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Australian nationals: Grace Brown, Jay Vine win time trial titles

Climbing ace Vine upsets the specialists while Brown confirms her status.

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Grace Brown (FDJ-Suez) and Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) powered to victory in the Australian national time trial Tuesday in Ballarat.

Brown defended her time trial title to confirm her status as Australia’s fastest woman against the clock, while Vine upset the TT specialists in the men’s race.

Brown was the pre-race favorite, and delivered a smooth ride to victory. Georgie Howe (Jayco-AlUla) stopped the clock for silver at 37.89 seconds slower, with Brodie Chapman (Trek-Segafredo) claiming bronze to go with her road title she won Sunday.

“I always notice that there’s a little bit of expectation,” Brown said. “Coming second at the world championships puts a little bit of a target on my back, but it doesn’t really change what I do.

“I haven’t looked at my numbers yet but I think it was a solid race for this time of year,” she said. “It’s always hard in January to produce my best numbers but I think I did a good race for this time of the year.”

Brown’s second national TT title comes on the heels of her winning silver at the 2022 UCI Road World Championship in Wollongong and gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last summer.

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Jay Vine upsets the specialists

Climbing ace Vine upset the established Australian TT hierarchy with a surprise win.

Vine, who will debut in his new UAE Team Emirates colors at the Santos Tour Down Under this week, set an early top time on the 37.5km course.

Four-time national TT champ Luke Durbridge (Jayco AlUla) and newly crowned road race champion Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) were tapped as pre-race favorites, but neither could match Vine’s steady pace.

“I’m super happy with this win. Time trialing is always something I thought I could improve on, but I just hadn’t been able to go fast in a good position on the bike since turning professional,” Vine said.

“We’ve worked a lot with the team to get me in the right position, and it’s definitely working for me so far. To win the title here with the great support of my wife, friends, and family is just an amazing way to start the season.”

Durbridge finished second at 2.72 seconds slower for silver, with Plapp missing the podium with fourth after struggling with bike issues.

Kelland O’Brien, winner of the elite men’s critérium on Friday, finished third.

Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) skipped the nationals and will make his 2022 season debut at the Santos Tour Down Under starting Sunday in Adelaide.

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