Peloton Watch
  Top 3 Junior Women of 2014  
  October 28th 2014  
  Thinking who the top junior women of 2014 are is a harder decision that it might initially appear. A number of names stand out as potential winners but here is my top three.

Macey Stewart

There are four women’s Olympic endurance events (omnium and team pursuit on the track and the time trial and road race on the road). Stewart is the 2014 Junior World Champion in three of the four.

After claiming her first rainbow jersey in the team pursuit, Stewart set her sights on the omnium. After finishing fourth and missing a medal by one point in 2013 Stewart wanted a medal. Her consistency across the events kept her in contention ahead of the final points race. Under the new format the points gained in the points race are added to your existing tally. Stewart used her endurance and finishing speed to win three sprints and place in nine of ten sprints to win gold on a count back.

After a short break it was off to Belgium to prepare for the Road World Championships. Consistent placings including a win in kermesse races in Belgium set Stewart up perfectly for a crack at another rainbow jersey. An early starter in the time trial on a miserably rainy day in Ponferrada saw Stewart set the early benchmark. As the rain continued to fall and as teammate and friend Alex Manly crossed the line as the final starter Stewart had claimed a third rainbow jersey of 2014.

For those who have followed Macey’s career her success in 2014 is not a surprise but that does not make it any less impressive. Stewart has competed in 12 2014 Australian or World Championship events and has claimed a medal in 11. Six of them are gold and three came with a rainbow jersey. A record many would envy over an entire career but to achieve it in the space of 12 months is something else entirely.

Courtney Field

Courtney Field is without a doubt the world’s best junior sprinter. From the under 15 ranks in Australia Field has been on a path many would dream of. At 17 she can already claim 18 Australian titles to her name. And that was before she even set foot on the international stage.

2014 got off to a start with a clean sweep of the sprint events at the Australian National Championships in January. Gold in the 500m time trial, keirin and sprint saw Field bring her tally to the mentioned 18 National Titles. Records set by the Meares sisters (Anna and Kerrie) before Field was born have already fallen to her.

After a slightly disappointing start to the Junior Track World Championships finishing fourth and missing a medal in the team sprint, the disappointment didn’t last long. The next day Field set a time of 35.569secs in the 500m Time Trial claiming silver, just .1 of a second off gold.

After qualifying sixth Field had to fight her way through the rounds in the sprint, but did so in convincing style to make the gold medal ride. Field took the first heat but a tactical mistake in the second saw her pushed to a decider. A strong ride saw Field become World Champion in the sprint, a rare occurrence for a first year under 19.

Despite a heavy race load Field lined up again in the keirin as the marked rider and in the final made a late charge to the line just missing gold but claimed a second silver medal.

Gold in the sprint and 500m time trial at the Oceania Championships followed earlier this month. Field also crossed the line first in the keirin before being relegated for not holding her line in the sprint.

Field’s turn of speed and tactical intelligence make her one of the most exciting junior sprinters in recent years.

Amalie Dideriksen

Danish talent Amalie Dideriksen won her first Junior World Championship in 2013 in the junior women’s road race in Italy. Even a year out she was fancied to do the double. But a return to the Track World Championships came first.

In 2013 Dideriksen claimed bronze in the scratch race but this year she was in stunning form to claim gold and her first World Title on the track. Heading in to the final round of the omnium Dideriksen was second, just four points off the lead and one of four real contenders for the win. A crash in the first sprint saw Dideriksen out of the race and off to hospital.

Diagnosed with a broken collarbone it put in doubt her ability to defend her title in the road race. A month off the bike and Dideriksen was back training but with just two weeks before the Road World Championships.

Dideriksen remained safely near the front throughout much of the race as her Danish teammates controlled things. After following attacks on the final climbs a small group contested the finish with Dideriksen unleashing her finishing speed to take the win and become the third person to win back to back Junior World Championship Titles on the road.

This week it was announced that Dideriksen had signed a two year contact with the Dutch Boels-Dolmans squad starting in 2015.
 © 2016