The Junior Calendar

Posted: January 15, 2013 in Opinion

Each season begins and ends with… the CALENDAR!

It’s is the hardest thing for those that govern our sport, at all levels, to work out, but the most important for so many reasons.  Look at the shambles that surrounded trying to find a date for the Sun Tour (although that’s a whole other story).

Of late, state associations seem to be getting better at ensuring Junior events don’t clash – especially across road season – but, at the end of the day, there are only so many weekes available weekends.

I raise this issue after the junior carnival held at Echuca on the weekend.  It conflicted not just with the SA and NSW Junior State Championships, but also with the National Road Championships just over two-hours down the road in Ballarat.  Traditionally, a contingent of SA and NSW juniors make the pilgrimage to Echuca, but obviously when it conflicts with the State Championships that’s not going to happen.  Why can’t CA set aside a given weekend each year for all States to hold their championships in?  And why would CV schedule an event up against the pinnacle event on the domestic calendar and stop the kids from going to cheer on their heroes in Ballarat?

In some ways, I think State Champs should be later in the season and closer to the Nationals.  Why?  Firstly, its hard for any athlete, let alone a junior, to peak twice; and secondly, once state squads are selected watch the selected riders stop racing for fear of falling!


While there is an argument for having the six-or-so-weeks between the State and National Junior Champs: it gives the team a chance to specifically train, especially for the team events, I think this could easily be countered by each state selecting a bigger squad prior to their States, which not only acts to broaden the recognition of juniors, but allows riders to train specifically for team pursuits and team sprints.

Another downside of having the Nationals so late in the season is that there is only three-weeks between them and the first national road championship – the Alpe D’Buffalo or National Junior Mountain Climbing Championship!  What chance do our best juniors have of having a break or switching between track and climbing in three-weeks?

There are many other conflicts between events: the Christmas Carnivals for one.  Then on the 9th and 10th of February there is the Ararat/Ballarat double, up against the terrific Wagga Wagga Golden Wheel Carnival, which offers a great junior program.

I’m not saying its easy… and I think those in charge are trying to do a good job. But why doesn’t CA take some leadership in this and work with the States to ensure there is the absolute minimum of conflicting dates each season?  I guess CA has bigger things to worry about?!?


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