LAUNCESTON mountainbiker Ben Mather has again demonstrated his versatility on the road by winning the Mount Wellington Challenge, billed as Australia's toughest time trial.
The 17.83-kilometre event boasts an ascent of 933 metres and an honour role that reads like a who's who of Tasmanian cycling.
Elite riders Richie Porte, Nathan Earle, Campbell Flakemore, Ben Grenda, Jai Crawford and another cross-training mountain biker Sid Taberlay are all previous winners with Porte setting the race record average speed of 25.43km/h in 2008.
WorldTour veterans Wil Clarke and Cameron Wurf add to the calibre of competitors with Grace Sulzberger and Emma Lawson among the women's winners.
Mather, who has previously ridden the Cascade Brewery to summit course in a Tour of Tasmania team time trial, led home a trio of mountain bike specialists in 49:06 at an average speed of 21.79km/h.
Two minutes behind was under-19 winner Scott Bowden, of Hobart, with Launceston's Sam Calow third, fresh from his victory in the latest round of the two-hour mountain bike series in Penguin.
Tamar's lightweight rowing world champion Ali Foot was fourth of the 132 competitors but dismissed the idea of following Wurf's example and jumping sports.
In addition to its unrelenting gradient, the 11-year-old race is also prone to unpredictable weather with the 2006 race having to finish at the Springs due to snow and wind at the pinnacle.