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Queensland's Shara Gillow and South Australia's Rohan Dennis dominated their opponents to claim the time trial crowns at the 2012 Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Learmonth.
Queensland's Shara Gillow was simply superb blitzing the quality women's field to win by over one minute to succesfully defend her time trial crown.
The last of 27 starters to head out on the course, GreenEDGE-AIS's Gillow, 24, powered her way through the 27.1kilometre distance to record a scintillating time of 37:04.35, over a minute better than the time she posted to win the title one year earlier.
Despite blustery conditions which made it difficult for all riders, it was a clear win for Gillow who finished one minute and 13 seconds ahead of silver medalist Taryn Heather of South Australia who clocked 38:17.54, with Victoria's Bridie O'Donnell one second back in third in 38:18.78.
"It was pretty windy out there today and being the start of the season, I just wanted to have a good race," said Gillow, the best placed Australian at the past two UCI Road World Championships after finishing eighth in 2010 and twelfth last year.
"I probably started out a bit too fast, but I went out there today doing a bit of an experiment," Gillow explained. "I'm learning so much as I go and I just tried a few different things today.
"There’s always some things you can change, but I’m pretty happy with how it went," said said.
The win gave the GreenEDGE AIS team a clean sweep of the three women's events following Alexis Rhodes' win in Thursday's criterium and Amanda Spratt's spectacular solo victory in the road race on Saturday.
"We have been really racing well the GreenEDGE girls, and what could be better than taking out all three jerseys," Gillow said.
"I just feel like I’m getting better and better as a rider, doing more time trials and road races, learning more from the bunches and reading races. Hopefully I can continue that when we go back to Europe this year.
“Today’s result is great, I’m really happy to be able to back up after last year, but for me the bigger picture is the Olympics.
"I’m aiming for gold in London, (but) I don’t just want to make the team, I’m aiming higher and hoping to do really well," she added.
Heather, 29, claimed her second consecutive silver medal in the event, after bursting on the scene last year just six months after taking to the sport after attending an AIS National Talent Identification session in Adelaide late in 2010.
"Shara overtook me and I didn't realise I was still in second place, so I am pretty happy I still came away with the silver," said the South Australian Institute of Sport cyclist.
"I trained pretty hard for both the road race and the time trial, but maybe with some more racing and steady training, hopefully I can get up on the top of the podium next year," added Heather.
South Australia's Sinead Noonan claimed her second gold medal of the championships after posting the best time in the under 23 category.
Noonan, who took the gold in Saturday's road race after finishing 12th overall in her first race with the Jayco AIS team, finished ninth overall with a time of 39:54.85.
"I am pretty overwhlemed at the moment, to get both is pretty exciting," said Noonan. "I am looking forward to going overseas with the Jayco AIS team this year now, getting more experience riding with the pros and seeing what I can do."
New South Wales Lauren Kitchen (40:16.56) and West Australia's Sarah Kent (40:19.02) took the silver and bronze medals after finishing tenth and eleventh respectively.
South Australia’s Rohan Dennis, 21, collected his second gold medal of the week with a dominating performance in the under 23 time trial.
“I can’t describe this, I keep saying it is a perfect start to the year,” said Dennis, who claimed his first Australian road race crown on Saturday.
“It was a dream of mine to win the road race as I have never won one before at a senior level, so to win both jerseys, it is a dream come true in my last year of under 23s,” said Dennis.
The Jayco AIS rider reclaimed the title he won in 2010, finishing well clear of his rivals after averaging 48.2km/hour across the 27.1kilometre course to post a time of 33:42.70.
Dennis finished 15 seconds ahead of Jayco AIS teammate Damian Howson who crossed the line in 33:57.49 to take the silver medal. Tasmania’s Campbell Flakemore took the bronze medal with 34:23.26.
Queensland’s Jay McCarthy (Jayco-AIS) finished just three seconds off the podium in 34:26.55, despite suffering a crash inside the final ten kilometres. In all, Jayco-AIS finished with six riders in the top nine placings.
“(This race) definitely wasn’t going to be an easy one, but all of us Jayco guys have been training really hard,” said Dennis, who reached over 65 kilometres per hour across parts of the course.
“It was the goal to catch one or maybe two guys, so it was good to start off a little earlier so I had guys to chase down.
“I certainly wasn’t coming into here expecting to win everything, but I am lucky enough and happy enough to come up with both jerseys.
“I have been working for the time trial ever since I started training this season and have worked really hard with Tim (Decker), so to claim them both, just goes to show all the hard work has paid off,” Dennis added.
Dennis will now head to the Santos Tour Down Under where he will compete as part of the UNI SA-Australia team. Following this, the reigning team pursuit world champion, will turn his attention to the velodrome ahead of the Track National Championships in Adelaide later this month and April’s UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne.
“I have track nationals, one world cup and hopefully track worlds and Olympics. The Olympics is the main goal and hopefully I can come home with a gold there as well,” Dennis said.