Well done to everyone who raced in Dookie on the weekend in the Junior Road National Championships. The weather was fantastic and there were some great achievements during the 3 days of competitions.
The following Kelly Cycle Coaching athletes competed in the championships:
Victoria Snibson – as a member of the State Team
The format for the competition was Friday – Time Trial Championships in Dooke, Saturday was the road race whilst Sunday was the criterium circuit inside the Dookie campus.
U15 girls rider Emily Dunk, having recovered from a major fall earlier in the year, was competing in the Nationals as a first year U15 rider. She completed the time trial in 15mins03sec, averaging 31.88km/hr. The winning time was 13mins02sec, averaging 36.88km/hr. Another year of riding will make a huge difference Emily, so well done on your performance. The road race was a 28km circuit with 3 hills and lots of cross winds. Emily fought well against older girls and finished the race in 24th place. A great result for her first National cycling championships.
U15 boys rider, Ben Andrews completed the road race in 18th position. He also faced strong crosswinds which made it hard for him to hold his position. In the criterium, he was in the front group when he was shoved into the gravel on the back straight. Once he made it back onto the road, he had lost the group. He chased hard for 2 laps but couldn’t get back on. He was asked to withdraw with 4 laps to go as he was no longer in the front group. A great ride Ben in your first National event.
U15 boys rider Nicholas White also raced in the road race and criterium. He finished in 29th position in the road race and 22nd in the criterium. He fought hard in the criterium and was in the front group in the final lap, when he too was pushed off the road. This ruined any chances of a top 10 finish so he was forced to watch his peers fight it out in a mad uphill dash to the line. Victorian riders Kurt Santagada claimed 3rd whilst Thomas Verleys-Donk finished in 10th place.
U17 rider Victoria Snibson was representing Victoria as part of her State team selection. Her selection came about after a win in the time trial at Eildon Junior Tour as well as at the Junior State Championships. Whilst focusing mainly on the time trial, Vic ended up in the front group in all 3 events. In the time trial she completed the 10km course in 17mins54sec, averaging 33.51km/hr. The winning rider sped around the course in 15mins35sec, averaging 38.49km/hr. Fellow team mate of Vic’s, Ruby finished the time trial in 17mins49sec.
In the road race, they completed a 48km circuit which consisted of two laps of the Oceania’s course, used earlier in the year for the elite women. After lap 1, 10 riders had been dropped due to the fierce pace set. During the second lap, the front group dwindled down to 20 riders including Victorian riders, Vic and Ruby. With a tight finishing circuit before the finish, Vic pulled her foot out of her pedal whilst she was sprinting out of the 3rd last corner. This ended her chances of contesting the sprint. Ruby fnished in 10th position, whilst Vic crossed behind her in 18th place.
The criterium was quite a technical circuit with a fast downhill section on the back straight and a 700m uphill on the finishing straight. Corners 2 and 3 were quite tight and required good cornering skills and controlled speed. The pace was on from the gun and before long, there were only 20 girls left. The attacks and counter attacks continued for the duration of the race with NSW and Tasmania trying to break up the field. Three Victorian riders, Ruby, Nina and Vic were all in the front bunch with the objective of protecting their best sprinter, Ruby. The Tassie girls were too strong on the day, sweeping up 1st and 2nd place. Ruby sprinted well to take 5th, whilst Nina was 11th and Vic was 18th. This was a great effort from the Victorian girls.
Kelly Cycle Coaching had 4 boys competing in the U17 division with only Mark Kelly being a 2nd year athlete. This was his last race as a junior as he now steps up into U19 racing. Mark did very well in both the road race (18th place) and the criterium (16th place). His smaller stature compared to the bigger guys made it hard for him in the sprint finishes, with both races coming down to a bunch kick.
First year rider Steven Carol has only been riding for 4 months, having swapped over from triathlons. His goal was to experience National level competition and understand the bike handling skills and training that is required to be competitive in cycling. He finished the time trial in 26mins02sec, averaging 34.57km/hr.
First year U17 rider, Pierce Connor also participated in the Nationals for experience. With a recent two week illness, a compulsory school camp and a ski trip, Pierce was lacking the endurance to stay in contact with the front group. However, he gained a good understanding with respect to what level of fitness and strength is needed to be competitive at a national level. This knowledge will hold him in good stead when he returns next year to compete as a second year U17 rider.
Angus Lyons, also a first year U17 rider competed in all 3 events. Having spent 3 months off the bike earlier this year, hiking around King Island, his goal was to find his riding legs again and to experience Nationals for his second year in a row. He completed the 14km time trial in 23mins48sec, averaging 37.80kh/hr. The winning rider finished the time trial in 22mins13sec, averaging 38.49km/hr.
Angus 'post time trial' fatigue
Angus had some bad luck in the road race, crashing out of the race on lap 2. A rider hit an orange cone just in front of him and Angus went flying through the air. Luckily he only did damage to his elbow and hip. Angus rode well on the final day, despite his bruises and qualified for the final of the criterium. (the first 25 riders of each heat made it through to the final). Angus ended up in the gutter on the final lap and wasn’t able to contest the sprint finish.
In summary, a great 3 days of racing. Cycling is a challenging sport and all athletes came away from the competition understanding their current strengths and weaknesses. Cycling takes time and at junior levels, it is often the athletes who mature relatively early who tend to have an advantage over late developers. The message to you all is to persevere and when you get stronger and bigger, you will be back on a level playing field with the riders who are currently towering over you.