Road to cycling glory
YOU CAN sense the excitement in Alex O'Dea's voice.
Yeppoon cyclist O'Dea outsmarted a class field which included national riders Imogen Jelbart and Kirsty Mills to win the Australasian Schools Cycling Cup road race in Dookie, Victoria a fortnight ago.
The win is a huge boost for O'Dea in her pursuit of a place on the Australian junior team for the 2011 UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark in September.
O'Dea now turns her focus towards this weekend's Mersey Valley Tour in Tasmania, the first event on the National Road Series calendar, and the final World championships qualifier before the Australian under-19 Road championships in June.
O'Dea started her week on the track at Dookie, Victoria winning silver in the mini-omnium before hitting the bitumen for the remainder of the week.
The three-stage event includes a 15km time trial, a 58.3km second stage and the final 80km stage on Sunday morning.
She finished with a silver in the hill climb behind Mills and third in the 12km individual time trial behind Jelbart and Mills before saving the best for the road race.
O'Dea and coach Cameron Jennings' game plan worked perfectly with the Yeppoon State High School cyclist's tactics proving the difference in the end.
“I knew that if it was a sprint finish that Imogen would win so I attacked going down one of the hills and then let her catch up,” O'Dea said.
“Once she caught up I went again and that's when I broke her.”
It was then a race of two and O'Dea (1:23.58) outmuscled Mills (1:24.00) to the finish line, winning by the smallest of margins.
Along with O'Dea, Matthew Tennent and Lachlan Ferguson both competed at the high school-aged event.
Conditions were less than ideal for the boys' races, with eight competitors failing to finish, however both Fergus and Tennent performed well.
Ferguson finished 13th in the hill climb, 7th in the individual time trial and 30th in the road race, while Tennent finished close behind Ferguson in 16th place in the hill climb and 37th in the road race.
The ASC Cup is a three-day multi-discipline competitive cycling event which includes BMX, road racing, mountain bike racing, and for the first time in 2011 – track racing.