AusCycling has selected seven riders to represent Australia in the junior road events at the UCI Cycling World Championships in August.
Talia Appleton will head to Glasgow after a strong performance in the road race in Wollongong last year. The Victorian brings another year of experience, having won the Oceania road title and Santini Junior 19 National Road Series since.
Appleton will be joined by Mackenzie Coupland, one of the standout climbers of the Spirit of Tasmania Cycling Tour; and Felicity Wilson-Haffenden, who enjoyed a breakthrough summer by becoming a double junior national champion on the road.
This trio were the strongest in the junior women’s road race national championship when they shared the podium after a three-up breakaway in Buninyong.
Similarly, the junior men’s squad is comprised of the top four place-getters in the national road race.
Oscar Chamberlain has been selected after making his world championship debut in Wollongong last year. The Canberran’s development has continued apace; Chamberlain won the time trial national title in January and made the podium in the junior Paris-Roubaix.
Josh Cranage, the Australian road race champion, will wear the national colours alongside Cohen Jessen, who has been equally impressive in cross-country mountain bike as he has been on the road.
The squad is rounded out by Wil Holmes, the Oceania time trial champion.
As part of AusCycling’s pathways initiatives, the team will complete a month-long camp in Belgium before heading to Glasgow.
Donna Rae-Szalinski, AusCycling’s Director of Pathways and convenor of the selection panel, said she was looking forward to bringing the riders together into the national squad.
“In the under-19 road program, these athletes have been racing against each other since they were young,” Rae-Szalinski said.
“Every year at Junior Worlds, it’s a really good experience to turn those competitors into a team, and have them race as a team for the first time.
“We certainly recognise we have athletes in the team who are medal prospects. But the focus is on helping them be the best they can be on the day. It’s a process-driven, not a results-driven approach.
“If we do the right things, if we prepare in the right manner, if we bring all the parts of the team together, then the result will come.”
Rae-Szalinski noted that after a change to AusCycling’s selection policies, two cross-discipline athletes have been selected for both the road and track world championships.
After Glasgow, Holmes and Wilson-Haffenden will head to Colombia for the UCI Junior Track World Championships. In addition, Jessen competed at last year’s mountain bike world championships.
“One of the themes of AusCycling and the Australian Cycling Team is to promote and facilitate cross-discipline participation,” Rae-Szalinski said.
“The winning part of this story is for us to be able to support athletes across difference disciplines within endurance.”
This year’s road races will take place on an urban circuit in downtown Glasgow, while the time trials will feature an uphill finish at historic Stirling Castle. Both events are part of the first multi-discipline UCI Cycling World Championships.
“I think the road races will be races of attrition,” Rae-Szalinski said. “It’s a highly technical course; there’s so many corners. There’s not a big climb like we had last year in Wollongong, but lots of short, punchy climbs.
“Those who can hold good position will waste the least amount of energy and be able to be competitive.”
The road race and time trial are the premier events for under-19 road cyclists; that is, those born in 2005 and 2006. Last year, Australia won a silver medal with Hamish McKenzie in the junior men’s time trial.
The team was chosen in accordance with AusCycling’s selection policies.
Junior Men – Road
Junior Women – Road
Feature photo: Craig Render/RCPix