Mersey Valley Tour in May.
Hamilton will begin preparations for a five-week intensive training camp in Italy as a precursor to the world championships, should he make the selection cut.