Teenage star on the rise
THREE years ago, riding a bike usually involved a motor for Kaden Groves. Today he’s in China riding for the St George Continental Cycling Team competing in the 12-stage Tour of Poyang Lake.
After a motorcycle accident just over two years ago, Kaden was introduced to the sport when he climbed aboard a spin bike as part of his knee injury recovery.
His first race was with Sunshine Coast Cycling Club on March 22 in 2015.
Since then the 18-year-old has become a powerhouse.
He won last year’s under-19 road race national championship at Canberra, and after finishing Year 12 at Gympie has moved to Maroochydore with a pure cycling focus.
While having previously trained under Noosa coach Ron Boyle, Kaden is now “doing my own thing” and riding with the likes of fellow rising star Ryan Cavanagh.
His new approach has paid dividends and the youngster was in white-hot form ahead heading for China. In his home town, Kaden claimed victory in all three stages of the Queensland Road Teams Series. He also won the elite Queensland individual time trial just weeks before at North Stradbroke Island.
Kaden’s parents are supporting him as he undertakes a serious tilt at the sport, which he attributes to his most recent success.
“There’s no secret really. Just big weeks on the bike,” he said.
“I do around 16-20 hour weeks which is between 500-700km.”
“It’s been a big jump but it’s really good. I have been training hard. It helps being full time, you have time to recover.”
Since last year’s national title it has been a steep learning curve.
Riding the Tour of Poyang Lake last year saw Kaden exposed to a big stage race.
That event led to him being approached by St George, a club regarded as one of the nation’s most successful – laying claim to having produced more than 100 national representatives.
He rode with St George at the Herald Sun Tour in February where he rode in the peloton alongside some of the world’s best, including four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and Team Sky and Orica-Scott’s Simon Gerrans.
“It was awesome to race against Froome and the like. It was really good racing,” he said.
“Seeing the benchmark being set so high was really good and it makes you want to train harder.”
During June, Kaden secured his UCI podium after finishing second in the prologue at Japan’s Tour de Kumano.
Ahead of flying out, Kaden said he was looking forward to his return to China.
“I raced this tour last year and I was inexperienced. Now, I know what I’m in for,” he said.
“There is a lot of really flat and fast racing, and a few days for the climbers. I’m probably one of two sprinters, and the rest of the team are strong. I might have to lead out for a few days into the hills.
“We have a good team, it should be really good.”
There’s a busy schedule for Kaden and his team this year, after returning on September 25 he will again head for another tour in China 10 days later, while there are other races in Malaysia and Indonesia among the plans.
After finishing with his road race commitments, he will then turn his attention to the track as he prepares with the men’s team pursuit youth squad for the Cycling Australia Madison National Championships on December 17.
Kaden said he would continue to ride for St George overseas, and team Pedaler locally.
“I have worked hard and it’s nice to get the results,” Kaden said.
“So far I have had a few offers for next year. I’m really happy on St George and they are looking after me.
“I like the competitiveness (of cycling) and having teammates. I really like team racing, everyone working together.
“I enjoy parts of both (track and road). There are two pathways, I don’t quite know which one I’ll take yet...the Tokyo Olympics would be be cool.”
KADEN Groves showed he is in top form winning all three stages of the elite men’s Queensland Road Teams Series held in Gympie earlier this month.
The third round of the elite men’s Queensland Road Teams Series (QRTS) consisted of a 122.8km road race, 60 minute criterium and 30.6km team time trial.
Kaden stormed to victory in the stage one road race at Langshaw, 24 seconds ahead of his The Pedaler teammate Mitch Neumann and over a minute in front of the chasing bunch.
The criterium was held on the streets around the home of the Valley Rattler in Gympie on the Sunday morning and a large crowd was on hand to see Kaden sprint across the line to claim his second victory ahead of 80 other elite cyclists.
The third and final stage was the team time trial at Pie Creek where Kaden and his The Pedaler team, including fellow Sunshine Coast rider Ryan Cavanagh, finished more than one minute ahead of their nearest rivals, giving Kaden a clean sweep of round three of the series.
Kaden who is based at Maroochydore but grew up in Gympie, said winning in his backyard was a special feeling.
“The road race and team time trial were both held on roads that I used to train on every day – home is just five kilometres down the road,” Kaden said.
“I’m happy to have been able to use my local knowledge of these roads to take the three stage wins and overall victory of the round.”
Kaden said winning the Sunday morning criterium in front of his family was a special feeling.
“My family have backed my cycling career and are my biggest supporters – to have them there on the sidelines was fantastic,” he said.
“It was really special to have my grandparents there to see me race and win the criterium.
“Thank you to the organisers Cycling Queensland, NXsports and Gympie Regional Council for bringing the event to Gympie, and I can’t thank my The Pedaler Cyclery teammates enough for their support over the weekend.”
The Sunshine Coast was well represented at round three of the QRTS, with Noosa’s Kent Carpenter beating home a strong field in the masters men criterium. Kent was the aggressor for much of the race and was well supported by his Farrago Interiors teammates – the only Sunshine Coast team in the series.
Mandy Newman and Veronica Lebedev represented the Sunshine Coast in the women’s events. Mandy finished both the women’s road race and criterium in ninth position, while Veronica claimed third in the criterium and second in the team time trial.
Ryan Cavanagh, Patrick Kennedy, Jonathon Noble and Michael Ryan also put in strong performances throughout the weekend. Under-19 Sunshine Coast Cycling Club riders Jonathan Curry, Taj Jones, Jake van der Vliet, Ocker Henning and Sutton Henning all held their own in the elite series.
The fourth and final round of the series is on the Sunshine Coast from October 7-8.
Kaden Groves leads home The Pedaler team in the Queensland Road Teams Series time trial.
Kent Carpenter leads the Farrago Interiors team to the finish of the team time trial.
Bradley Fox (left) and Michael Ryan racing for the Campos Cycling Team in the team time trial.
Sunshine Coast riders Luke van Maanenberg, Ocker Henning and Patrick Kennedy (left to right) compete in the criterium.
Mandy Newman looking strong in the women's criterium.
Veronica Lebedev (finished third in the women's criterium.