What does the Shepparton Junior Tour tell us about Nationals?

Posted: June 19, 2015 in Nationals, Opinion, Racing, Road
Tags: ,

The Shepparton Junior Tour has been run and won for 2015.  While not without its hiccups, the various issues didn’t seem to interfere with the racing and most people seemed pleased with the tour.  Even the Mt Major Hill Climb went off without too many issues (save for one J11 girl who crashed on the way back down).

But what does the tour tell us in terms of The Junior Nationals due to be held there from 11-13 September 2015?

The Road Race

Hard to be Nostradamus, and especially after my previous post analysing the 2011 finishes, but I think because we’ve arguably got a bigger group of stronger riders, the junior nationals road race will end in a bunch gallop in most age categories.  Just looking at the A-grade groups from the weekend, some 30 (out of 37 starters) JM17A’s contested the finish.  In the JM15A’s 19 of the 21 contested the finish (and it would have been 20/21 with one top rider having a mechanical).  The girls categories probably don’t have quite the evenness or depth at the moment, however in the JW17’s half the field finished within 48-seconds of the winning group of two riders.

Will wind, an extra lap and State ‘team’s racing’ effect the outcome?  Ask locals and its windy in that part of the world 360 out of 365 days a year!  Yes, wind will make it harder and yes an additional lap will shell some additional riders, but again, looking at the boy’s fields, we have incredible depth in these categories at the moment.  And if last year’s nationals was anything to go by, the riders don’t seem to have really grasped the idea of ‘team’s racing’.

I don’t mind the idea of mixing up junior nationals courses; presenting a sprinters course one year and a more selective course the next.  I can tell you that the proposed 2016 Bendigo course doesn’t look super selective (but it is definitely harder than Shepp) while the 2017 course in Tassie will suit the rouleurs.  After all, the climbers have Buffalo don’t they?

The bunch kick in the JM17A road race - some 30 riders contested the finish after some 53kms.  Photo credit: Junior SA Cycling Pics

The bunch kick in the JM17A road race – some 30 riders contested the finish after some 53kms. Photo credit: Junior SA Cycling Pics

A report from some athletes who took part in the 2011 JM17 road race on the same course suggested it wasn’t at all selective (nor was it windy), apparently it was a series of crashes on the last lap that played the biggest part in the spread out finish.  Let’s not hope for a repeat of that.

The Time Trial

While difficult to compare apples with oranges, looking at the results from the 2011 Junior Nats (held on the same course but 2kms longer for all divisions except JW15s), we have a crack year of athletes.  Already in June our JM17 tour winner, SA’s Liam Nolan, had the same average speed as the 2011 National Champion – a slick 42.4kmph!  Allowing for the usual improvement from June to September and the winner better be aiming for a high-43km average speed!

JM17A ITT winner SA's Liam Nolan averaged over 42kmph on the rolling out-and-back course. Photo Credit: Junior SA Cycling Pics

JM17A ITT winner SA’s Liam Nolan averaged over 42kmph on the rolling out-and-back course. Photo Credit: Junior SA Cycling Pics

The JM15A winner, Graeme Frislie, was also close to 2011 champion Cameron’s Scott’s average speed (38.70 vs 39.03) – and he wasn’t even riding his own bike due to a mechanical after the finish of the road stage.  I would say that Cam and Graeme are similar sorts of riders – neither are really TT specialists, they’re just super strong riders… and that’s what this course suits.

The Crit

The locals want the crit held around ‘The Lake Course’.  Long at ~2.2km, but flat and picturesque, the course is well suited to breakaway action, but if kept together sets up well for a sprint finish.  Not super technical – there is one ‘S-bend’ entering the actual lake road, but other than that, the corners are pretty manageable.  The road, in places, is pretty dead and there is likely to be wind, so it could well be a race of attrition where positioning is very important.

There are some videos of the course on the Shepparton Cycling Club site and hopefully SCC will run a test crit in the lead up to the event.

Keen to hear others thoughts as to what we might expect come September in Shepparton…

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s