Teenage star on the rise

Multisport Mecca - - Front Page - Grant Ed­wards

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.

PHOTO: MAL KEE­BLE

PHOTO: MAL KEE­BLE

Kaden Groves leads home The Pedaler team in the Queens­land Road Teams Se­ries time trial.

PHO­TOS: MAL KEE­BLE

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.

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