Hepburn and Garfoot masters of time at Zarraffas Oceania Road Championships

Fri 13 Feb 2015

ORICA-GreenEDGE's Michael Hepburn and ORICA-AIS' Katrin Garfoot have claimed the Oceania Championships individual time trial double in Toowoomba, Queensland today.

Read the race review courtesy of Cycling Australia below:

Elite men

Queensland's Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEDGE) has been crowned 2015 Oceania time trial champion after a powerful display in his home state on Friday.

In hot and windy conditions, the 2014 time trial national champion blitzed the relatively flat 38 kilometre course in 48:41.14 minutes, a hefty 46.3 kilometres per hour average.

“I’m really pleased to take the win today,” said Hepburn.

“I noticed a big difference between my first and second lap, the wind picked up a lot, I was probably going about five kilometres slower on the second lap so that made it very difficult.

“It was one of those courses that was really hard because we were always on the pedals, with the flatter courses you don’t really get any recovery.” 

For the Brisbane cyclist, racing in front of family and friends was a rare opportunity.

“It’s just down the road for me and I’m not heading to Europe for a couple of weeks so I decided to race, it’s my first Oceania championships on the road so it’s really nice.

“It’s a bit like racing in the old days, with mum and dad supporting me and doing everything yourself. I also had my under 23 national team director James Victor in the car supporting me during the race,” said Hepburn who was the sole representative for Orica-GreenEDGE.

Hepburn’s result continues a strong run from the Australian-based WorldTour outfit, with Luke Durbridge and Cameron Meyer claiming the road race titles in 2014 and 2013 respectively.

“The last few years there has always been one person from the team here with Luke last year and Cam the year before and they seem to have gone pretty well. Coming off the Tour Down Under and Jayco Herald Sun Tour, I’ve got a bit of racing in the legs so I thought why not have a crack.”

New South Wales’ Craig Evers broke through for the biggest result of his career, claiming silver in a time of 49:17.36 minutes, 36 seconds off the pace of Hepburn.

Cannondale-Garmin’s Cameron Wurf (AUS/49:19.41) set the early fastest time, sitting in the hot-seat for the most part of the race before Evers and then Hepburn bumped him off the top step.

Elite women

In the elite women’s event, it was Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Katrin Garfoot (AUS / Orica-AIS) who marked her return to form with a bang.

Garfoot, who missed the summer of racing due to injury, claimed the Oceania title in dominant fashion clocking 32:55.27mins across the 23.1 kilometre out-and-back course.

“I thought I would go hard out to catch Taryn [Heather] because she’s a strong rider and if I could, then I would just have to hold it until the end,” said Garfoot who rose through the ranks in 2013, winning the Oceania road race title before being crowned Subaru National Road Series champion.

“I struggled after my effort on the way out but I fought it back in and it was enough.”

The win marks two time trial titles in a row for the professional outfit, with former member Shara Gillow (AUS) winning gold in 2014.

The German-born cyclist made up ground on her competitors in the headwind to the turn around point, before powering home, 49 seconds faster than silver medallist Lauren Kitchen (AUS/33:44.34).

“It wasn’t my best performance but it’s a good way to come back and it’s a good start to the season.

“I had a knee injury and it took me quite a while to get over it. Since that was my first injury in my cycling career, it was pretty draining but I fought back,” said Garfoot.