SHE prefers the track, but Wagga cyclist Rebel Brooker will head to this month's National Road Championships in Ballarat full of confidence after upstaging older rivals at Victoria's four-day Christmas carnival.
The 16-year-old claimed the omnium title after a string of consistent results across the four days of competition at Castlemaine, Bendigo and Melbourne.
She capped a memorable week by outgunning the men in the C grade final at Melbourne's DISC Velodrome, as well as claiming gold in the Victorian elite women's scratch championships.
Brooker outlasted competitors several years her senior in the 30 lap, 7.5km event.
"It was my first gold medal in Victoria, so it was pretty good to get that under the belt," she said.
"It (Victorian championship) was in the middle of the carnival and my legs were starting to get a bit sore, but I knew I just had to do the best I can and happened to win," she said.
"There was a lot of pretty good riders in the race and it came down to the sprint, it could have been anyone's race."
The results continue a breakout year for Brooker, who also won bronze in November's Clarence St Cup final in Sydney and finished fourth in the women's division of Wagga's Golden Wheel.
Another highlight was her third-place finish in the omnium at the state championships, an event she plans to target for the foreseeable future.
Brooker will compete in the under-19 criterium event at the Road Nationals, which get underway in Ballarat on January 8.
Wagga will be strongly represented in the blue riband under-19 men's road race, with Brooker's Tolland clubmate Myles Stewart and Wagga Cycling Club's Zac Barnhill both considered very strong podium hopes.
"I'm more of a track rider I think, but I'm only doing the crit which is not a hilly course," she said.
"I wouldn't say I'm the best at hills, so it should be alright.
"A podium would be really god but I'll just do my best."
Brooker took the opportunity to get some tips off more experienced riders at the Victorian Christmas Carnival, and has been training with former Sydney rider Lara Batkin since her move to Wagga.
"I've been racing most of them for a while now and that's been good for my development," Brooker said.
"It will give me more experience because the older riders teach you how to ride a lot better as well.
"We (Brooker and Batkin) train together a lot so that's pretty good. She's only just getting back into it and hasn't been riding as long, but she did well in the carnivals too."
Brooker's next big target after the national road championships is the state track championships at Sydney in February, where she will look to book a spot on the NSW team to race in March's national championships in Brisbane.
"Hopefully I do well at states, I'll be looking to secure a few place finishes so I can get selection for nationals," she said.