Update from Sports Director Brad Hall
National Road Series Racing
2021 has started well for our Veris Racing athletes with riders attending the Melbourne to Warrnambool (VIC) and Grafton (NSW) events already this year. The Melbourne-Warrnambool event was a good eye opener for both our male and female athletes with some tactical and technical racing across the 270kms showing up a lack of racing fitness going into the event. A highlight for the race was Brady making the front group and showcasing his incredible talent as an up and coming athlete. Connor was our best placed athlete coming in around 30th in the bunch sprint. One week later, however, both male and female athletes bounced back and showed excellent performances at the Grafton to Inverell event in Northern NSW.
Veris Racing Women
Our female athletes rode well across undulating terrain to have Grace finish 9th and Nicole 17th in the front peloton. This was promising as it shows Grace’s continued sprinting improvement in training evidencing better performances in racing. Additionally Nicole has been able to showcase excellent sustained power outputs in training meaning she is now capable of riding the front group over these undulating sections in racing. This is no mean feat, with both athlete’s evidencing a product of 1.5yrs hard work in training through the covid period last year into this year. Their process here starting to yield real growth and change for racing performance.
The team was well supported by Chloe during the race, with Lucie suffering a mechanical in the final 5kms leaving her out of the finale. Lucie has a proven finish so her finishing uninterrupted would have added to the teams capability to contest the sprint finish in Grafton.
For future events, the teams ranks will be bolstered in the upcoming Brisbane event, which features several 10min climbs and a technical finish. For this event we will field 4 climbers only, with one sprinter, in Grace, our finishing option. We welcome the return of young Tahlia (NSW) to this event, a fantastic climber; young Stephanie Corset from QLD, a well rounded athlete who embraces hard training often, and up and coming athlete Georgia Wiltshire (NSW) who has improved in training outputs more then almost any elite athlete we have worked with: all a real pleasure to work alongside.
Veris Racing Men
For our male athletes, the Grafton saw all riders contend with a 45min climb averaging around 4.8watts per kilogram after 2.5hours of racing. This profile decides who is to contest the race for the remaining 135kms (230kms in total). Both Brady and Brendon made the front group over this climb, with Connor and Jordan some 50secs off this front group in the peloton behind. Chase eventually made it back to this rear group and worked to bring Connor back to the front group after around 30kms of chasing, no mean feat from this youngster. Toward the finish our boys chased moves and attempted to deliver Brendon to the sprint finish, we had several riders in the top 40 placings here. Whilst the results did not really showcase the strength of the team, I am pleased to say we do have the makings of a very strong group of riders within our male team. Shortly young Matt Connan will join the team’s ranks alongside Boris Clark from New Zealand at the upcoming QLD and Northern NSW events from July onwards. These two athletes have exceptional longer term power and will suit more climbing type circuits. Coupled with many of our riders desire to put in longer training hours, we are looking strong for these next events over the coming months.
BOND Junior Cycling Academy
Turning to our BOND Junior Cycling Academy athletes, we recently had our first collective outcome at the Peel District Junior Tour, a TT, criterium and Road Race held on a single day. Strong performances, particularly in the time trial were reflective of the work so many of these athletes put into training. The time trial is a race of truth in that you are completely dependent on the work you put into training in order to perform well here, it is a solo event where your work is the sole reason for winning or performing well.
In training our junior athletes complete an indoor ‘ergo’ session and two power specific strength GYM sessions each week in order to best prepare for the demands of higher performance settings. To this end, the JCA athletes replicate proven systems delivered at Institute of Sport settings nationally, involving both testing and training, to ensure their best development in the sport.
It was very pleasing to see these training processes reflected in our athletes occupying close to half the podium places through the event. A large credit must be given to the athletes, the parents that support them, and of course the clubs through which they are introduced and groomed to the sport in a wholistic sense of the term. Junior cycling, especially in WA, will only thrive via collaboration and continued efforts to provide exceptional training services to aspiring athletes as we forge a pathway for junior development that is road and track agnostic.