Ballarat young gun Nick White is the new national under-23 men’s road race champion.
White powered away in three-way sprint to take the FedUni Cycling Australia Road National Championships crown in front of family and friends at Buninyong on Saturday.
He had just metres to spare from fellow breakaway riders Michael Potter and Sam Jenner, with a fast-finishing 19-strong peloton just four seconds adrift.
White continued an outstanding championships for Ballarat, with Jesse Norton having won gold in the under-19 men’s criterium in Ballarat on Friday.
“Winning this in my hometown is something else,” said an overwhelmed White.
“I was getting the shakes going around the last lap with everyone yelling out my name. It was a pretty surreal feeling.”
White said the 127.6km race – 11 times around the 11.6km circuit – could not have work out better for him, with the whole of the newly rebranded Bridgelane team riding at the front for him.
“They did an unreal effort to get me around. And even coming down to the bell lap when I had four guys with me I knew I was definitely in with a chance.
“I was starting to feel this could be a reality. This could be mine.”
White described the last time over the climb as “super hard”.
“After all the effort the boys had pout in I knew I had to up at the front.
“So to be able to give (his teammates) a reward and to win is pretty special, White said.
Potter was the first to jump off the front of the lead bunch, with White next to and then followed by Jenner.
White said he was always conscious that the chasing bunch was not far away and “reasonably” worried they might close the gap.
While said while he was confident they would stay away with 1000m to go, he admitted to being nervous at 500m. “They were were coming at us pretty quick.”
White said his coach and former professional rider Pat Shaw had been a huge factor in the victory – encouraging him to have confidence in the process even when White’s preparation was not going as well as the youngster would have liked.