LESS than a week after winning Bendigo and District Cycling Club's elite men's track championship, Nate Hadden's great run kept rolling in the Mitchelton Tour of Gippsland.
Hadden, 16, was Victoria's highest-placed rider in the first under-19s race held as part of the National Road Series.
After ninth placings in the 83.1km stage at Woolamai and 88.4km contest to Inverloch, Hadden went into Tuesday's final stage, a 22.4km criterium at Rhyll on Phillip Island in eighth place overall and 49 seconds behind Tour leader, William Eaves of Tasmania.
Hadden put in a superb ride to be fourth in the criterium and seventh overall at +49 to Eaves in a field of 28.
The build-up to the Gippsland classic included a dominant run in Bendigo's track championships.
Hadden clocked fastest time of 68 seconds in the 1000m time trial at the Tom Flood Sports Centre.
Two nights later he lapped all rivals in the scratch race, and winning all four sprints in the 20-lap points score.
Hadden rated the time trial as one of his best rides.
"It was the first time I had done a 1000m time trial in competition," he said.
"To get a time of 68 was something I was rapt with."
In less than two weeks, Hadden will be on the Darebin track to contest the Victorian championships.
He aims to race in the under-19s individual pursuit, sprint, 1000m time trial, and point score.
A goal is to qualify for the national championships in March.
A lot of Hadden's focus leading into a new year was on the road nationals held at Buninyong, near Ballarat.
He was 10 th in the under-19s time trial and 26 th in the road race.
"It's not easy mixing the two, road and track, but my racing in both has improved a lot.
"Road racing has helped build endurance for the track, and the track helps a lot with bike handling and also for sprints," said the talented teen who is coached by Robbie Hucker.
A highlight of this summer was runner-up to Bendigo clubmate Blake Agnoletto in the Lindsay Harrington Memorial Wheelrace (2000m).
Hadden's first taste of bike racing was in BMX as a seven-year-old.
"Jackson (older brother) was racing road and track, but I was too young," he said.
"Once I was old enough then I was really keen to have a go," Nate said of taking up a sport his dad, Paul competed in for many years.
The Hadden brothers - Jackson, Nate and Chase have great support from parents Paul and Andrea.
Nate Hadden added his name to a honour roll that includes Tony Hughes, Rik and Brent McCaig, Ray Turner, Terry Schintler, Andy Stirling, Bernie O'Dea, Tim Decker, Brendan Schultz, David Pell, Ash Harding, Connor McCaig, and Sam Crome.
It's not easy mixing the two, road and track, but my racing in both has improved a lot.- Nate Hadden
As the years roll on, Hadden may feature more times.
Nate won under-17 club track titles in consecutive years, and Chase is this season's under-15s champion after back-to-back under-13s wins.
Away from cycling, Nate has just started studying building and construction at Bendigo TAFE.
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