Between August 14 and 18, some 300 Junior athletes will take to the boards of the Oderlandhalle velodrome in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, to compete in their biggest competition of the year: the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships.
Among them are 13 young talents from 10 different countries who have been training for the last five weeks at the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle, Switzerland.
Although they will compete in their national colours, they have formed a united team while putting the finishing touches to their preparation under the guidance of the UCI WCC’s professional coaches.
Sessions on the track, endurance training on the road, core and strength exercises in the gym and video analysis have all been part of the preparation for these athletes who represent South Africa, South Korea, Canada, Thailand, Ecuador, Sweden, Finland, Venezuela, Japan and Chile.
UCI WCC General Director Frédéric Magné explained that some of them had never ridden on an indoor track before and were also new to such structured and intense training.
Focus has been mainly on tactics: moving through the bunch and holding position in a peloton for the endurance athletes, and match sprinting, standing starts and flying lines for the sprinters. As the competition has neared, the volume of training has decreased, and the intensity increased.
“They have come on no end and have worked well together,” says Frédéric Magné, who added that the language barrier had been overcome thanks to drawings, gestures and google translate.
Together with the coaches, each athlete has set specific outcome and process goals for the Worlds, with the more experienced and ambitious aiming for podiums.
Over the next few days, the athletes are gradually leaving for Frankfurt where they will join their National Federations but will also be able to rely on the presence of UCI WCC coaching staff.
The UCI World Cycling Centre organises this training camp every year, on invitation, to help athletes prepare for the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships.