JESS and Tori Saunders might have been starring on the bike but younger sister Ollie has joined them on the victory dais.
While the two older daughters of former Tamworth cyclist John Saunders have been excelling in New Zealand and Australia, Ollie signalled she is about to follow suit by grabbing a silver medal at the NSW Country Track Titles at Coffs Harbour on the weekend.
Ollie claimed a silver medal in the Under 11 Girls’ Division at Coffs, reported her father, while Jess returned to Tamworth as NSW Country Under 15 champion.
Jess’s excellent weekend continued on from a brilliant tour of New Zealand with her older sister and points to continued success in a national junior track series.
Tori and Jess, who are also members of the Inverell-based Racing Kangaroos, toured NZ recently, competing in the Yunca Junior Tour of the Southland .
“The race was a six-stage tour run over three days,” John Saunders said.
“The weather proved to be very tough, with stage three raced in what can only be described as a blizzard complete with 70km-hour winds, snow and rain.”
The fourth stage was cancelled due to the worsening conditions and rider safety (several riders suffered hypothermia and taken to hospital from stage 3).
Tori had two stage wins and in doing so established a one and a half minute lead over her nearest rival.
Jessie also won two stages in sprint finishes which secured her the Green Sprint Ace jersey.
By the end of the tour Tori claimed both the leader’s Yellow Jersey and the King of the Mountains Jersey, and Jess the Green Sprint Ace Jersey.
While in New Zealand, the two competed in a two-night track carnival where between them they took out all the Under 15 women’s events.
On their return back to Australia they both competed in the first of five rounds of the National Junior Track Series at the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney where Tori has stepped up to the Under 17 age group.
“Jess surprised us all, winning eight out of her nine events and placed third in the ninth event,” John Saunders said.
She now holds a convincing lead in the Under 15 Women’s series which continues in Perth in two weeks’ time.
Tamworth’s Joel and Jeremy Bartlett also competed at the Country Championships in Coffs Harbour, with Joel picking up a silver medal in the Elite Men’s Division.
Tamworth’s Lewis Chapman also competed in the Yunca Junior Tour of the Southland in a six-rider NSW Cycling Association development squad.
He had his final race in the Under 17s on that tour and finished a good 10th, just 2mins 37secs adrift of the winner.