Australia’s burgeoning young talent was to the fore on the second day of the UCI World Road Cycling Championships in Italy today.
Their riders were first and fourth in the under-23 men and second and third in the junior women in an emphatic display.
Best of the New Zealand riders were the Auckland pair of Devon Hiley and James Oram. Hiley, in her first world road championships, had a solid 15th placing in the junior women while Oram was 26thin the under-23 men.
Hiley started strongly to be 12th fastest through the first time check in the 16.19km test on a fast and flat course in Florence. The national junior champion, coached by Gordon McCauley, held a constant speed on the super fast roads to finish in 23min 15.41 sec, which was 32 seconds down on the winner, Severine Eraud from France. The winner came from 13 seconds down at the first time check to beat the two Australians for top spot on the podium.
Team-mate Madison Campbell from Christchurch was 38th.
Oram, 20, in his second year with the Bontrager Pro team based in USA, had a solid hit out ahead of the road race later in the week.
He started conservatively to be 42nd through the first time check on the 43.46km route but steadily improved, with the last 15kms up with the fastest on the course. He finished in 26th spot in 53min 17.77sec, which was 3min 38sec down on winner Damien Howson of Australia.
Howson, the Oceania champion, who will join GreenEDGE on the World Tour next year, was all class to win by a minute ahead of Yoann Paillot (France) and Garmin-Sharp-bound Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark, the Olympic Omnium gold medallist.
Oram said he was pleased with his effort on the flat and fast course.
“It never felt like there was any tail wind. I really put everything out there on the course today so I was pleased,” Oram said. “I had wanted a top 10 but this course was too flat for me and with the length it was always going to suit the big guys.
“I felt really good getting out of the seat and punching out of the corners so that’s a good sign for later in the week.”
Teammate Michael Vink (Christchurch), the national under-23 champion, was disappointed with his 36th placing in 54 min 05.61sec.
Tomorrow’s attention turns to the elite women where New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen is chasing a fifth straight world championship medal in the time trial.
She is uncertain of her chances on the open, flat and fast course.
“Half of it is fast and flat which does not suit me. But the last part is technical with lots of turns. But it definitely suits the bigger and stronger riders,” Villumsen said.
The elite men’s race is on Thursday ahead of the road races.
Time trial, junior women, 16.19km: Severine Eraud (FRA) 22:42.63, 1; Alexandria Nicholls (AUS) 22:45.32, 2; Alexandra Manly (AUS) 22:50.80, 3. Also NZers: Devon Hiley 23:15.41, 15; Madison Campbell 24:11.98, 38.
Under-23, 43.46km: Damien Howson (AUS) 49:49.97, 1; Yoann Paillot (FRA) 50:47.08, 2; Lasse Norman Hansen (DEN) 51:00.10, 3. Also NZers: James Oran 53:17.77, 26; Michael Vink 54:05.61, 36.