Coming third in a race instead of first would normally be a cause for disappointment for an elite athlete.
But for Mount Riverview cyclist Jordan Davies — who managed to do both at the NSW Road Race Championships held at Kurrajong earlier this month — it was the third place finish that was arguably the more exciting result.
The 20-year-old won the U23 championships on August 11 but it was his third place finish in the elite category that really made his cycling peers sit up and take notice.
With the elite and U23 riders competing in the same 165km event, Davies found himself the only U23 contender in a breakaway pack of six cyclists at the 65km mark. His presence in the lead pack was so surprising that eventual race winner, 35-year-old Stuart Shaw of Canberra, felt the need to introduce himself mid-race in order to discover the identity of his young competition.
Davies stayed with the more experienced breakaway pack and attacked hard in the final kilometre, only to be caught in the last 100m.
“I almost got the whole thing,” he said.
It was a triple celebration for Davies with his fellow riders from the SKODA St George racing team claiming second and third spot in the U23 championships.
The former Blaxland High School student is enjoying his fifth season of road racing after becoming a convert to the sport while doing work experience at Panthers Cycles in Penrith (where he now works part-time while putting himself through a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree at the University of Western Sydney).
“All the guys at the shop are really enthusiastic about road cycling so I gave it a go,” he said.
He now trains up to 22 hours each week, cycling up and down the Blue Mountains on a regular basis.
“It’s quite a tactical sport. It’s not always the strongest guy who wins,” he said of road cycling’s appeal. “In that race at Kurrajong there were plenty of guys who could have won, but sometimes you just have to roll the dice.”
The 20-year-old’s next big roll of the dice will be at the National Capital Tour in Canberra in late September followed by the Tour of Tasmania in October.