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Peta Mullens' 2006 Diary

As part of the Australian Junior World Championships squad, Peta Mullens and Tess Downing, two selected riders from Victoria, headed to Belgium for the Junior World Championships.. Peta provides an insight into their World Championship experience, one which saw the Victorians arrive home with a bronze medal each.

Junior World Championships

Track & Road - Belgium, August 2006

On this page >>  Track entry   Road Entry   Photos

Track  August 5-8  "Bronze Beauties"

After returning home from the Junior World Track Cycling Championships in Belgium with a collection of bronze medals I think we can safely label ourselves as the bronze beauties! As members of the Australian Cycling Team, Josephine “Jobey” Butler (WA), Kaarle Mcculloch (NSW), fellow Victorian Tess Downing and myself arrived home with not only many special memories, but 3 bronze medals to go with it!

For the majority of the two weeks leading up to the Championships we were booked into the track for double training sessions, and if it wasn’t for our occasional trip to the supermarket every 3-4days, then we would never have escaped the feeling of lycra!! We were spoilt at our accommodation with a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. Note that we were served pasta for lunch and dinner for 3 weeks straight! So we quickly became a fan of the variety at breakfast!

As competition got underway on Saturday 5th nerves and adrenaline were running wild. We knew that we had trained for this moment. Everything for the last few months had been based around this ride. As we sat on the start line for our races there was one thing running through the mind. Gary Sutton (head coach) had spoken to the team the night before competition started, and following a team hug (what we call a bonding session) he said “When you’re sitting on the start line and you adjust your helmet, just tell yourself one thing. I’ve done the work, I took no shortcuts, and I deserve this.” That’s what we were all telling ourselves.

500m TT

Kaarle and Jobey were the first to compete, with the 500m Time Trial being held on the first night of competition. The girls had crashed in training the day before so although stiff, bruised, and covered in patches, they fronted in honour to be representing their country. Jobey was able to ride a personal best and clock a time of 37.417. With such huge improvements in performance over the last few months, she is being held in good stead for the 2008 Junior World Cycling Championships. Kaarle rode early in the program and clocked a time of 35.763, which was just off the Australian record of 35.740 held by Kerrie Meares. This was the leading time until only a few girls remained, but until then she was forced to wait in anticipation for what colour medal she would receive in the first female final of the Championships. Kaarle was beaten only by Sandie Clair of France and Lubov Shulyka of Ukraine, two girls who had broken the world record just weeks prior.

500m TT Results

1 CLAIR Sandie FRA 35.223

2 SHULYKA Lubov UKR 35.367

3 MCCULLOCH Kaarle AUS 35.763

13 BUTLER Josephine AUS 37.417

 

Sprint

The following morning the girls were forced to back up for their Sprint Qualifying rounds. In the 200m Time Trial Lubov Shulyka of Ukraine was the quickest qualifier in a time of 11.428. Kaarle wasn’t far behind in 7th clocking 12.054, and Jobey followed in 20th with a time of 12.939. Jobey was then required to race against no 5 seed in a knock out competition. In the most courageous ride of the Championships she took it all the way to the line but was unfortunately beaten, ending her sprint campaign. Kaarle started out on an easier pathway against no 18 seed and with a convincing win progressed to the following rounds. It was here where she once again proved a talent defeating no 6 seed and qualifying for the semi-finals the following day after overcoming no 3 seed in just 2 rounds. 

Sprint Qualifying (25 starters)

1 SHULYKA Lubov UKR 11.428

7 MCCULLOCH Kaarle AUS 12.054

20 BUTLER Josephine AUS 12.939

Come Sunday night and Kaarle was up again to finish off what she had started in the Sprint competition. I was able to sneak out of the drug-testing waiting room (using my presentations as an excuse) to watch her final

rounds. She was to face tough competition in Anna Blyth, last years silver medallist, and after a tough battle through 2 rounds where she was only just overcome by the Great Britain rider, she progressed to the ride-off for

bronze. After two-rounds where the total was one all, Kaarle knew she needed something special to beat her opponent. A re-start was required after both of the girls were involved in a minor fall, but this only made her hungrier. She lead the sprint out and won by half a tyres width. But after the judges had conversed, they decided that Kaarle had come out of the sprinters lane in the final bend impending on her opponents path. As a result, she was sadly disqualified and given fourth.

