Credit: Cycling Australia / Zac Williams
Lucas Plapp (Inform TM Insight MAKE) showed he was the best of an impressive Under 23 Mens crop on a gusty Ballarat day, taking out the Road National Championships time-trial ahead of Kelland O’Brien and Carter Turnbull (Inform TM Insight MAKE).
Plapp powered over the new 28.6 kilometre course based around Federation University in a time of 37 minutes and 43 seconds to beat fellow track star O’Brien by 15 seconds, with Turnbull a further 38 seconds in arrears.
Understandably buoyed after his victory, the Victorian ecstatically embraced teammates and staff after the finish.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Plapp. “Getting second last year was pretty annoying so it’s awesome to go one better. I knew today – whoever won – it was going to take a special ride with this calibre of field. When I crossed the line, I didn’t expect it to be honest.”
The Under 23 men’s field was full of quality riders, with 2019 National Road Series champion Jarrad Drizners (Hagens Berman Axeon) having to settle for fifth with many other notable names ending up in positions that would have seemingly been below what they were aiming for pre-race.
“There was such a quality field here today,” said Plapp, “riding with one of my idols in Kell (O’Brien). The course has something for everyone, the heavier guys have to put out a lot more watts on the hill and then try and make it back on the hill. To be able to go through the uni twice with the crowd was awesome.”
Plapp is a member of the Australian Cycling Team, part of the Team Pursuit squad that is aiming for Tokyo gold in July. In between his track commitments, he puts in time on the road racing scene with Inform TM Insight MAKE and credited the team with his preparation for the race.
“Inform have been huge,” said Plapp. “Since the track finished earlier last year, they have just fully supported me for this event and having Pat Lane and the team in the car behind was unreal.”
The immediate goal for Plapp is the Olympics now that he’s hit his first goal at nationals.
“Full steam towards Tokyo now, that’s the goal on the track,” said Plapp. “Give everything a crack for Tokyo and see where we end up… and if not hopefully go to Switzerland for worlds in Aigle and do the TT there.”
Plapp and O’Brien were discussing the race together after the finish, with fellow team pursuiter Sam Welsford on hand to chat as well, painting a rosy picture of the team’s camaraderie. It’s an image that highlights the closeness of the squad and was confirmed by Plapp.
“It is,” said Plapp. “We all live together in Adelaide, we’re all best mates and see each other every day. It’s actually really interesting racing each other, we don’t get to do it much, we’re normally on the same team. We have a great culture, we all love each other and get along really well.”
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Written by Jamie Finch-Penninger