Junior Road Nationals

Posted: September 9, 2013 in Tips & Hints

I had the privilege of travelling to Wagga Wagga for the junior road nationals last weekend.  It is the culmination of the junior road season for under-15 and under-17 riders (thank goodness I hear most parents say!).  Unlike the junior track nationals it is open to individuals as well as state team selected riders.  I think this is a great outcome as it allows more kids to participate and prove themselves if injury, sickness or lack of form hurt their chances of selection for their state team or it just them a chance to mix it with the top and see where they’re at.  I actually think they should open up the track nationals to individual riders who might qualify via the NJTS or similar (but that’s for another post).

It’s definitely an honour to be selected for your state, no matter how you perform at the titles. The experience of travelling and staying as a team; of eating together; of being coached by someone different and of riding as a team is a special experience.  Sure, it takes the riders out of their comfort zone and away from their usual routine of travelling with their parents who often ensure they’re well fed and get enough sleep, but those parents won’t be there if they make a national team or travel to Europe to race in the future, so its great practise for what might lay ahead.  Some riders thrive in this setting, others find it more of a struggle but I’m certain they’re better off for the experience.

There was a lot of discussion around the seedings for the Time Trial from some parents and from some riders on social media.  Not sure who at CA seeds them or how they’re seeded – seems to be the top 10, then alphabetically – but most commentary suggested a more accurate job could be done with very little research (from junior tour results and the like).  Any way, seeding shouldn’t have a huge baring in the results of the ITT (unless you should have been seeded No.1 and you end up 2 with your biggest rival having the benefit of chasing you, instead of the other way around).

The event seemed to run smoothly: certainly the amazing weather helped there!  The TT course was pretty much flat and on slowish country roads – it was a real ‘strong mans’ course.  No real upsets but the juniors from WA dominated winning three of the four races!  Not sure what they put in the water over there, but whatever it is, those in the eastern states would like some!

While there were some bumps on the road race courses the general consensus was that most them would stay, or comeback, together.  The general was right in some instances and completely wrong in others.  Again the West Aussies won two out or four with the most impressive performance that of JM15 ITT winner Craig Wiggins (not sure if he’s a relative?) and the runner-up Sebastian Berwick who was the rider who realised the danger and bridged across.  Wiggins and Berwick powered to the line winning by some 16-seconds from a still startled bunch.

The crits proved super-fast and full of action with plenty of crashes doing damage and proving again you needed to be in the front few to avoid the possibility of being held up.  Some great winners including more first-years in Alana Field in the JW15 and wunderkind, Cameron Scott, in the JM17s with a blistering finish from the bunch as it swept up a well-timed attack by Darcy Pirotta just 30m before the line.

All in all a terrific event.  CA should be praised for the way it was run.  That said, a rolling road closure would be better for the road races, especially on roads that narrow.  From where I caught the races, the peloton was pretty much using all the road all the time – even though it wasn’t a closed road!

Good-bye road… bring on a short break and then track.

Some great photos and videos of the racing can be found on the following links:

The Small Chainring – Facebook Page (SA focus)

SA Junior Cycling Pics – Facebook Page (mainly SA)

Pierre Pino – Flickr feed (mainly Vics)

Results can be found here.

Feel free to add other links in the comments.

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