Queenslander Jessica Pratt has started 2017 with a bang, taking home the bronze medal in the U23 Women’s Criterium at the 2017 Australian Road Cycling Championships.

In a race that was dominated by the elite Orica-Scott squad and won by High5 Dream Team graduate Jessica Allen, with 2015 team captain Kendelle Hodges in second, Pratt was never daunted by the challenge of competing with the top criterium racers in the country.

‘The crit was good, it was great to get my first U23 Australian National Championships criterium under the belt. My main goal for Nationals is the road race on Sunday, so I was using tonight’s criterium to get a good hit out. I looked at the course and felt that it suited my strengths. I was hoping I could get a medal, so it was a great result.

‘I was able to keep an eye on the other Under 23 riders in the peloton throughout the race, but unfortunately, I actually thought there were two laps to go when we were on our last lap! Up until 100 metres to go I thought we had another lap to go, so I’m pleased I was able to keep an eye on my main competition and still secure a medal.

‘The Under 23 road race is my main goal of these national championships, I really want to try and win that on Sunday, so I’ll aim for another medal there and hopefully get another good result!

For the High5 Dream Team, it was a proud day seeing 2017 rider Jessica Pratt on the podium for the Under 23 race, as well as having 2016 riders Jessica Allen and Kendelle Hodges going 1-2 to take the gold and silver medals.

Allen was understandably ecstatic with her win.

‘I was pretty lost for words, I couldn’t believe it, I thought man I am going to win this!

‘Once I was in the break of five, I knew I had to be aggressive, with three sprinters in there as it isn’t my forte, but we had to attack, I was lucky.

‘I felt I had really good legs out there and just time trailed all the way to the end.