Australia’s new sprinter wins two stages at Triptyque U23
Updated: 12 hours ago
After Michael Matthews and Caleb Ewan, a new Australian sprinter is on the rise. Kaden Groves (20) is his name. He did two sprints in Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux and won both. We had the pleasure to walk him to the dope control, about which SEG Racing Academy staff member Froukje Van Zinnen afterwards tells us an anecdote: ‘He told me that one time at a dope control, he couldn’t pee for six hours. I hope that won’t be the case today’ , she smiles.
The Young Peloton totalled six hours of trains to get to Tournai and see the finish of the last Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux stage, but with the best U23 riders being present, it was no struggle at all. The Tryptique is known as one of the few U23 stage races designed for time triallists and sprinters, as the course isn't not too hilly. And a sprinter is what Kaden Groves proved he is. It seems that after Fabio Jakobsen's years at SEG Racing Academy, the team has a found a new hidden sprint gem. This is his 'Austrasian' story.
Kaden, winning two sprint stages, this week proved good for you. What was your goal coming into the race?
“I really came here to win a stage, so I can be happy with the result. I had some bad luck yesterday in the time trial though. I had a bike change, so that put me out of the GC. Today we had a plan and took the victory home.”
The peloton wasn’t too big anymore at the end, how did you survive in the pack?
“Today I stayed in the front and had five guys of the team to keep me out of the wind. That makes my job a lot easier. I can’t thank the staff and my teammates enough for this week.”
Before this season, you did a lot of racing in Asia. You won a stage at the Tour of Qinghai Lake and the Tour of Quanzhou Bay and took two stages at the Tour of Fuhzou. All of them Chinese races. How do you explain that?
“When you race for an Australian team, you race in Asia. It’s too far off to come to Europe. This is my first European season. Before joining SEG Racing Academy this season, I always raced in Asia. The sprinting there is similar, but the courses are different: more highways and a lot of flat stages.”
How is the public in China?
(laughs) “Crazy, they are big fans. The crowds are massive too, but the cycling culture in Asia is not so big.”
Do they know the names of the riders in the peloton?
“Very few. Maybe the family of a Chinese cyclist, but that’s probably about it.” (laughs)
At the age of 18, you went from the juniors directly to the pro peloton and took part in among others the Herald Sun Tour. Isn’t that too early? You won a professional sprint stage at the age of 18 as well, you seem to be a sprinting version of Evenepoel.
“That’s a big compliment, thanks. I went to St. George Continental Cycling Team. It was a big step, but I think it pays off if you stay positive. I started cycling pretty late too, I stepped into cycling at the age of 15.”
As an Australian in a European team, you’re probably not home often?
“Of course I’m in Europe more than in Australia. I’ve been here since the fourth of January to do the training camps with SEG Racing Academy, and I’ll be here until September or October.”
How do you keep in touch with your friends and family back home?
“Mainly just phone calls and face-time. It will be a big season, but everyone’s very supportive. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Are you aiming for the Tour de l’Avenir this year?
“I’m actually not sure if Australia will have a team there, so I'll have to wait and see.”
What are your next objectives?
“Circuite des Ardennes next week, that’s also a stage race with three stages. These kind of races suit me well, but I'm also looking out for Paris-Roubaix U23.”
Who do you look up to in the peloton?
“I’m a big fan of Michael Matthews, another Australian.”