Updated 20th October 2020

Paddy Doran cycling Blog

Many junior cyclists (17-18 years) are looking forward to joining the U23 ranks next year.

A good number of juniors have just completed the 2018 Junior Tour of Ireland

Did they look like professional cyclists as Junior cyclist?

Their goals for the next few years will vary. Some will wish to focus on study or work. Others will aspire to being an international or professional cyclist.

A lot of these cyclists will have spent a number of years coming through the youth and junior cycling ranks with various levels of success. So the positives are that they usually have a fair degree of cycling skills and experience that will help the transition into senior racing.

Wrong approach

Planning for the move is very important and a wrong approach can wipe out next season. A poor transition could also damage the cyclists confidence for future years.

In some cases they run into serious problems during the transition. This can be physical from not getting the training right, or psychological from poorly set goals or a lack of understanding of long term development.

The move from Junior to U23 is just another step on the ladder to being a mature Cyclist. The ladder has a lot of steps and trying to go from the bottom of the ladder to the top step in one move is usually a disaster.

This  can lead to them packing in cycling completely So clearly an incorrect approach can impact on a cyclists long term future.

Junior versus senior cycling competition

The big sprint

The main differences are distance and speed of races. There is probably a different rhythm to the races as well. There is more sustained high speed periods in top class senior races.

There is now an opportunity to race in some of the good stage races like The Ras and Easter  A1 A2 events Irish events

The junior will have to adapt to the different tactics and implementation of tactics. This usually takes a bit of time so patience and good mentors and coaches are very important..

Junior World Road cycling championships

We seen the best of the Irish Junior cyclists in action in the Worlds. The selected rider were all fine cyclists who perform very strongly in Irish events. Some of them have also performed well in Races abroad.

However this is the Worlds where all the very best in the World compete. Past history has been that the gap widens at the International level as the riders move into u23.

Transition to Irish senior racing.

The main mistakes made

  • Insufficient and poor preparation during the youth and junior years.
  • Too much competition and too much emphasis on winning at the younger levels
  • Ramping training up too quickly
  • Desperation sets in! “I have to do lots of training now”
  • Taking a short term approach…
  • “If I don’t get results by May I’m bailing out”

Changing cycling Clubs or teams

During the last few years sponsored teams have become more prevalent. There’s often a battle for riders by sponsored teams. It can be very flattering to have someone invite you to join a team.

However the experience might not always be what you expect or are promised.

It could be very useful to join a sponsored team if there’s a lot of expertise there. I have happily directed some riders to (good) sponsored teams. I have also advised others against moving it their club meets their development needs. So research the team well speak to other riders who race or raced with the team.

Don’t be just a Billboard

The last thing that you need to be is a billboard for a team that doesn’t care about you or your future development.

Ask these questions

  • have I prospered in my own club?
  • Is the experience and support I need in my own club.
  • Can my own club help me get further expertise that’s required
  • Why am I being asked to join this new team
  • What difference will joining the new team make to my development
  • How expert are the people in charge of the team
  • What’s their own racing record/ experience
  • What’s their coaching record
  • Have they a track record of actually developing excellent senior cyclists
  • What will I learn there
  • What will the racing experience be like
  • What about showing some loyalty to my club

New u23 cyclists tips

  • Remember endurance Cyclists best years are 25 to 35 years old
  • Get some great coaching support
  • You may need constant support, so paying a coach who rations communications to once a month or similar is madness.
  • Enjoy your cycling
  • Look on it as a new adventure and challenge
  • Focus on performance and learning
  • listen and learn from experienced cyclists and coaches
  • Build confidence with some results according to your current ability
  • Train according to demands on your  time with work /education
  • Give yourself some time to adapt to a new job or College by not training too hard in the first few weeks.
  • Live a sporting lifestyle with good sleep, nutrition and balance between sport and life.
  • Have a plan
  • Enjoy your cycling
  • Enjoy your cycling
  • Enjoy your cycling

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