BENDIGO'S Darren Lapthorne was sixth in Sunday's battle for the national road cycling championship crown at Buninyong.
The national road champion in 2007, Lapthorne rode superbly in 18 laps of the 10.2 circuit near Ballarat.
Race winner was Orica GreenEdge star Simon Gerrans in 4 hours 43.43 minutes from Cadel Evans and Richie Porte.
Racing for Drapac, Lapthorne was 23 seconds behind the gold medallist.
Horsham's Mark O'Brien, seventh at +29, Bendigo's Zak Dempster, 9th at +48, Barkers Creek's Lachlan Norris, 18th at +2.29, and Bendigo's Robbie Hucker, 30th at +3.14, all capped great races on the taxing course.