Thanks to the generous support of Bond Junior Cycling, the Junior Cycling Academy (JCA) has organized an exciting one-month cycling program in the South of France, followed by two weeks of racing in the Flanders region of Belgium. This unique opportunity allows young athletes aged 13-17 to train and live away from home, immersing themselves in iconic climbs and cycling regions in Europe.
Program manager Brad Hall on the trip:
“ This opportunity to ride across diverse regions of Europe is a challenging one for these young athletes both on and off the bike. Racing against international fields, climbing mountain passes of 1-2hrs ascending, whilst riding across cobbles and narrow streets allows the athletes to experience the diverse and challenging nature of cycling. However, from my experience, the hardest part of the ‘European cycling experience’ is the lived one. Meaning how athletes can live away from home, learn to look after themselves, and coordinate all this in a communal environment is critical, all the while navigating a foreign language and culture can facilitate their acceptance of this when living/racing in Europe across their cycling-careers. Often the greatest hardship for any international athlete is in learning how to manage themselves within this context. It is what happens off the bike that can facilitate performance on the bike, with the BOND family incredible hosts and facilitators toward this end.”
Despite the long journey to reach their destination, the athletes have settled in well at Jim and Lisa Bond’s chateau near Navarrenx in the Pyrenees, which serves as their base. During the two-week stay, they will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in French language and culture while tackling challenging mountain passes. Following this training period, they will embark on a two-week racing campaign in Belgium. Stay tuned for updates on their adventures in the coming weeks.
Prior to the Euro’ camp, we had an incredible two-month period of achievements at the JCA with our talented riders showcasing their skills and determination. Let’s highlight some of their notable accomplishments:
- Alicia Reynolds dominated the U17 women’s category at the Ipswich 2-day Cyclocross National Series, securing a well-deserved 1st place. Despite facing a mechanical issue during the race, Alicia overcame the challenge and achieved personal best times on the second day. Her exceptional performance included beating the junior Australian champion for cyclocross.
- James Gray proved his prowess across different disciplines. He won silver in the National CX series rounds 1 and 2, demonstrating his skill and consistency. James also showcased his versatility with a 3rd place finish in a road race and an impressive performance in a 20km time trial at the SCC Junior Tour.
- Sidney Hills displayed exceptional talent in XCO mountain biking races, finishing 3rd in two rounds of the State XCO series. Sidney’s skillset extended to the Kalamunda XCO 5 race, where he secured a respectable 4th place.
- Lachie Obrien made his mark in the XCO mountain bike series, securing two 4th place finishes. Additionally, Lachie achieved a commendable 12th place in the B-grade men’s category at the Numbat Cup cyclocross series. One of the highlights of Lachie’s cycling journey in the past few months was achieving a podium finish in XCO for the first time in four years!
- Theo Grant showcased his strength and skill in the Zwift monthly race series, securing a commendable 4th place in the Hilly route, Category B grade.
- Samuel Castle dedicated himself to training, accumulating an impressive 42 hours during a two-week camp concocted by himself and Paul Merkes from Exercise Institute. He took on challenging events like the 5 Dams Challenge and a long hills ride, showcasing his commitment to pushing his limits and improving his skills.
- Remy Patterson delivered a strong performance, finishing 2nd in the Women’s Div C category of a 43.5km Peel Cycling Club road race!
- Campbell McDowell excelled in the SCC Junior Tour, finishing second overall in the General Classification for the u/15 category. Campbell’s prowess was further exemplified by his victories in Stage 2 (7.4km time trial) and Stage 4 (2.9km hill climb). A great weekend for Campbell, with lots of fun and success to be had in Adelaide!
- Indiah Coupland showcased her sprinting abilities, achieving third-place finishes in both sprint finish and uphill stages at the SCC Junior Tour.
- Jenson Higham dominated in the AusCycling BMX National Series Round 1, winning the 9-Boys (20″) category. In addition to his BMX success, Jenson secured a commendable third place in the 8-10 Cruiser (24″) category, further showcasing his versatility and skill on different bike types with BMX.
- Chloe Dal Passo displayed her tenacity and skill in the U17 SCC Junior Tour, achieving a podium finish with third place in Stage 1 and a commendable fourth place in Stage 3. Chloe’s talent extended to the time trial of Stage 2, where she secured a fourth-place finish. Chloe also had a great hit out at the Peel 12-hour Team event, where she covered an impressive distance of 365km with the team.
Well done to everyone, and we wish a safe and adventure-filled trip to those over in Europe!