Peta Mullens finishes 15th in national road titles duel

BENDIGO'S Peta Mullens fought on to be 15th in Saturday afternoon's women's road race at the national cycling championships near Ballarat.

Racing for Wiggle Honda, Mullens powered up the taxing climb at Buninyong on 10 occasions in the 102km contest.

The Bendigo ace finished 50 seconds behind gold medallist Gracie Elvin from the Australian Capital Territory.

Elvin won in 3hours 2.42minutes ahead of Lauren Kitchen from New South Wales and Queensland's Katrin Garfoot.

Bendigo's Beth Duryea was 27th overall, while Kate Finegan did not finish.

The women's under-23 title was won by Queensland's Emily Roper, who was sixth overall.

Next best in the race for the under-23 crown were Queensland's Jennelle Crooks, eighth overall, and South Australia's Jessica Mundy in 21st place.

The day's racing at Buninyong began with the under-23 men's road race.

New South Wales young gun Caleb Ewan achieved a gold medal-winning double.

Ewan won Thursday night's criterium and powered along the road at Buninyong to beat Western Australia's Robert Power and Bradley Linfield.

Best of the Bendigo young guns was Jack Haig in 10th place.

The finale to the Mars-backed national road titles will be Sunday's elite men's road race.

The 183.6km contest begins at 11.30am and includes 18 laps of the Buninyong circuit.

A superb field includes 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans against the likes of Simon Gerrans, Richie Porte, Cameron and Travis Meyer, Luke Durbridge and many more.

Leading hopes from central Victoria include Bendigo's Darren Lapthorne and Robbie Hucker and Barkers Creek's Lachlan Norris, all racing for Drapac.

Bendigo's Zak Dempster was runner-up in last week's Mitchelton Wines-backed Bay criterium series and will now race for gold on the road at Buninyong.

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