Young talent chases world champs spot

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Star Albany cyclist Craig Wiggins continues to firm for a place at the Junior World Championships in September after a brilliant performance at the Mersey Valley Tour in Tasmania earlier this month.

Fresh from claiming the 2016 overall Albany sportsperson of the year award in March, the dominant teenager competed in an individual time trial and two road races as part of the Mersey Valley Tour against the best under-19 riders in Australia and New Zealand.

Wiggins again put his name up in front of selectors with a blistering performance in the 76.8km Mersey Valley Tour Railton Road Race, bursting clear to claim victory in a sprint finish in one of the selection races for the junior worlds.

After being part of an early breakaway, Wiggins and two other riders were caught by a chasing pack with 15km to go on the final climb, but he had plenty left in the tank as a group of four riders climbed ahead.

Wiggins was too strong in the sprint, edging out New Zealand’s Oscar Elworthy, Queensland’s Calan White and Victoria’s Thomas Jones.

“I was pretty stoked to get that win,” he said.

“It shows my versatility as a rider because I was part of a breakaway, not just sitting in the bunch and sprinting. “It’s definitely one of the bigger races I’ve won and puts me in a better spot to go to worlds. The tour was really hilly.

“There was 1400m of elevation in the 76km, so training for that and pulling it off was pleasing.”

The previous day, Wiggins finished sixth in the 74.8km Riana Road Race and was the third Australian competitor across the line, and on the opening day, the 17-year-old was 20th in the 14km individual time trial.

Wiggins now has his sights set on the Cycling Australia Under-19 Road National Championships in Geelong, from June 16-18.

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