William Hodges has continued his impressive run of form in New South Wales: taking victory in the under 23 state road championships yesterday.
Hodges took the win in a sprint finish after 140kms of racing on a tough course in Gunning. Wind played a big factor in the race, with a 4 man breakaway establishing early which included Oliver’s rider Campbell Jones, who finished runner up in the previous days under 23 Individual Time Trial Championship.
With an advantage of only 90 seconds, and with the breakaway not working well together, Jones took the chance to ride away solo with 100kms to to. An ambitious move, but with Oliver’s sprinter Hodges safely in the peloton with team-mate Fintan Conway: the pressure was on the rest of the field to spend energy in the tough conditions to bring Jones back into the fold.
With the breakaway riders swept up in the final 10kms of the race: Hodges was patient and timed his final sprint to perfection uphill into a headwind. Taking victory over former Oliver’s Racing rider Thomas Bolton (Drapac Cycling) with Rauland Cycling team’s Myles Stewart in 3rd place.
In the corresponding Victorian Road Championships also held yesterday in Ballarat: Conor Murtagh came agonisingly close to defending his elite road title from one year ago: taking second place to Drapac Cycling’s Liam White after the duo broke away in the late stages of the 125km road race.
William Hodges: “I’m very happy to come off a bit of a break after the earlier season races, and being sick, and come here and win. Have to really thank my two team-mates today. Gave me a free ride all day and the chance to finish the job. Feels really good to add another result to the Oliver’s Racing tally.“
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U23 NSW State Road Race Champion 🏆 Huge thankyou to @campbell.jones1 and @fino986 for giving me a free ride all day and the chance to finish the job. Feels good to add another result to the @oliversracing season and looking forward to getting the boys up for more on the big stage