Mick Cupitt will contest the national road championship time trial today at Ballarat.
Mick Cupitt will contest the national road championship time trial today at Ballarat. Darryn Smith

Cupitt all heart after hard crash

GUTSY Maroochydore rider Mick Cupitt has dusted himself off after a high-speed crash in the elite road race at the Australian road championships and will contest the event's time trial today at Ballarat.

The Team Budget Forklifts veteran was negotiating a corner at about 50kmh while in pursuit of the lead group when he hit the ground hard in Sunday's 163.2km road race.

Cupitt landed on his left hip, which he previously broke in a race fall in the US several years ago, but thankfully was not hurt too bad and will line up in the 39km time trial.

The 29-year-old, who is competing in his fourth national road championships, yesterday said his hip was "pretty sore" but he was still aiming for a top-10 TT finish.

"The body's not 100%, so we'll see how we go. But I'll still give it a good nudge," he said.

Cupitt, a top-30 placegetter in last year's road race, said he was in a good position when he fell on Sunday.

"I was in a lead group of 12 (riders), just a minute behind the early break (group) and was going around one of the corners after the descent and the front wheel just slid out and I hit the deck," he said.

The semi-professional also competed in the criterium at the nationals.

He said he was part of a "pretty dangerous" break that was caught with a couple of laps to go.

After the nationals, Cupitt will contest the Oceania Road Championships in Queenstown, New Zealand, in March.

The Oceania titles will be followed by the Mersey Valley Tour in Tasmania in April, the first event of the National Road Series.

In his first season with TBF, Cupitt finished third in last year's Tour of Gippsland.

TBF director Jeremy Betts said Cupitt was using the time trial at the nationals as a warm-up for the Mersey Valley Tour.

"He's in good form, but we're also trying to do more time trials so he can prepare for that first event in the National Road Series," Betts said.

The team boss described Cupitt as "really strong, really experienced".

"He's one of our really strong climbers and general classification riders," he said.

Competing in the women's time trial today will be the Sunshine Coast's reigning TT national champion Shara Gillow.

After finishing seventh in the elite women's road race on Saturday, Gillow said she was "raring to go" in anticipation of the TT.

Gillow's GreenEDGE-AIS teammate Amanda Spratt won the road race.



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