By Paul Verkuylen in Latrobe
While some of the Australians and Japanese riders were busy battling it out for the first-ever UCI points offered in conjunction with the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals, some young riders were taking advantage of the chance to make their names known.
Relative unknown Steven Hall of Western Australia took the 2,000m wheelrace first final after riding from the 130m mark. The youngster, who is just starting his second year in the under 19s, displayed the tactical skills of a much older rider as he waited until the last possible moment to come around Eddy Wilson to win the event by no more than a tyre width.
Hall, who has only been riding for three years, explained later that he "had no plan for the race, just see what I can do and stay with the big boys," referring to his more experienced and possible idols who started behind him. "I am only going into my second year as a junior next year. I am hoping that I can do enough to get to the worlds." Peter Loft came across the line to take third ahead of James Schneider, another name to watch in the future.
In the women's 2,000m wheelrace, Australia's newest women's cycling sensation, Kirsty Broun, took out the prized wheelrace in thrilling style. Broun had her work cut out for her: starting off a mark of just 40 metres, she had to catch the entire field. Showing her class right from the gun, she quickly made up the ground needed to put her in contention for the win, and brought the entire field together, too. She then successfully responded to an attack by Julia Bradley of Canada on the Australian's way to victory. Broun won her national criterium championship just one month ago.
"I am proud to have won here at home in Tasmania," the Tasmanian born Broun said after the event. "I stopped riding for eight years while I was at uni, I only just got back into it, but I honestly thought that I would only ever do it socially."
Her results the past few months have told a different story however, and it seems that there is still much more to come from this talented lawyer. "I will do the Bay Series crits and then the nationals, so we will see," she said.
The 3,000m men's wheelrace race saw yet another future talent take the top step on the podium as 16 year-old Scott Law took home the AUS$7,500 first prize cheque ahead of Leigh Howard and Edward Wilson. With half a lap to go, the sprint was opened, Law made his move around the outside, and with an amazing turn of speed beat the rest of the field to the line to take what is undoubtedly the biggest win of his career.
"I wasn't actually expecting to win. I was told that in the paper I had been earmarked as the winner of the race, so I thought that that may jinx me," Law said afterwards. "I didn't think I could get around Leigh Howard but eventually I did, so I just kept going and I thought this could be it so I just kept going and hoped for the best.
"I am only a first year under 19, so to win a major wheelrace is really great," said Law.
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