Queensland's Aaron Kemps unleashed a powerful burst to sprint home and claim the Wattbike Australian Criterium crown at the Scody Australian Open Road Championships in Ballarat
The 26 year old from Bundaberg rides with Fly V Australia and his team provided a perfect springboard for his win.
"I am very happy with this win and very thankful for Fly V, a new team for me this year, and very happy for the first race of the year get a win up for them," said Kemps. "It is a team for Australians and I am proud to be in an Australian team and now I am proud to take this jersey overseas and represent Australia."
Victorian Dean Windsor (Rapha Condor) was second and Tasmanian Will Clarke (Praties) crossed the line in third place with only eight riders completing the course.
"I tried to be as aggressive as I could from the start and my legs felt really good today, but all the boys rode really well today, we did a great effort," said Kemps. "When eight to ten of us got away, I was just happy to stay to the finish and then Bernie Sulzberger did a great job leading me out and I can't thank him enough since he was last year's Australian criterium champion."
Windsor for his part knew he would be up against it in the final sprint.
"With three Fly V and two Drapac riders in the breakaway it made it quite difficult being by myself but I just made sure I jumped with everything that went," said Windsor. "It used a lot of my energy but I just couldn't afford to miss the winning break.
"Unfortunately my legs were a little tired in the final sprint."
Clarke, who was the 2009 National Road Series Champion, ws happy to move onto the podium after a fourth placing in yesterdays time trial.
"I am really happy," said Clarke. "I have come into these championships with some really good form and hopefully I can continue it through to the road race."
In the women's race a brave solo attack midway through the race South Australia's Carlee Light ride the majority of the 30 laps on her own to claim her maiden Australian title crown.
"I am thrilled to bits and can't really believe it," said the 24-year-old who claimed the silver medal in Wednesday's time trial. "You have to find something special for the nationals and I guess I found it."
Light, a former track and field athlete who competed in steeplechase, launched a surprise attack with 18 laps to go.
Numerous attempts by West Australia's Josephine Tomic and Tasmania's Belinda Goss were in vain and Light maintained her advantage to the end to win by almost 300 metres.
"I was just sort of testing my legs, the team plan was to have a crack and I thought it is about time I got up there and gave it a go," said Light, who was discovered in an Australian Institute of Sport talent identification program in early 2009.
"So with ten laps to go, I had already been out there for ages and I thought oh my god what am I doing out here, but I realised I had to keep going, because once you have a gap you can't give it up 'cause all the girls want it."
Canberra's Chloe Hosking took the silver medal in a bunch sprint, narrowly edging New South Wales' Megan Dunn on the line.
Hosking and Dunn were also awarded gold and silver respectively in the under 23 classification with Victoria's Peta Mullens (6th across the line) the bronze medallist in the U23 ranks.
“It is nice to win the U23 award but I came here to win,” said Hosking proudly wearing her new Team HTC - Columbia jersey for the first time adding, “I am happy to have beaten the likes of Rochelle Gilmore and Belinda Goss, that is something really special to take away from the race, but it isn’t a green and gold jersey."
Like Hosking, Dunn was also happy with her podium finish.
“The best training is racing so to get a couple of medals on the way fills me with confidence,” said Dunn.
“It is great to see how women’s racing is developing; there are such a great bunch of young women coming through right now. You only have to see how many U23’s are in the top of the results."
In the U23 men's race Victoria's Daniel Braunsteins launched a successful attack from the lead group with two laps remaining to secure the crown. His Drapac Porsche team mate, Canberra's Thomas Palmer, finished just ahead of Team Jayco Skins Malcolm Rudolph (QLD) in a sprint finish for silver.
"This is the first national title for me and I had good form leading up from the Bay crits where I had a third (place)," said Braunsteins, who rides with the Drapac Porsche team.
With three laps remaining, the three placegetters were part of an eight man break away but Braunsteins chose his moment well and his rivals couldn't answer.
"I was just trying to be patient and make my move near the end and just as the race started to get hard, and in there were three of us (Drapac) in it, so it meant I could sit in a rest my legs a bit more," said Braunsteins, a former mountain biker, whose road credentials include winning the under 23 road race at the 2009 Oceania Championships.
"With two laps to go I hit them with everything I had, and got a gap and stayed away, so I am stoked."
The Championships are being staged at Buninyong and the Ballarat CBD in Victoria, from 6 to 10 January. Further information about the race routes and to download entry lists please visit cycling.org.au or aorcc.com