Peloton Watch
  Derek Radzikiewicz: Q&A with Junior Keirin World Champion  
  September 24th 2015  
  Derek Radzikiewicz is the latest in a long list of talent to come out of Australia in track sprinting. A promising rider in the junior ranks in Australia Radzikiewicz asserted himself as a top talent towards the end of 2014 taking out the Oceania sprint title. In his final year in the under 19 ranks, Radzikiewicz added the Australian junior sprint title to his palmares in January. With Oceania and national success behind him Radzikiewicz set his eyes on a world title in Astana.

At the International Track Series in Adelaide at the end of May Radzikiewicz was in unbeatable while in a training block form winning every single event he entered to confirm himself as a main contender ahead of the 2015 UCI Junior Track World Championships.

Radzikiewicz was unbeatable in the keirin in Astana where he charged to the line to take a comfortable victory. Adding his name to the honour roll including fellow Australians Jacob Schmid, Matt Glaetzer and Shane Perkins over the last 11 years.

The success in his last competition means Radzikiewicz leaves his time as a junior as a World, Oceania and Australian Champion with a bright future.

PelotonWatch: What did it mean to be named in your first Australian team?

Derek Radzikiewicz: To be named in the Australian team had been my long-term goals since I started in the junior ranks. A kind of last hoorah as a junior, but also a stepping stone into the senior ranks it was an incredible feeling to have everything fall into place.

PW: Took a clean sweep of the events at ITS Adelaide in May. Long gap between Nationals and Worlds how important was it to get some racing in your legs?

DR: The seven month gap was definitely a big training phase, and after all that strength work it was a definite plus to be able to get a solid week of racing in, even though I was still in a heavy training phase. I was extremely happy with how I performed tactically, and felt like especially in the first few days I executed well, but as always thereís room to improve, and I took away a variety of skills from this.

PW: Started strongly with silver in the team sprint on the opening day of competition. What did it mean to claim a medal in your first event?

DR: Team sprint is one of my fondest memories from Junior Worlds, mainly due to the team atmosphere that Conor Rowley, Cam Scott and myself had. We didnít know exactly where we would stand on a world level, as we hadnít gotten the chance to lay down a time in form, or in the order we ran our team. To stand up on a world level stage for the first time was an unimaginable experience, and it was an awesome way to start competition.

PW: Did winning a medal in the team sprint give you confidence heading in to the individual events?

DR: Getting second definitely was an experience that gave myself, and the rest of my teammates the confidence to step up on a world stage with confidence.

PW: Advanced easily to the final in the keirin. You came down in a crash in the final was it difficult to restart and put it out of your mind?

DR: My keirin run up to the final ran smoothly, and was a definite plus not having to go through the recharge. When I first crashed I felt an incredible amount of adrenaline, and was a challenge to channel into refocusing to better my ride.

PW: Took a convincing victory in the keirin what does it mean to be crowned Junior World Keirin Champion?

DR: Junior world champion to me has been my goal for such a long time, that to stand on the podium, it was an unreal experience. Seeing my crazy long last name up on the big screen, and the Australian flag towering over the others was something that is indescribable.

PW: Qualified sixth in the sprint and just missed out on advancing in 1/16 finals. After such good form in the keirin how big a disappointment was it?

DR: The day started off slightly rocky, with having reasonably neutral splits and being slower than the training session I had earlier, but all in all I was still happy with my time and placing. The sprints being the main event I had strived for, throughout the year that was the biggest goal I had set, and where my goals resided around. So to be put out first round was incredibly hard. Suffering from what is called in slang terms a 'Brain Fade' I didnít have enough pressure coming into the back straight with 2 to go, and got jumped.
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