CYCLIST Braeden Dean is back in Bendigo after his bronze-medal ride at the world junior track titles and back in training for his next big event.
Still sporting a shock of dyed blond hair - a tradition among Australia’s junior men for world championships - the 18-year-old is preparing for the Oceania carnival from October 8-11.
Riding for the Victorian Institute of Sport, Dean will step up into the elite men’s category for the first time.
His sprint bronze at the world juniors was his final major ride as an under-19 athlete.
“I’m looking forward to seniors, as there will be no pressure,” he said.
Dean rated his third placing in Korea on August 12 as the highlight of his cycling career, coming after he was disappointed with earlier results in the 1km time trial and keirin.
He barely slept after finishing fifth in the time trial, but came out with nothing to lose in his last event.
On his way to the medal rounds, he knocked out the top-seeded rider in a result that boosted his confidence.
“I didn’t think I would make it through the first round of the sprint after qualifying 12th,” he said.
“But I had a bit of luck and I knew how to race, and when I made it to the bronze medal ride, I thought no, I am not going to get fourth.”
Proud parents Cameron and Belinda, grandmother Ruth and high-performance coach Jarrod Butler watched on from the stands as he won the ride-off in straight heats.
“It was so exciting but my heart was hardly beating at all,” his mum said.
“I get more nervous than he does and I didn’t watch most of it - I just closed my eyes.”
Dean thanked coach Hilton Clarke, the VIS, local trainer Butler and Feelgood Fitness for their support.