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Junior races kick off Australian nationals

This weekend the 2005 Australian National Road Cycling Championships gets underway on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland and kicking off the week long cycling spectacle Australia's best junior talent will be on display in an attempt to claim a national title.

The junior women and men in the Under 15 and Under 17 categories will contest four disciplines - road race, individual time trial, criterium and pairs time trial.

Organisers are excited about the growth of the pairs time trial event which they say "most fits the National Club Championships ethos" as it tests skills, fitness and teamwork - essential attributes for junior riders to develop.

A wide range of clubs have entered teams in the pairs time trial, with squads as far afield as Darwin and Tasmania - the latter's Mersey Valley Devonport Club has four teams in the under 15 divisions and another in the U17 boys.

Favourites include Brunswick Cycling Club's Warren Moore and Patrick Drapac in the under 15, both current national medalists, and strong local Queensland teams, Gold Coast Goldstars pairing, Grayson Follett and Christopher Murphy. The Broncos team of Tamara Josefski and Courtney Dutton in the girls' division will be hot contenders.

In the U17 boys' division the track team pursuit championship provides an indicator of riders' chances and on that basis favourites include rising superstar Leigh Howard and fellow Australian team pursuit champion James Langedyk in the Geelong CC "Dream Team". Another of the Australian team pursuit champions Glenn O'Shea is riding with the recent runner up in the Victorian State Road Championships Anthony Rix in one of the two Bendigo teams (the second team consisting of Lachlan Ritchie and Joel Fahy).

Norwood CC boasts an excellent team with Christos Winter and Jack Bobridge, who where both members of the silver medal winning SA team at the National Track Championships. Queensland club Kangaroo Point also have two national track medallists in Joel Lewis and Byron Davis. The field also includes current national champions in Ricky Peoples and Trevor Griffiths representing Shepparton Cycling Club.

The National Road Cycling Championships kicks off in Yandina on Saturday September 3 with the National Junior Road Cycling Championships incorporating Under 15 and Under 17 age groups and will run until Sunday 12 September.