LAUNCESTON'S Peter Loft hopes his courageous ride in the Australian 40-kilometre points championship at the weekend will keep unlocking doors for him as his cycling career continues to develop.
The 21-year-old took the silver medal and only narrowly missed gold when he stole a lap against a field that included world omnium champion Glenn O'Shea.
"It was my first senior national medal and I was really pleased with the result," Loft said.
Loft now appears to have a wealth of options open to him with his sights already set on next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
There is also the national road series, which begins with the Mersey Valley Tour in April, and long term he would like to become a six- day rider on the European circuit.
Loft said he went into the 160-lap points championship with a game plan to take a lap.
"I made a couple of hits early in the race which didn't come off and then I got away on my own," he said.
"I looked across at my coach Gene Bates and I put my head down and went for it."
Loft picked up a bonus 20 points, which immediately put him at the top of the leaderboard, but there was still plenty of work to be done with South Australia's Alex Edmondson picking up a lot of intermediary sprints to close the gap.
Edmondson eventually overhauled Loft to win with 36 points to the Tasmanian's 33 points.
"It was always going to be hard work to hold Alex off as he had the support of Glenn O'Shea," Loft said.
Caleb Ewan, of New South Wales, finished a distant third with 21 points.
Loft was quick to praise the work of his Tasmanian teammate Luke Ockerby, who played the support role perfectly in trying to protect his lead.
The silver medal came at the end of a hectic campaign for Loft as he represented Australia in a world cup round in Mexico late last month riding in the madison and teams' pursuit before returning for the national championships in Sydney.
Before the points race he had an outstanding time of 4:28.23 to finish fifth in the individual pursuit two days earlier.
Loft's big-hearted performance didn't go unnoticed, with Edmondson remarking on his race tactics.
"Loft was very strong, very relentless, so I had to try and keep up the front on him and I managed to do that, just," Edmondson said.
The trackside commentary team of Kate Bates, Dave McKenzie and Mike Tomalaris were also full of praise for the Tasmanian's efforts.