Sprint Result

1 SHULYKA Lubov UKR

2 BLYTH Anna GBR

3 CLAIR Sandie FRA

4 MCCULLOCH Kaarle AUS

 

Points Race - 20km

On Saturday night the first of three female endurance events took place, the 20km Points Score, with the sole entrant from Australia being fellow Carnegie Caulfield cyclist Tess Downing. After such domination in this event at the Australian Championships there were high hopes for the young Victorian. In the first sprint of the night Tess was able to claim the win and 5 points to go with it. But as the race heated up she was always struggling to find her way and it wasn’t until the 7th sprint that she claimed another 3 points finishing in second. Sadly, coming into the final sprint Tess had nothing left, finishing her in 5th place. The winner, Mie Bekker Lacota of Denmark, a deserving winner and an obvious talent after claiming gold in the road race and bronze in the road time trial the previous year.

Points Race Results (17 Starters)

1 LACOTA Mie Bekker DEN 17 27:42mins

2 VAN HAGE Elise NED 13

3 ROMANYUTA Evg. RUS 13

5 DOWNING Tess AUS 8

 

Individual Pursuit (2000m)

Monday morning came and it was time for Tess and myself to prepare for qualifying round for the 2000m Individual Pursuit. The morning had ran smoothly and after times I had been doing in training I had very high standards set for the race. Tess was first off the rank clocking 2:30.657, then I followed in a time of 2:29.967. Reigning World Champion Lesya Kalitovska clocked the fastest time of 2:27.115. I think its safe to say that we were both disappointed in our times as they were the slowest we had ridden throughout the entire year. I was upset and frustrated with my morning ride as I can ride 3seconds quicker, but I knew I had to put that aside and prepare for the final in the afternoon session. 

Individual Pursuit Qualifying (29 starters)

1 KALITOVSKA Lesya UKR 2:27.115

2 ELLIS Lauren Marie NZL 2:29.840

3 MULLENS Peta AUS 2:29.967

4 HANSEN Trine DEN 2:30.016

6 DOWNING Tess AUS 2:30.657

After missing out by such a minimal margin on the gold/silver final, I was determined not to miss out on a podium finish. Kalitovska rode herself to an easy 4 second win over Ellis of New Zealand, and after a more comfortable ride in the final, I walked away with my first World Championship medal, although it wasn’t the colour I had quite hoped for. The road team had come to support us that night at racing and as I rode around the track they celebrated with me.

Individual Pursuit Results

1 KALITOVSKA Lesya UKR 2:26.139

2 ELLIS Lauren Marie NZL 2:30.545

3 MULLENS Peta AUS 2:28.214

4 HANSEN Trine DEN 2:29.149

 

Scratch Race - 7.5km

We had finally reached the last day of competition with only two finals remaining. The first of these being the 7.5km Scratch Race which attracted 18 starters. After recovering from the previous two days of racing, and still yet to get on the podium, Tess was eager to impress her spectators. With a good sprint on her, Tess’ tactics were to wait for a bunch kick which resulted in a quite sedative race. The only attack that had some worried was one in the final section of the race that had New Zealand’s Marie Lauren Ellis off the front, emulating her silver medal ride. Unlucky for her, she was bought back on the final lap, however this worked in Australia’s favour.

Tess was able to fight it out again for positions against her rivals in the points score. She managed to grab another, our third, bronze medal for the girls.

Scratch Race Results - 7.5km - 18 starters

1 VAN HAGE Elise NED 10:46mins

2 ROMANYUTA Evg. RUS

3 DOWNING Tess AUS

 

Keirin

In the keirin we had high hopes for Jobey, a bronze we expected after our previous success’. But after finishing 4th in her first round, she was unlucky to crash out in the repechage and therefore failed to make the final. Kaarle’s luck ran a different course, although it was really talent that got her through. Winning both her first and second rounds, she had the perfect run to make the final. However, come her last chance at the title of world champion, she found herself with tired legs after a long week of competition and finished in fourth. An amazing victory from Anna Blyth had come after three rides in a bid to make the final, an unexpected ride after such a tiring day.

