Sport Grace Brown, Rohan Dennis reclaim national time-trial titles
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Grace Brown, Rohan Dennis reclaim national time-trial titles

Grace Brown has won the women's Australian time-trial title for the first time since 2019. Photo: AP
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Tokyo Olympians Rohan Dennis and Grace Brown have dominated the elite time-trial races on day one of the Australian road cycling championships.

Dennis made it four-all with Luke Durbridge when he easily won the last event on Wednesday at Mt Helen near Ballarat.

The Tokyo time-trial bronze medallist easily beat Durbridge by a minute 13.13 seconds over the 37.5-kilometre course.

Dennis, the two-time world champion in the discipline, clocked 45 minutes 33.58 seconds.

Conor Leahy was 1:47.93 off the pace for the bronze medal.

“It’s been a good two years since I’ve been in Australia and it’s always good to win nationals – it’s never easy,” Dennis said.

“Both times when I was world champion, I couldn’t win. So it’s always about who can really prepare properly and everyone brings their A game in January.

“Australia still has a lot of meaning to me … a new lease on life (with his new team).”

Dennis won three successive national time trial championships from 2016-18, but Durbridge beat him to claim the next two.

Durbridge, who also won the event in 2012-13, was runner-up last year to Lucas Plapp.

As a close contact to a COVID-19 case, Plapp has been stranded in Tasmania and could not defend his title.

Brown similarly smashed the rest of the women’s elite field earlier on Wednesday to reclaim the title she first won in 2019.

The 29-year-old rode the women’s 28.6-kilometre course in 41 minutes 26.68 seconds.

Emerging South Australian Amber Pate was 1:01.43 behind in second place and Lisa Jacob took the bronze in 42:40.77.

Brown had finished runner-up in the time trial at the past two nationals behind Sarah Gigante, who is out of action because of a heart condition.

“FdJ have supported me a lot already in my preparations for the time trial, so I really wanted to get this win for them, their first win of the season,” Brown said.

“It was a pretty hard race actually, it didn’t come easy. I’m proud of the effort.”

Brown confirmed her status as the top Australian in women’s time-trial with her fourth placing amid a stellar field at the Tokyo Games.

Earlier on Wednesday, Tokyo Paralympics stars David Nicholas, Carol Cooke, Paige Greco, Amanda Reid, Emily Petricola and Darren Hicks were among the category winners.

Hamish McKenzie and Isabelle Carnes won the junior time-trials, while Carter Turnbull and Anya Louw took out the under-23 categories.

-AAP