Victorian State Junior Champs… Are you ready?

Posted: July 27, 2015 in News, Opinion, Racing, Road
Tags: , ,

We’re set for a bumper edition of the Victorian State Junior Road Championships this weekend.  We’ve got an amended (and better) course and a not to be missed official dinner on the Saturday night to present ITT Medallists and State Junior Aggregate winners.  If you haven’t booked your tickets – best do so now… follow the links on this page.  You can request to sit with your fellow club mates too!

The profile of the ITT course can be found here while distances can be found on the CV event page.  While it looks harmless enough, speaking to locals suggests it is a challenging out-and-back course.  A good road surface but it is one of those dead country roads that gives you nothing… it’ll feel like riding in sludge coming home that last 1.5kms.

It starts out easy enough with a 1.5km downhill, then pretty flat to the turnaround (there’s another bit of rise for the under-17s and under-19 riders but nothing to write home about).  It’s coming home where the damage is likely to be done and especially the last 1.5km uphill drag.  Saturday morning wind shouldn’t hurt too much.  Forecast for between 10 and 14kmph and coming from the north turning to NW – so a cross wind on your right going out – maybe hurting going out for the later riders (but that means helping coming home!).

It looks like a course for the stronger rider – someone with some bulk and a good aero position.  Pacing will be important.  I think it will provide a list of ‘predictable’ winners with Eildon and Ararat probably a better guide than Shepparton.  But we’ll see – health (not having a cold) and form will play a big part.

One question I’ve been pondering is where do State Champs sit in the whole pecking order of importance?  Especially with Nationals in Victoria this year and the ability for individuals to enter Nationals (unlike Junior Track Nationals where the only way to race is to be selected on your state team).  I think we’re seeing a little of that ‘doesn’t matter too much’ mentality with the lack of support and depth in under-19 entries (just 25 men and six women compared to 44 and ten in the under-17s).

Ask a coach how hard it is to peak for States and then peak for Nationals six-weeks later and the answer is… IMPOSSIBLE!  So who wants to be going well now any way?  It’s a tricky balance…

All that being said, it should still be a great honour to win a state title.  Maybe CV needs to up the ante a little.  Offer the winners the chance to wear the #1 dossard in their age-category for next season or the ‘Big V’ jersey as State Champion.  The problem here is that winners are usually top-age and effectively move up to the next age-category three-weeks after Nationals.  The awarding of ‘Big V’ jersey might be a nice touch though – for posterities sake – or do what Belgium does and give the first bottom-age rider the jersey to wear for next year?

I digress some: back to the Victorian Junior Championships…

The road race is an amended loop to previous years.  Still one loop for the under-15s, but now two full loops for the under-17 women and three full loops for the under-17 men and under-19 women and five for the under-19 males… but get this… the course is run in the opposite direction to previous years!  Which makes sense from a traffic management point-of-view – to keep turning left – but no one has ever raced it that way!  Interestingly, CV hasn’t opted to enforce the new CA Junior Policy of equal distance for male and female riders of the same age category.

On the profile, Taminick Gap looks slightly longer with slightly steeper sections going this new way around… making it slightly harder!  Especially for the older age categories doing multiple loops.  The finish is about 7km from the bottom of the Taminick Gap descent and will likely be fast and mostly with the wind… so it will be difficult to get back on if you’re off the back on the last climb before the finish.

Taminick Gap is a serious climb and we're sure to see the peloton splinter, particularly on the ramps at the top.

Taminick Gap is a serious climb and we’re sure to see the peloton splinter, particularly on the steep ramps at the top.

The descent going this way is also a lot more of a technical descent so it will advantage good descenders, who could potentially put more time into/make time up on those less skilled at going down hill.

The finish looks like it’s an up hill drag of a sprint – the great thing is, it’s a much fairer finish than previous years where first or second into that dodgy saleyards corner was the winner… so a good outcome there.

Should be a fun weekend although with forecast lows of 1 or 2-degrees in the morning, make sure you bring warm gear with you.

Good luck to all competitors.

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