A last-minute decision to enter the criterium at the national road championships paid off for Luke Deasey with the young Tamworth cyclist pedalling his way to his first national medal in Ballarat on Friday.
Following a 10th-place finish in Wednesday's time trial, Deasey finished third in the junior men's race.
He was narrowly beaten for the gold, crossing the line only a couple of bike lengths behind winner Declan Trezise after a sprint to the finish.
The enormity of his achievement was still sinking in when he spoke with the Leader.
"I'm pretty stoked with it," Deasey said.
"I wasn't really expecting anything. I was just trying to help the boys (his Rauland Development Team) out."
Targetting the time trial, he only decided to enter the criterium about a week ago at the suggestion of coach Sam Spokes.
"I said to him while you're young you've got to try everything," Spokes said.
"You don't know what your strengths are yet."
Even after entering, Deasey wasn't sure if he would race until Friday morning.
"I was thinking a little bit about it last night," he said.
"I decided when I woke up I would do it."
Not his "favourite race", as he put it, he was possibly regretting that decision when the sleety rain that had hung around all morning turned heavier mid-race, making for very slippery conditions.
Taking a lot of confidence out of his performance in the time trial, Deasey was part of what turned out to be a decisive breakaway about three laps into the 20-lap race.
"The guy that got second attacked and I followed him and we ended up having a few riders join us towards the end," he said.
Deasey then made an attack of his own with two laps remaining.
"The opportunity just happened and I just thought I'd give it a go," he said.
By that stage he knew he was a chance of winning a medal. The previous lap the fifth rider in the breakaway had crashed leaving just four in the group with the rest of the field a fair way behind.
He was caught, two-time time trial champion Patrick Eddy chasing him for a lap.
Coming into the straight, Eddy led with Blake Agnoletto on his wheel, Trezise on his wheel and Deasey behind them.
He was able to wheel in Eddy but didn't quite have the legs to go with the other two.
Spokes was delighted for his young charge.
"I think it's an amazing ride to get a bronze medal at the Australian crit titles," he said.
"There's definitely not many riders from Tamworth that can say they've done that."
He was getting reports from his father Alan (Spokes) who is down there and will race in Saturday's Gran Fondo.
"I was on the phone to him every three laps to see how he was going," Spokes said.
"He was getting pretty vocal so I knew he was going pretty well."
He said it is great reward for the hard work Deasey has put in especially over the last couple of months and shows what he is capable of. Not that he doubted he had it in him.
"I'm not surprised he can do it," he said.
"Luke's biggest thing is believing in himself."
Deasey will back up on Saturday in the road race, but isn't expecting too much.
"It's a really hard day for a big guy," he said.
"We're pretty much just racing against the hill because it's such a hard hill."
"(But) I'll try and see what I can do."
Fellow Tamworth cyclist Steven Roberts, racing in the under-23 criterium, wasn't able to finish but Armidale mountain biker-come-cyclist Michael Roberts was 13th, 15 seconds behind winner Kelland O'Brien, in what was a tough race with well over half the field failing to finish.
Armidale's Sam Jenner was meanwhile 29th in the elite men's race.