Cycling: Liam Magennis wins national under-23 time trial gold medal at Ballarat

LIAM Magennis is no stranger to being near the top of the tree, but a breakthrough win in the Australia under-23 national championship time trial could be the tonic he needs to represent his country.

A 20-second win over 2018 junior world championship time trial silver medallist Lucas Plapp at Ballarat last Tuesday handed the 21-year-old his first-ever Australian title.

Magennis has been on the national individual time trial podium before as an under-19 when he won bronze.

He also won an under-23 silver medal in the Oceania individual time trial championships in 2018 and gold in 2017.

Wins at professional criteriums in the USA and Canada appear on his CV and he has regularly won in the national road series.

But there was one success that had eluded him.

“I’ve had a bit of a rough run with not making the Australian team – just missing selection – but winning the time trial at nationals is a statement,” Magennis said.

“Hopefully it gets me a spot in the Aussie team.

“I’ve had plenty of seconds and thirds and won the Oceania time trial, but never the Australian one.”

Magennis said the national time trial win was more satisfying than his success at Oceania level in 2017.

I’ve had a bit of a rough run with not making the Australian team – just missing selection – but winning the time trial at nationals is a statement.

Liam Magennis

“This one means a lot more because all the best riders under-23 are at nationals,” he said.

“Time trials are really hard to win because you’re either having a good day or a bad day and it’s just yourself against the clock.

“I definitely reckon it’s the most meaningful and biggest race.”

“I’ve done up a bit of a time trial resume now; I won the Uni Games last year and had a few state TT wins,” he said.

“Being able to say you’re the best under-23 in Australia at time trials is pretty good.”

While Magennis has only been riding for five or six years, he admitted there had been times where he wondered if the wins would ever happen.

“The key to it all was hard work and persistence; I feel like I’ve had plenty of ups and downs,” he said.

“There’s been a few times where I felt like giving the sport away, but I keep coming back and get a win like that is fantastic.

“Being able to say you’re the best under-23 in Australia at time trials is pretty good.”

Liam Magennis

“I’m pretty competitive and knew I had the potential to get a result.”

Magennis and coach Stu Shaw have now set their sights on greater achievements.

“We’re talking about world championships now so there are always bigger steps and bigger races to win; it’s one of those stepping stones I had to get to keep moving forward,” he said.

“I go into every race thinking it’s just another bike race and you’ve always got to keep the results coming.

“Sport’s pretty up and down and you’re only as good as your last race.”

Magennis will head to New Zealand in two weeks for the New Zealand Cycle Classic ahead of the Herald Sun Tour in early February.

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