Oscar Chamberlain has finished 19th in the 2022 UCI Road World Championships Junior Men’s Road Race in Wollongong.
The 17-year-old Canberran was Australia’s top finisher at five minutes and 30 seconds down on German race winner Emil Herzog, in what was an aggressive and damp edition of the junior men’s fight for road race rainbows that covered 135.6km.
Chamberlain dug deep several times to remain in touch with the front of the race but eventually lost contact on the second to last ascent of Ramah Avenue.
“(I) tried to soak up as much of the atmosphere as I could,” Chamberlain said.
“I tried my best and I left it all out there.
“Obviously I would’ve liked to have stayed more to the front, but the racing is just so hard, it’s a mission to do that.
“I tried my best and that hill (Ramah Ave) was just getting harder and harder, and I just couldn’t do any more.”
The wet conditions in Wollongong caused first-lap havoc on the descent of Mount Pleasant, with Tuesday’s individual time trial world champion Josh Tarling and Australia’s silver medallist Hamish McKenzie two of four riders to crash coming into a right-hand corner.
#Wollongong2022 Junior Men | A lot of grit was on display from our Aussies this morning in a brutal edition of the junior men's road race.— AusCyclingTeam (@AusCyclingTeam) September 23, 2022
Outstanding performance from @oscarchambo to finish 19th, 5:30 down on race winner Emil Herzog.
📸 @RyanHMiu#AusCyclingTeam pic.twitter.com/5axg97wvGr
Chamberlain said the erratic stop-start rain was an extra challenge to deal with for the entire peloton.
“It was super slippery; it was on and off slippery, so made it a bit more tough because people got a bit more confident when it was dry then it became wet again and just got slippery,” Chamberlain said.
“So, you had to stay focussed and I just stayed upright, which was good.”
McKenzie, who finished 37th in the same group as Will Eaves in 47th, said he was feeling good before crashing on the descent.
“Off the climb, a rider just slipped out straight in front of me and I had nowhere to go,” McKenzie said.
“I chased back on – it was a pretty hard chase.
“I just tried to do what I could. I tried to get in the break, but I just didn’t have the legs after the crash – my body was a bit banged up.
“Not the best day for me. It was still pretty cool to be riding around the streets of Australia.
“Three or four years ago I set this goal and it’s pretty special to be here.
“Wasn’t the way we wanted to end it, but it was still a special week nonetheless.”
Chamberlain’s fellow Canberra Cycling Club talent Cameron Rogers was Australia’s second-best finisher in 22nd, seven minutes and 16 seconds down on Herzog.
The 2022 junior men’s national champion was active with 65km to go in Wollongong, launching out of the main chasing bunch with four other riders in pursuit of the front of the race.
It was a move that wouldn’t stick for the 17-year-old, who then fell back to the next chasing bunch which contained Chamberlain.
Rogers would eventually fall off the pace of the chase group up Ramah Ave with 43km to go, which happened simultaneously with the chase making the junction to the lead riders.
To learn more about the green-and-gold campaign at Wollongong 2022, read the Australian guide to the 2022 UCI Road World Championships.
Photos: Getty Sport and Ryan Miu/AusCycling