Young road rider on track
WINNING the individual time trial at the Under-19 national road championships has given youngcyclist Anna-Leeza Hulla great chance of selection in the Australian junior team to travel to Europe.
Anna-Leeza, 17, of Modanville, near Lismore, has just returned from the three-day championships in Canberra.
Riders in the women's event battled heavy fog as they completed a 15km out-and-back course at Stromlo.
In her first year in the Under-19 division, Anna-Leeza blitzed the field on her way to claiming the national title.
She passed several riders to clock 23 minutes 56 sec-onds, which was 44s better than second-placed Macey Stewart (Tasmania), who will represent Australia at the junior track world championships in Korea.
Defending champion and world time trial bronze medallist Alexandra Manly (SA) finished third, 49s behind.
"For the time trial I wasn't expecting all that much - maybe a podium if I was lucky - but I was more focused on the road race so I am absolutely thrilled with my result," Anna-Leeza said.
"I felt really strong, I gota time trial bike and some dish wheels and had a professional fit and it's madeall the difference."
Anna-Leeza showed good form in the elite women's national road series recently, finishing third overall at the Battle on the Border.
"Racing with the elite women has really helped my skills and tactics, it's been really great," she said.
"I've been pushed much harder in the elite women's races and it's paid off coming down to the Under-19s."
The Australian team for the junior road world championships will be named later this month.
The team will travel to Europe for four weeks leading up to the world titles in Spain in late September.
FORM OF HER LIFE
THE national championships in Canberra was the final of four selection races for the junior world championships.
Here's how Anna-Leeza Hull fared:
Round 1, Oceania championships in Toowoomba: Second Australian in the individual time trial (ITT) and second Australian in the road race.
Round 2, national mountain climb championships at Mt Buffalo Victoria: Won the ITT and road race.
Round 3, Mersey Valley tour in Tasmania (also the second round of the women's national road series, the highest level of women's competition in Australia): Seventh overall in the ITT, second among Under-19s, third overall in the second stage of the road race and first in the Under-19s. She led the third stage before a fall 5km from the finish.
(Anna-Leeza was the youngest rider to make the podium in the national road series and two weeks later she competed in her second national road series event in the Battle on the Border on the Tweed. She came second in the first stage of the road race and third overall.)
Round 4, national championships in Canberra: Won the ITT and came third in the 80km road race.