CYCLING: A mid-race mechanical while in medal contention derailed Rohan Dennis' ride as he claimed sixth in the elite men's time trial at the 2015 UCI Road World Championships Richmond, Virginia on Wednesday.
Michael Hepburn (QLD) finished fifteenth, while Luke Durbridge (WA) rounded out the top twenty.
Dennis, winner of the Tour Down Under and Tour de France stage one time trial in 2015, targeted the top step of the podium prior to the race, but lost 15-20 seconds to a bike change during the race.
After taking some time to settle back into race rhythm, Dennis stopped the clock at 1 hour 3 mins 36 seconds on the 53-kilometre course, to finish in sixth place in a highly competitive field. Vasil Kiryineka (Belarus) took out the win ahead of Italy's Adriano Malori. Jérome Coppel (France) rounded out the podium.
"It started pretty well," said Dennis. "I went out on my pace. I was little bit down on after the first two checkpoints but holding steady. With around 25-kilometres to go, I was going on the main highway and I got a rear puncture. Bit of a bummer, but it's sort of the way it goes sometimes.
"I could try to blame that on the reason why I lost, but I wouldn't have beaten Kiryienka anyway," Dennis added. "He was on an awesome ride. Now I'm back to the drawing board to work on next year and Rio."
"It is a bit of an average way to finish the season, but it's been an exceptional season," Dennis added. "I can take a lot of confidence out of what I have achieved. Today would have been the cherry on the top if I could have pulled it off, but my result today doesn't take away from all that I've accomplished."
Michael Hepburn (WLD) was the first rider to stand in the start house at Kings Dominion amusement park. The Oceania time trial champion set a fast early standard, riding himself into a 40-minute stint in the hot seat with a time of 1 hour 4 mins 28 sec. By race end, Hepburn's time proved good for 15th place.
"It was a hard race today," said Hepburn. "The course was relentless. There wasn't any place that you could back off."
A late entry to the time trial, two-time national champion Luke Durbridge (WA) rounded out the top-20 with a time of 1 hour 4 mins 47 sec. He paced himself over the challenging course, leaving it all out on the road.
"There were some strong performances there, which was very encouraging especially from Michael Hepburn in 15th place and Luke Durbridge only 20 seconds behind," said Elite Men's Road Director Bradley McGee. "The put themselves in good company, and we will be looking on building on that for future campaigns."
"We can be disappointed with Rohan's result," McGee added. "We all know he had a big year with some amazing performances. He started off winning Tour Down Under in January, and here we are in late September, still running with the best."
The individual time trial marks the season end for Dennis and Hepburn.
Durbridge will race the elite men's road race in Richmond on Sunday alongside Michael MATTHEWS, 24 (ACT), Simon GERRANS, 35 (VIC),Simon CLARKE, 29 (VIC), Heinrich HAUSSLER, 31 (NSW), Jay McCARTHY, 22 (QLD), Adam HANSEN, 34 (QLD), Mathew HAYMAN, 37 (ACT) and Mitchell DOCKER, 28 (VIC).
Saturday 26 September
Junior Women's Road Race
Anna-Leeza HULL (18, NSW), Jessica PRATT (17, QLD)
Men's Under 23 Road Race
Harry CARPENTER, 22 (SA), Alistair DONOHOE, 20 (VIC), Jack HAIG, 21 (VIC), Nicholas SCHULTZ, 20 (QLD), Miles SCOTSON, 21 (SA)
Sunday 27 September
Junior Men's Road Race
Michael STORER (18, WA), Harry SWEENY (17, QLD), Samuel JENNER (18, NSW)
Women's Elite Road Race
Katrin GARFOOT 33 (QLD), Tiffany CROMWELL, 27 (SA), Gracie ELVIN, 26 (ACT), Amanda SPRATT, 27 (NSW), Elizabeth WILLIAMS, 32 (VIC), Lauren KITCHEN, 24 (NSW), Loren ROWNEY, 26 (QLD), Rachel NEYLAN, 33 (NSW)
Monday 28 September
Men's Elite Road Race
Michael MATTHEWS, 24 (ACT), Simon GERRANS, 35 (VIC), Simon CLARKE, 29 (VIC), Heinrich HAUSSLER, 31 (NSW), Jay McCARTHY, 22 (QLD), Adam HANSEN, 34 (QLD),Mathew HAYMAN, 37 (ACT), Mitchell DOCKER, 28 (VIC), Luke DURBRIDGE, 24 (WA)