Hocking’s future bright after junior cycling nationals gold medal

WARRNAMBOOL’S newest golden girl has a big future in cycling, according to junior state team manager Laurie Norris. 

Sixteen-year-old Ashleigh Hocking won gold in the under 17 teams pursuit at the junior track nationals in Sydney on Wednesday night, in what Norris described as a “sensational ride”. 

Ashleigh’s four-person team finished the 3000-metre event in three minutes and 39 seconds at an average speed of 49.28km/h, eclipsing the New South Wales team which finished second and the South Australian team in third. 

Norris said in the five years the women’s team pursuit had been running at the junior nationals, Victoria’s best performance had been second last. 

He said winning a national title was a feather in Ashleigh’s cap. 

“She’s been a very worthwhile addition to the team,” he said. 

“She has only ridden a couple of national titles before, which normally wouldn’t be enough to justify state side selection. 

“But we (the selectors) knew she was vital to our junior women’s pursuit team.”

Norris said he liked Ashleigh’s aggression on the bike. 

“What I like about her is she’s a racer,” he said. 

“Other riders will put up the white flag when they get passed, but not Ashleigh. She put’s her head down and fights back.” 

Norris said he had been junior manager for 14 years and had seen riders like world class sprinter Shane Perkins make their way through the junior ranks. 

“Some of these kids are great under 15s, they get even better in under 17s and are even better by the time they get to under 19s,” he said. 

“I can see Ashleigh being one of those kids that just keeps getting better. 

“She’s got great stamina and is a fantastic endurance rider. 

“Sometimes winning gold at a national title is the springboard you need. I’d say the future is looking pretty good for her.” 

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