RYAN Thomas outperformed his expectations at the under 23 Cycling Australia Road Nationals over January 6-9 in Ballarat.
The Data#3 Symantic cyclist won the jersey for the Jayco Sprint Competition in last Wednesday’s U23 33km criterium.
He dominated the sprint field with 10 and 20 laps to the finish where he crossed the line in seventh place in a field of 67 riders.
“Which pretty much sealed the jersey because I got in the breakaway with about five laps in,” he said.
Ryan ranked criterium winner Jesse Kerrison and third-placed Dan Fitter as exceptional sprinters.
“I can sprint, but not as good as those guys; that’s their bread and butter, so it was good,” he said.
“I still had a reasonably good finish after being in the breakaway the whole race pretty much as well, so I was really happy with the criterium.”
Saturday’s 132.6km U23 road race in punishing heat proved a test of will and stamina with half the 111 starters abandoning the race, and Ryan coming in 31st.
“You could tell by everyone’s jerseys that there was a lot of salt coming off everyone,” he said.
“I think I went through eight (water bottles) in three and a half hours.”
He said by lap 11, he was feeling the heat.
“When the screw got turned, I just didn’t have much left in the legs, unfortunately,” he said.
Ryan felt satisfied with the Nationals performance, but his sights are firmly set on the Victorian National Road Series Herald Sun Tour from February 3-7.
“You’ve got the likes of Chris Froome and Team Sky and all those really, really big riders coming to do it, so it’s going to be a very hard race,” he said.
“But it’s something that, if you get a good result in, it’s going to turn heads, so that’s really what I’m looking to do, there and get a reasonable result there.”