Launceston cyclist Nicole Frain is challenged with converting virtual success into reality after catapulting herself into favouritism for the online National Road Series.
The 27-year-old's first NRS victory was sufficiently emphatic to throw her into the overall series lead in its penultimate event.
Frain won the eight-kilometre individual time trial in Bologna, which was a replica of the 2019 Giro d'Italia prologue.
A huge winning margin of 1:14 was enough to give the Sydney Uni Staminade Women's Cycling Team member the series lead by 13 seconds with one race remaining in a fortnight's time.
"I thought the series was out of my grasp because I was more than a minute down but the time trial really suited me and I put a lot into researching the course," said Frain, a former triathlete and soccer player who was a late arrival to cycling.
A big stage 05 in the NRS on Zwift saw a shake-up up in the GC before we move into the final stage of the tour in two weeks time.— National Road Series #NRS20 (@Nat_Road_Series) June 27, 2020
Congrats to Nicole Frain of Sydney Uni Staminade Women's Cycling Team - winning the stage and moving into the GC lead by 13 seconds. #NRS20#NRSoZpic.twitter.com/dkGPplhYqm
"The series has been really good for me and each week you notice the competition gets harder.
"It's always nice when you come into something new and get success and good to see you don't have to come into the sport in your teens."
Bree Wilson (Roxsalt Attaquer) sits second overall with Courtney Holmes (Subaru Giant) third while Frain's Sydney Uni Staminade is also leading the team classification.
Having broken a collarbone in Belgium last year and again in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in February, Frain is hopeful of maintaining her impressive form when road racing resumes.
"Club racing is supposed to start in the next few weeks which is exciting.
"I hope to get back to Europe and my main goal will be nationals next year."
Frain will be seeking to improve on her eighth and 13th place finishes respectively in the time trial and road race at this year's national championships when she returns to Buninyong in January.
"I'll look at both as I did this year and maybe look to specialise as things go on."
Frain grew up in Launceston and went to St Patrick's College before moving to Hobart for work.
In Evandale in March she claimed a silver medal in the elite women's time trial at the Oceania championships.