WITH his year 12 studies behind him, Bendigo cyclist Braeden Dean blitzed the field at the Victorian senior track championships last weekend to earn three gold medals from his three events.
The 17-year-old was impressive in the junior men's 1km time trial, recording a personal best time of 1:04.718 for the four laps and finishing almost two and a half seconds clear of his nearest rival.
Dean was again on fire in the under-19 sprint, setting another PB of 10.588 secs in his flying 200m to qualify fastest for the best-of-three, head-to-head races.
He sailed through the round of 16 and quarter and semi-finals to advance to the gold-medal battle, where he defeated Shepparton's Jay Castles to claim the crown.
But it was his last 200m of the keirin final that turned heads, as Dean surprised even himself by clocking a lightning-fast 10.57 secs.
"That was even quicker than my sprint qualifier - at the end of the keirin and after two days of racing," he said.
"I felt really good and confident in the keirin and I thought I'd try something different and come from behind, instead of leading the other kids out from the front."
Dean's results are just reward for what has been a tough year, juggling VCE with twice-weekly trips to Melbourne to train with coach Hilton Clarke.
"It was really hard when I was doing year 12, but now that's finished it's a lot easier and there's less stress."
Dean has a busy schedule in coming weeks, contesting the Melbourne Cup on Wheels carnival next Saturday and the Christmas Carnival in Bendigo.
His next major goal is riding strongly for Victoria as a top-age competitor in the under-19 time trial, sprint, team sprint and keirin at the national track championships from January 29.
The world junior championships loom in Korea next August.
Dean said he was grateful to Jarrod Butler and Matt Waugh from Feelgood Fitness for their ongoing support.