Jesse Featonby’s incredible transition to professional cycling has continued with a podium finish at a leading Australian event.
The Albury product took home the bronze medal at the Oceania Road Championships at Canberra on Sunday.
Sean Lake successfully defended his title to hold off Border rider Neil Van der Ploeg and Featonby during the 154-kilometre course.
After a top 15 finish in his first professional race at the recent Herald Sun Tour, Featonby admitted it was another unexpected result on the weekend.
“It wasn’t something I specifically targeted, I just wanted to start off a big block of racing,” Featonby said.
“I went in not really knowing what to expect, but I’m absolutely stoked to get a medal.
“The course was extremely hard, there was only 25 to 30 guys who finished the race all together from 130 starters.
“It was pretty much up and down the whole way and there wasn’t a single bit of flat road.
“It definitely helped me as I’m a pure climber, so every time it split up in the hills I was always at the front and was able to put the pressure on.
“On the last lap I got away with the eventual winner Sean (Lake) and I was trying to make it as hard as possible for him up the climb.
“We got to the top with less than 10 kilometres to go and he attacked and I wasn’t able to stay with him.
“The group behind that had Neil (Van de Ploeg) in it caught up to me and we had a sprint to the finish line, so I just stuck behind Neil’s wheel and finished third.”
Featonby said it was great to be able to match it with Van der Ploeg.
“He’s in incredible form at the minute, so it was good for me to know I could be up there with him,” he said.
“He got dropped on every climb in the last two laps of the course and managed to get himself back up to the leaders.
“It was an incredible effort by Neil.”
Featonby’s attention now shifts to the two-day Tour of Mansfield this weekend, before flying out for the week-long Tour of Thailand.
“I’ve done plenty of triathlons in Asia before and had success, so I just have to apply the same tactics,” he said.