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Kaden Hopkins continues national dominance with breakaway win in road race

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Two in a row: Kaden Hopkins celebrates winning the national road race championships (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

Days after notching up his fifth national time-trial title in six years, Kaden Hopkins produced a dominant display to secure a second consecutive victory in the road championships at Clearwater Beach on Sunday.

Hopkins, 24, broke away from the leading pack heading into the last lap of the 62-mile race, finishing in 2hr 24min 25sec, 1:44 ahead of runner-up Conor White. Australian Matt Boys, winner of the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race, finished third in 2:26:09.

Nic Narraway, who was third in the time-trial, settled for fourth position, while Dominique Mayho, an eight-times winner finished sixth behind Nicholas Pilgrim.

“I’m really happy to win and defend the title,’’ Hopkins told The Royal Gazette.

“After the time-trial the other day I knew I was in good shape and I knew I had good legs.

“When I came out today I actually didn’t feel good at the start. I don’t know if I slept bad but my back felt a little bit tweaked, but as the race went on it loosened up a little bit.

Conor White, left, Kaden Hopkins, Matt Boys (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

“I put in an attack, I got little bit of a gap and then I just knew that I just had to go flat out as long as I could.

“It was close at first and it wasn't opening that quickly, but you have to bet on the guys behind not co-operating.

“If they’re co-operating, then it’s finished for you, so I was counting on that they wouldn’t. I knew that if I could get out of sight for long enough, it would play on the minds of the guys behind, and I think that’s what happened.

“I just found some good legs for the last 30 minutes of the race. It felt like after I attacked I wasn't fading at all and I was just able to push all the way to the finish.”

White was content with being the runner-up for the second race in a row after settling for the same position on Thursday.

“It’s always a tactical race because we’re all strong and can’t drop each other,’’ White said.

“It’s how we expect it every year and we expect that Nic, Kaden and I are going to do the majority of the work.

“Obviously we race overseas, so we’re expected to be the strong guys. I took a gamble letting Kaden go and trying to entice the other guys to do some work.

“I knew when he went that it was going to be tough for us to pull it back, but I was hoping that we could all work together.

“Once we realised that he was gone, we started playing games and it was a hard sprint for second.”

After finishing third Boys stressed his lack of desire to win as he is ineligible to to win the national jersey.

Philip Mace, left, Gabriella Arnold, Jackson Langley, Charlotte Millington and Kaden Hopkins (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

“It was an interesting race but I can’t win the national champion jersey, so I was just happy to be allowed to race,’’ he said.

“It’s not my jersey to lose, so when Kaden attacked I looked at the other guys to see what they were going to do. They looked at each other and Kaden is so strong and was able to hold it off.

“I wasn't willing to take any risks, it’s not my race, and I didn’t really care about losing. I was just happy to see how it played out.”

With four-times champion Caitlin Conyers ruled out by illness, Gabriella Arnold claimed her first national road race title.

Arnold took the title in 1:53:25, a minute ahead of Panzy Olander, while Liana Medeiros, winner of the time-trial title on Thursday, was third in 1:53:34.

“It feels great to come back and win the national road race championships,’’ Arnold said.

“It’s always an honour to win the national championships. That means Kaden and I get to wear the Bermuda flag on our jersey when we compete in road races, which is always an honour.

“Last year I didn't compete because they lost my bike and I was stranded at the airport in New York.

“Caitlin is a strong competitor and of course it’s disappointing that she wasn't able to compete, but sadly it was out of her control.”

Jackson Langley followed up his junior male time-trial victory with a resounding triumph. Langley, 15, finished four minutes clear of Dylan Eiselt, with Jens Drea claiming third position when beating Sanchez Smith by just a second.

Charlotte Millington also repeated her Thursday success by securing the junior female title ahead of Carina Bortoli and Skye Ferguson.

VT Construction took all the podium spots in the masters male. Philip Mace was the winner, followed by Steven Smith and Will Drea.

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Published June 23, 2024 at 3:16 pm (Updated June 24, 2024 at 1:07 pm)

Kaden Hopkins continues national dominance with breakaway win in road race

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