RISING cycling star Braeden Dean has made a golden start to his campaign at the national track championships, with an impressive victory in the junior men's 1km time trial.
Dean, who turned 18 this month, was the final rider to hit the track in the four-lap event, held on the opening day of the carnival in Adelaide on Wednesday.
Needing to go under 1:05.003 to claim top spot on the podium, the Bendigo young gun clocked a blistering 1:04.17 to eclipse South Australian Alexander Porter by 0.83 seconds.
He was more than half a second faster than the personal best time he recorded in taking out the Victorian title in December.
"He'll be real happy to win it," proud father Cameron Dean told the Bendigo Advertiser immediately after the race.
"He's always got second in this event at nationals right through juniors and never cracked it for gold. He just went all-out and laid it all on the line."
But there was little time to celebrate.
Within minutes of crossing the finish line, Dean had turned his focus to his next event: the sprint qualifying ride due to be held just three hours later.
"Braeden's got to now try to recover for the sprint so he'll be having ice baths and other things like that," his dad said.
Several other junior sprinters opted to rest for that event instead of riding the kilo time trial.
The teenager's win could enhance his chances of earning a berth in Australia's team to compete at the world junior track titles in Korea later this year, even though it was not a selection event.
He is aiming to turn out more top performances in the junior men's sprint, keirin and team sprint this week to keep his name high in selectors' minds.
"The keirin is the one he really wants to win," Mr Dean said.
Several other current and former central Victorian cyclists will be in action at the national track titles, which finish on Saturday.
They include Bendigo's reigning world champion and Olympic silver medallist Glenn O'Shea, who was this week named in the Cycling Australia's senior team for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.
Young up-and-comer George Tansley, who is now based in Adelaide, is part of the South Australian elite men's squad at the carnival.
And the region is also well represented in the women's events, with Bendigo-based physiotherapist Beth Duryea and Kyneton's Lauretta Hanson both riding for the Victorian team.