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Australian Junior and Teams Road Championships - NE
Sunshine Coast, Australia, September 2-September 10, 2006
Race 3 - September 4: Junior Road Championships Criteriums
Eight-medal haul for New South Wales
By John Michael Flynn on the Sunshine Coast
An eight-medal haul including three gold, a series of spirited individual performances and a one-two-three team result in the final blue riband event, capped off a perfect day for New South Wales at the Australian Junior Track Cycling Championships on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
“The Blues” were simply outstanding across all age groups, but the wins didn’t come any better than in the under 19 men’s criterium, where the under-rated New South Wales riders were up against five rainbow jersey winners, who had recently returned from The world track championships in Belgium.
It was a race which looked for all money like going the way of Western Australia’s triple World Champion Cameron Meyer. And when the world class junior pursuiter put the hammer down early, the result appeared predictable.
But selfless efforts from New South Wales team-men Tim Guy and Blair Windsor, in attacking and counter attacking, helped keep their speed men in contention.
The rather loud celebrations, well deserved, when Matthew Pettit, Dale Scarfe and Richard Lang crossed the finish line in first, second and third. “It was just hell for leather the whole race, a really good day,” an excited Pettit told Cyclingnews. “We were racing triple world champions and Australian record holders, unbelievable, riders from right across Australia, [which] makes the whole race more special.”
Pettit’s sentiments were matched by jubilant New South Wales team coach Graham Sears, who wasn’t totally surprised when his riders scored the upset of the championships against the likes of Cameron and Travis Meyer, Leigh Howard, Hayden Josefski and Jack Bobridge. “We were always confident of being able to give it to them,” Sears said. “The whole time we’ve been coming out, trying to educate our riders to have a go, and by having a go, we’ve come up with some results.”
Under 19 national time trial winner Hayden Josefski, couldn’t repeat his stunning form of yesterday. The work required to keep in touch with Meyer and the counter attacking New South Welshmen too intense. “The pace was on from the start, hard day,” Josefski said. “A lot of breaks were trying to go, I just didn’t have it in the end…. Yesterday was a big day, bit hard to back up from that.”
NSW success begins in under 15s
New South Wales’ dream day started in the under 15 division, when Jack Hickey, produced one of the rides of the championship.
Following team tactics, Hickey set the pace during the first half of the race, trying to wear out the legs of his rivals. “Some of the best sprinters in Australia were here and this course would probably suit them,” Hickey said. “So we had to really dig deep and wear them out before the sprint came.”
It appeared to be an ideal plan, Hickey setting up the race for in-form New South Wales team-mate Lachlan Morton, who made a move with one lap to go. But when Morton was reeled in, Hickey was forced to re-evaluate.
“I couldn’t chase him, he’s my team-mate, so I waited for them to catch him” Hickey recalled of the final frantic seconds. “I had the pace and I just got there in the end.”
As has been the case for many of the riders at these championships, the celebrations were a family affair. Hickey's parents were on hand for a group hug with their talented son, who also has in his keep a national junior triathlon championship.
“He likes to race it tough and he always gives it 110 per cent,” his proud father John said. “He's done it all today and I can’t believe he still had a sprint after all that. Unbelievable he’s just so courageous.”
The New South Wales gold rush continued in the under 17 division, where Sydney’s Scott Law rocketed home in another sprint finish.
Attacks were mounted by several riders including Queensland’s Sean Caskey and the A.C.T.’s Tom Palmer, but as was the case for all of the races today, the breaks simply weren’t sustained. “I was pleased with my result,” Law said. “Last year in the under 15’s I had a fairly bad crash in the heat…. I was pretty pleased with the way I rode today.”
Dual Gold For Western Australia
As has been the case for the entire national junior championships, the Western Australians, led by the incredibly strong Midlands club, couldn’t be denied, once again riding away with a pair of gold medals.
The first came in the under 15 women’s criterium where Michaela Anderson rocketed home in the sprint to claim an unexpected victory.
The silver medal also went to the Midlands club, with Anderson’s team-mate Jessica Allan scoring a well deserved reward for her efforts. “This is my first jersey so I’m really excited,” a beaming Anderson said after being congratulated by team-mates. “It just kind of happened I actually didn’t think that I was going to run for any places after I did my attack.”
Anderson was quick to pay tribute to her team-mate, who helped set up the win, “Jess (Allan) did an absolute heap of work, I’m so glad she’s on my team,” Anderson said.
Midlands’ second gold for the day came in the Under 17 women’s criterium, where Camille Pallett reproduced her form from Saturday’s road race. A talent both on the track and road, the outcome brought praise from team coach Rick Lee, “Pretty classy,” Lee said after reviewing Pallett’s performances at the National Championships. “She’s got a bit of everything in her.”
Twin Gold for Le Lay
Queensland’s Courtney Le Lay ensured the home state didn’t walk away empty handed from day three of the National Junior Road Cycling Championships.
In a predictable result, the winner of Saturday’s Under 19 women’s road race beat home Peta Mullins and Tiffany Cromwell in a sprint finish. Once again, the three marquee riders in the age group were a cut above their opposition.
A spirited breakaway effort from Mullins was kept in check by her rivals with Le Lay setting it up for a sprint finish, “They left it to me on the front, so I just wound it up and went for it,” Le Lay recalled of the final dash.
The first-year under-19 competitor was definitely pleased with her efforts after consistently bringing home medals at state championships in recent years. “This is probably one of my best performances, given I’m a first year under 19,” Le Lay said.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by John Flynn/Cyclingnews.com
Junior Men U15 1 Jack Hickey (Gunnedah CTC, NSW) 2 Samuel Brett (Mersey Valley Devonport CC, TAS) 3 Lachlan Morton (Port Macquarie, NSW) Junior Women U15 1 Michaela Anderson (Midland CC, WA) 2 Jessica Allen (Midland CC, WA) 3 Jessica Griffiths (St George CC, NSW) Junior Men U17 1 Scott Law (Illawarra CC, NSW) 2 Thomas Palmer (Canberra Cycling Club, ACT) 3 Peter Johnstone (Chelsea & Peninsula C C, VIC) Junior Women U17 1 Camille Pallett (Midland CC, WA) 2 Megan Dunn (Dubbo CC, NSW) 3 Jessy Byrnes (Kangaroo Point C C, QLD) Junior Men U19 1 Matthew Pettit (Parramatta CC, NSW) 2 Dale Scarfe (Central Coast CC, NSW) 3 Richard Lang (Lidcombe Auburn CC, NSW) Junior Women U19 1 Courtney Le Lay (Balmoral Cycle Club, QLD) 2 Peta Mullens (Carnegie Caulfield CC, VIC) 3 Tiffany Cromwell (Norwood C.C., SA)