Winter’s almost here… That’s means its Junior Tour time!
And what better place to kick off proceedings than Ararat; or more correctly, Moyston, the birthplace of Aussie Rules Football – about halfway between Ararat and beautiful Halls Gap. Brunswick had six riders in the field of some 150 juniors who came from as far as Tassie, NSW and SA. This three stage/two-day tour is now in its 14th year and is well run and supported by the Ararat Cycling Club and the broader Ararat Community. While we had the usual delays with the TT results from Tours that don’t opt to use the available electronic timing, the tour was run pretty smoothly and I think widely enjoyed by all. I’d like to see a fourth stage to make all the travel worth while – especially by the interstaters. It seems most of the interstate junior tours are four stages, but in Victoria, we tend to limit it to three – not sure why?
Sarah Gigante kicked things off with a fine ride in the 4km ITT. Her time of 8.11 saw her average just a smidge below 30km/h on an out-and-back windswept course. Pretty good going. Sarah backed up her ITT result with another third in the first road race and by going one better in the second road race stage. She finished 3rd overall scoring some good points towards the Junior Aggregate Championships.
In the under-15 boys Ryan Schilt, fresh from his successful track season, and Riley Hart flew the Brunswick flag. Both boys featured in the A-grade field and while they didn’t feature on the podium in any races, given Ryan had come off a break (and was just back from a school camp) and Riley’s been off school for the two days since the tour with the return of the blasted Blasto (and a nasty head cold to boot) the boys held their own in what was a crack field. Overall Ryan finished sixth and Riley 10th with both boys being in the mix for much of the weekend.
In the under-15 girls, with Ruby sick, Emily Dunk was the lone Brunswick representative. Having been training hard for cross country and triathlon, she was unsure what sort of form she might possess: she needn’t have worried though with strong performances in both he ITT and the two road races, she locked up second place on GC no problems at all behind the on form Ashleigh Hocking, who was fresh back from her Wagga Junior Tour victory.
The under-17s saw Brunswick juniors feature in both A and B grades. In B grade, Nick Abels and Liam Hood suited up and put together some more than respectable performances given their lead ins to the event. Nick’s best result was in the TT which saw him earn points for 10th place, while Liam got stronger as the event unfolded with a terrific 4th in the final stage road race.
The on form James Pane raced A grade up against a number of the best under-17 boys in the country. James’ 7th and 8th in the two road races saw him finish in the top five Victorians and take out a top-10 GC place overall. James is one of the most improved riders going around this year and I can only bet he’s looking forward to the Eildon Junior Tour with the climb up and over Skyline.
Sorry, no photos or other anecdotes of stories, but it was a good tour with some good Brunswick performances.