Cycling star prepares for more hard work

BRAEDEN Dean's performance at the national track cycling titles last week caught the eye of many onlookers at the Adelaide velodrome - including British legend Sir Christopher Hoy.

The six-time Olympic champion was there when Dean came from behind in the junior men's team sprint on the final night of the championships to help Victoria claim gold.

Hoy presented a medal to the talented Bendigo rider and congratulated him on his performance.

"He said my last lap in the team sprint was quite impressive," said Dean, who arrived home on Tuesday.

The three gold and one silver medal now hanging around his neck may be cause for celebration, but the 18-year-old is ready for more hard work.

He has his sights set on the world junior championships in Seoul in late July, with the Australian team due to be announced next week.

Dean all but guaranteed his place with blitzing performances against the country's best under-19 riders in the keirin, 1km time trial and team sprint in Adelaide, and was also crowned national sprint champion after finishing just behind a Korean.

He had been hoping to do well, but was still surprised by his success.

"I expected to go fairly good, but I certainly didn't expect to be the top Aussie in every one of my events."

Back in Bendigo, he was straight back into his training program with a two-hour strength session at Feelgood Fitness on Wednesday with high-performance coach Jarrod Butler.

"I'm going to have two weeks off (the bike), but I'll still be doing these gym sessions," Dean said.

"I don't want to lose any of my momentum and strength."

Butler has assembled a team of world-class experts - including renowned sports physiotherapist Victor Popov, neural specialist Ken Ware and conditioning coach Paul Parker - to help Dean prepare physically and mentally for the challenges ahead.        

He believes the Kangaroo Flat young gun has recorded the second fastest kilo time trial and third fastest flying 200m by an under-19 rider anywhere in the world this season based on times from national championships.

"Those two combined makes Braeden the fastest junior in the world right now," Butler said.

"I went across to Adelaide and watched him race and he just destroyed the field in the keirin.

"He has worked so hard... 

"I am very proud and very excited for him and I can't wait to watch him over the next eight or so months."

Dean is coached by Hilton Clarke in Melbourne and makes two to three trips down the highway every week to hone his riding skills, as well as his two gym sessions with Butler.

Selection in the Australian junior squad would be a dream come true and reward for the sacrifices he, his family and support crew have made over the past 18 months.

Dean said he would go all out to try and bring back a gold medal if given the chance.

"If I did get in, my hope would be to get a gold medal - if you win, you also get a world championship jersey and it would be pretty big to have one of them.

"But it's all still a fair way off." 

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