A PAIR of young Bendigo cyclists are getting ready to pull on the Victorian blue and white at the 2017 Australian Junior Road National Championships in Tasmania.
Sam Buckell and Jackson Hadden have won selection in the state team for the September 1-3 event in Devonport.
For 16-year-old Buckell, this is his third national championships, while 13-year-old Hadden is making his debut.
Buckell qualified for the team by finishing third in the state under-17 road championship in Wangaratta earlier this month.
His race was won by Echuca-Moama Cycling Club young gun Samual Eddy, who also won the 14km individual time trial, ahead of his younger brother Patrick.
Buckell has his sights set firmly on a medal, after a pair of fifth placings at last year’s championships and a fifth and a sixth in 2015.
He expects the fiercest competition to come from the strong New South Wales and South Australia teams.
“Fifth is my favourite number apparently, but hopefully I can do better this time,” he said.
“You have to be confident, (but) there’s a lot of good riders in my age group.
“It will be a good challenge.”
Buckell does not need to look far for inspiration, with his brother Isaac currently in Italy, preparing to represent Australia at the Junior World Track Championships.
Hadden earned his spot in the team with an eighth placing in Wangaratta in the 35-kilometre under-15 road race and a third in the time trial.
The youngster, who will turn 14 later this month, also finished fourth in the state road series and has strung together a list of impressive performances this year both on the road and track.
“I’d like to get a place (in Tasmania) – I’d be happy with that,” Hadden said.
“This is my first serious road season – it’s tough. I prefer track.”
Hadden’s selection is his second in a Victorian team in 2017.
He was chosen in the state team for the junior track national championships, but did not compete in Sydney after suffering a collarbone injury back home in Bendigo.
The Eddy brothers will be joined in Tasmania by their sister Jasmine, who qualified with a third in the under-15 girl’s 35-kilometre road race in Wangaratta.