AN uphill sprint into a head wind after more than three-and-half hours of racing - that might sound imposing to some cyclists, but not Will Hodges.
The Bathurst Cycling Club talent unleashed a powerful sprint in the final 100 metres of Sunday's under 23s NSW Road Race Championship, his acceleration catching out his rivals and seeing him crowned a state champion.
Hodges nudged out his training partner Thomas Bolton and Myles Stewart to take the spoils in a time of three hours, 41 minutes and 44 seconds.
It added to what has already been an impressive season for the Oliver's Real Food Racing rider, with Hodges also having taken out the gruelling Grafton to Inverell and Gunnedah to Tamworth.
"I'm very happy to come off a bit of a break after the earlier season races, and being sick, and come here and win," Hodges said.
"Have to really thank my two team-mates today. [They] Gave me a free ride all day and the chance to finish the job. Feels really good."
Hodges was one of 19 starters who lined up for Sunday's road race, conducted on what one Cycling NSW official labelled "the notoriously windy Cullerin Road" at Gunning.
The 141 kilometre race was split into three laps of a 47km course and while a westerly buffeted the field, an early breakaway formed.
One of the four riders in that breakaway was Hodges' team-mate Campbell Jones, but with the peloton keeping their advantage at around 90 seconds, he decided to launch a solo attack.
Though going it alone in the wind meant his bid, which came with 100km to go, was never likely to succeed it did take the pressure off Hodges.
It meant others were left to do the chasing while Hodges sat back and in the final 10km when things came back together to set up a bunch sprint, he had fresher legs.
Hodges timed his sprint to perfection on the uphill drag to the finish line, coming off the wheels of Stewart to take the win.
Hodges also contested the 32km under 23 men's individual time trial on Saturday. He covered the distance in 47 minutes, 54.31 seconds to place fifth.