JAMES Robinson's year-long quest to become a national champion has ended in an emotional gold medal.
Twelve months after an impressive performance in his first under-17 individual pursuit, the Prospect teenager returned to win it.
``Last year I wasn't far off the winner and a lot of people said that was very good for that age,'' Robinson said after winning the 2000-metre Australian title at Adelaide's Superdrome.
``I sat down with my brother Tom after I got home last year and said this is what I wanted and he said `you've got the engine and skill to do this if you work hard enough'.
``I thought this year I wanted to be on top of the podium and I've been training all year for that.
``It's been a few years training for an Australian title so I'm delighted to get one.''
With parents Penny and David watching, the 15-year-old Prospect High student qualified fastest for the final in which he briefly trailed South Australian Rohan Wight before storming home to win by 1.6 seconds in 2:21.893 at a speed of 50.74kmh.
The medal was particularly satisfying as it came 24 hours after Robinson had been a member of the Tasmanian quartet which narrowly missed bronze in the team pursuit.
``I had Tasmanian coach Mark Matthews riding me to schedule and I was down by 0.5 seconds but knew I had plenty left in the tank. With four laps to go I switched on the afterburners, brought it home and was just so happy when Mark said I had the lead.
``When I crossed the line I'd won by a second or two and it was just a dream come true.
``It was quite thrilling to stand on top of the podium as a national champion for the first time. It makes all that hard training worthwhile.''
Coached by Jamie Perry, Robinson said he did a lot of road racing and time trial training last year before racing the national junior track series in Sydney, Perth and Launceston followed by the Christmas carnivals.
``Jamie's been with me for four years and this is something we've always wanted to achieve and in my final year of junior track racing I've been able to repay his time and effort,'' he said.
Robinson also wasted little time phoning his brother, Tom, back in Launceston.
``He was pretty stoked,'' Tom said.
``The individual pursuit has been a big project for him all year. From the moment he got home 12 months ago he went to work on it and for 365 days he's been building up to this and it's been pretty incredible to watch his single-mindedness and tunnel vision towards that goal.
``I also spoke to him on the morning of the race and he was ready to go. After missing bronze in the team pursuit by half a second that got the fire in his belly and he even wrote on Facebook `Today's the day'.''
The victory comes almost exactly three years after older brother Will was killed in a training accident, and he was inevitably in James's thoughts
``I'd like to think I've made him proud,'' he said.
A Launceston City Cycling Club member, James said his cycling goals were focused on pursuit racing.
``I want to go down that track, hopefully make it into the Australian team for junior track worlds, maybe get into the AIS program and then the Olympic team so I have big aspirations that way.''
Tasmanian Institute of Sport coach Ron Bryan heaped praise on Robinson's performance.
``It was a great ride to hold his time for the first kilometre and then bring it home, that's what you look for in a pursuit rider,'' he said.
``He did not panic when the other guy went out quick and when he went hard he pulled it back quite easily. He rode it beautifully and shows a lot of promise for the future.''