Scone's Campbell Jones stuns in solo L'Etape Australia win

TWELVE months ago, if you had told 20-year-old Campbell Jones he would be riding solo across the L'Etape Australia finish line in first place, he probably wouldn't have believed you.

The Canberra based cyclist, who grew up in Scone, broke three vertebrae and both collarbones in a crash during a race over the June long weekend last year, and it's been a long journey to recovery since.

Fast forward to two weekends ago, and it was sweet victory for the young rider who conquered the 170km mountainous course through the Snowy Mountains at Jindabyne, New South Wales.

Making victory even sweeter was the fact Jones crossed the finish line to win the race solo in 4:37:20 and managed to still have 1:13 on runner-up Jay Vine and a massive 10 minutes on third-placed Ben Metcalfe.

The race, which is the biggest long distance road cycling ride in Australia, and one of the biggest Gran Fondos outside of Europe, attracted 2000 riders and replicates a mountainous stage of the Tour de France - in fact it's run by the same organisers with the aim of bringing a piece of the big race to Australia.

"It was pretty special because it was my first proper race win," Jones told The Advocate.

"It was pretty cool to be able to throw the hands up over the line for the first time, especially the way that I won it - winning by myself.

"I feel like I've been chipping away at it for a while and I know my team manager has put a lot of time and money into me and it was good to repay him with a race win for the team."

Jones attended Scone High School and has only been cycling for five years with his passion beginning with the local cycling group in Scone.

He then joined Muswellbrook Cycling Club before moving to the Hunter District Cycling Club in Newcastle and joining the Hunter Academy of Sport base there.

"I traveled to Newcastle every Wednesday night for track training on the Newcastle velodrome for Hunter Academy of Sport," Jones explained.

"Mum would pick me up from school and we'd get home about midnight."

Clearly the hours of hard work have paid off, and now Jones' name can be written alongside the many talented cyclists that have come out of Scone including Sam Hill, Ben Hill and Fintan Conway, who races on the same team as Jones, Oliver's Racing.

Jones now turns his attention towards training over the Christmas break for the big one in Australian cycling, nationals on January 11 in Ballarat. However his ultimate goal is to land a spot on a European team.

And his team manager, Sam Layzell of Oliver's Racing, says that's certainly achievable.

"He's very disciplined, especially given his young age, he's very meticulous with his training and attention to detail, all of those qualities that we see from the exceptional athletes coming through he's got them and a very strong work ethic you tend to see from these country guys from around Scone way," Layzell said.

"They know how to work hard, how to train hard. The area has produced a lot of talent over the years, so I don't know what you guys are putting in the water up there."

Oliver's Racing is the top-tier amateur team in Australia, competing regularly in the Australian National Road series but also competing abroad in the UCI Asia tour.

"Campbell will be racing more and more in Asia in 2020 with the hope that he'll be able to attract himself a professional contract from one of those Asian teams which will be a good stepping stone to hopefully one day racing in Europe and racing professionally and maybe racing the Tour de France," Layzell added.