AusCycling | Isabelle Carnes cracks junior women's time trial top-10 at Wollongong 2022

Isabelle Carnes cracks junior women's time trial top-10 at Wollongong 2022


Nothing was left in the tank for Isabelle Carnes on a hot Tuesday morning in Wollongong, but it was more than enough to crack the top-10 in eighth and finish only six seconds adrift of a Road World Championship medal.

The 18-year-old was Australia’s third and last rider to start the 2022 UCI Road World Championships junior women’s individual time trial and stopped the clock at 20:21.33, good enough for provisional fourth at the line.

Only four further riders, including an unworldly winning performance from Great Britain's Zoe Backstedt, would better Carnes’ time.

The young Brisbanite was pleased as punch with her performance.

Isabelle Carnes climbs Dumfries Avenue. Picture: Getty Sport/Con Chronis

“I left it all out there which is all you can do at the end of the day,” Carnes said.

“I couldn’t find six seconds in my legs; I gave everything I had. There wasn’t a moment where my legs weren’t killing me.

“Overall, I was super happy, I started off really strong and held my power.

“I felt I went well up the climb, holding that strong power all the way to the top and coming into the finish it was just about pushing as hard as I could, which I felt I did.”

Isabelle Carnes finished eighth in the junior women's time trial. Picture: Getty Sport/Con Chronis

The 2022 Oceania and national junior women’s time trial champion made special mention of the motivation home support provided her while redlining around the streets of Wollongong.

“The support out there was just incredible from the Aussies,” Carnes said.

“You’d go around a corner and be struggling so much and then some kid would cheer on you on with a big flag and yell ‘go Aussies’ and I feel like that just makes you lift to another level.”

The junior women raced one lap of a 14.1km course slightly different than the elites, which perhaps brings a sigh of relief to many of the elite and under-23 women from Sunday for comparison's sake, such is the speed Backstedt rode to rainbows at.

Australia's Bronte Stewart. Picture: Getty Sport/Con Chronis

Outside of the Briton’s spectacular ride, it was a close contest all the way down the results sheet, with Australians Bronte Stewart and Lucy Stewart finishing 17th and 21st respectively.

For Bronte, it was a UCI Road World Championships debut that personally carried two-pronged significance as a proud Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi woman.

The 17-year-old from Wagga Wagga was both overjoyed and emotional to finally see Australia’s new national team kit last week, a moment she was able to share with her grandmother over the phone.

“I’ve got a jersey put to the side and when I get home I’m going to frame it and put it on the wall,” Stewart said.

Bronte Stewart
Bronte Stewart performed well to finish 17th. Picture: Getty Sport/Con Chronis

“That (today) was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, lining up at the start line was amazing and putting the kit on this morning … it just made me go 'wow, we’re here at a home worlds'.

“I saw Dad on the ramp and it made me a little calmer just seeing him there.”

Fellow 17-year-old Lucy was able to enjoy a brief stint on the hot seat stage as the second junior woman to start the time trial.

The Melburnian two-time national junior criterium champion said she felt privileged to be here in Wollongong in green-and-gold.

Lucy Stewart finished 21st. Picture: Getty Sport/Con Chronis

“I quite liked being first off, it happened with Grace Brown and she managed to hold her position quite well,” Stewart said.

“There was no expectation to perform, and I could just ride my own race.

“I didn’t need to worry about the intermediate splits or how anyone else was doing, which mentally really helped.

“I’m happy with how I went, just focussed on my own race and gave it everything.”

To learn more about the green-and-gold campaign at Wollongong 2022, read the Australian guide to the 2022 UCI Road World Championships.

Photos: Getty Sport

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