UCI World Cycling Centre helps junior riders train for Worlds
From July 20 to 24, the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, will welcome the world’s most talented junior track cyclists for the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships.
To help prepare for this major competition, the UCI WCC invited some of the competitors to train on its track in the run-up to the most major competition of their young careers. Seventeen athletes aged 17 and 18 have come from ten different countries to benefit from the centre’s facilities and the guidance of its professional coaching staff. Most have been in Aigle since mid-June.
“They had all already achieved something that has made them stand out in some way, for example at national or continental championships,” explains UCI WCC Coach Scott Bugden. “Most have not yet won a major competition but that may be because they are first-year Juniors or competing against older riders.”
Stepping up the training
Used to juggling school and training, they have had the luxury of devoting themselves entirely to their sport while at the UCI WCC, combining sessions on the track, rides on the road and intensive workouts in the gym.
“The first week they were very tired but they have settled in really well and their times are improving at an incredible rate,” observes Bugden. “They are super motivated, committed to their sport and are picking up on what we ask them to do very quickly. For many it is a case of working with raw potential. With correct training and guidance, they are catching up to more experienced riders.”He added:
“They have understood what the UCI WCC is all about and what it takes to be a cyclist both on and off the bike."
This can include simple things like punctuality, preparing for sessions, cooling down and eating healthily and properly.”
Tomas Contte (18) is at the UCI WCC with fellow members of the Argentinean pursuit team. In training they have already demonstrated that they are on track to knock a good 15 seconds off the time of their Junior pursuit team at last year’s Junior Worlds. Contte also intends to improve on his 11th place in the Omnium from last year.
South Africa’s Jennifer Abbot (18) and Jessica Brown (17) hardly knew each other before arriving in Aigle, but will compete together in the team sprint, as well as the individual sprint and the keirin.
“This is my first year on the track and I have never done such intense training,” says the younger of the two. “It’s also my first time in the gym. Since I have been here I’ve already knocked about half a second off my 200m time.”
Her team mate concurs: “We’ve got a lot faster since we’ve been training twice a day. It’s also great to have the velodrome to train on. At home we train on an outdoor 500m concrete track. It’s very different.”
Jakob Joensen (17) of Denmark, added:
"I was so happy to come here because I wanted to move up to another level. I am training more and also doing more quality work. It shows in my times which are getting faster.”
He has the firm intention of breaking the Danish national record for the flying 200 metres at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships, something he has already achieved more than once in training at the UCI World Cycling Centre.
UCI WCC High Performance Manager Belinda Tarling said the athletes’ improved performances in such a short time were no surprise: “We mainly targeted athletes from countries that do not have adequate track cycling facilities, or who have only very limited access to them,” she explains. “Some of these riders do not even have a velodrome to train on but despite this are capable of competing at international level. We wanted to give them a chance to prepare for the UCI World Championships in the best possible conditions.”