WAGGA cyclist Zac Barnhill will use strong results in his first forays overseas as the injection of belief he needed before shooting for a podium finish at the national titles.
After finishing fifth overall in last month's Tour de DMZ in Korea, the 16-year-old won the final stage at last week's Yunca Junior Tour of Southland in New Zealand.
Barnhill will now prepare for the Tour of Bright at the end of November, which will be the main lead in to the national titles at Ballarat in January.
Wagga Cycling Club coach described Barnhill's performance in Korea as "the massive confidence booster he probably needed", and The Riverina Anglican College student agrees.
"I needed to believe in myself, try and be more aggressive and back myself a bit more," he said.
"It definitely was a pretty big confidence booster doing well in those races, that's for sure.
"It's a lot harder racing against all the best riders from other countries. It was a really good learning experience riding as a team and it was good to have guys riding for me as well."
Barnhill was part of a ten strong Australian contingent in New Zealand who worked as a unit despite not competing in an official team capacity.
"The last stage finished with a climb, it was a 100km stage and we went off the front with about 40km to go with two other guys and worked well together," Barnhill said.
"My main goal for the next few months is nationals. I'd really like to get a podium there. I didn't finish at the last nationals, but I'm more confident I can give this one a good crack.
"There's a few Victorians that went well last year. I'm not too sure (who's the one to beat) because I haven't raced them for a while, we'll wait and see."