Keirin Results (23 starters)

1 BLYTH Anna GBR

2 ROZHKOVA Anna RUS

3 DELEV Charlene GER

4 MCCULLOCH Kaarle AUS

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Road   August 10 - 13  "Scarred by Success"

After finishing the Track Championships I was driven to the other side of Belgium to a small but sweet town called Francorchamps in Spa. The road team was a change from the track team. We had more free time and less rules. But then we balanced out the good with the bad…the hills!! Which after a solid two months of track training I wasn’t really used to. My first day on the road course had me worried, but as the days went by I felt better and after a few efforts I felt like I had found form (in 3days! - Ha ha)

Individual Time Trial - 11.8km

We had two starters in the Time Trial and I was thanking the lord it wasn’t me as the weather didn’t look too promising. In fact it rained on Grace and I when we went out training that morning, with a map, and we still got lost! 

Therefore, we were a little late in arriving to cheer on our girls for racing. Today was an important day for our girls, in particular our baby of the team, Josephine Tomic. The youngster from Western Australia, after just missing out on selection in the track team, had something to prove on the road. Unfortunately it was not to be her day and the pressures of the World Championships landed her in a disappointing 40th place. Sadly, less than 2 months ago Josie had beaten Rebecca Spence, who would go on to become a Junior World Road Time Trial Champion in admirable fashion. Not far behind the World Champ was the small but experienced Tiffany Cromwell. With a course to suit her style of riding she pulled out a blinder, finishing just 21 seconds off the podium in 10th position. This would prove to be our best female result on the road, as we failed to better this in the Road Race.

Individual Time Trial Results

1 SPENCE Rebecca NZL 18:53mins

2 KALITOVSKA Lesya UKR + 0.22

3 LACOTA Mie Bekker DEN + 0.38

4 RIJEN Linda Van NED + 0.43

5 TREBAITE Ausrine LTU + 0.45

10 CROMWELL Tiffany AUS + 0.59

40 TOMIC Josephine AUS + 3.02

 

Road Race - 68km

After both highs and lows in the Individual Time Trial we were hoping for none of the later when on the start line for the Road Race. Our coach Margaret Hemsley had given us the final race tactics and we were confident that the course would suit our strengths. The 68kms consisted of 5 laps of a 13.6km circuit, with the final few kilometres on the Grand Prix racing track. We all had some close calls throughout the duration of the race with many other girls suffering either mechanicals or poor bike handling skills. 

Come the bell, we were all sitting pretty in the lead bunch as the field had remained quite sedated. On the final hill of the day with just 5kms remaining Tiffany and myself were looking strong at the front of the peleton. It was up this climb that the bunch split in two and Grace and Josie were left to lead the chase to bring back the 15 girls up the road.

Unfortunately, as the descent began Tiff and I were unlucky to be involved in a serious crash that saw 6 girls hit the asphalt. I came down quite hard and was unable to continue on to finish the race, while Tiff climbed back on to lead out our other girls in the pursuing bunch. It seemed that our success in the lead bunch had scarred our performances. 

Grace and Josie showed their good form to finish first and second in the chase group giving them 20th and 21st place, Tiff rolled in for 35th. This left us wondering what our Aussie’s could have achieved if they had remained in contact with the leading girls. The win came for Lithuania’s Rasa Leleivyte in a close bunch sprint where she overcame two Italians in Marina Romoli and Eleonora Patuzzo.

Road Race Results - 68km

1 LELEIVYTE Rasa LTU 2:01:16

2 ROMOLI Marina ITA s.t

3 PATUZZO Eleonora ITA s.t

4 VAN RIJEN Linda NED s.t

5 CANUEL Karol-Ann CAN s.t

20 SULZBERGER Grace AUS + 0.46

21 TOMIC Josephine AUS s.t

35 CROMWELL Tiffany AUS s.t

DNF MULLENS Peta AUS s.t

 

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