WAGGA Cycling Club's Zac Barnhill says saving energy to give himself a better chance at launching in the sprint was his biggest lesson after finishing a strong eighth in the National Road Championships under-19 race at Ballarat on Saturday.
Competing in the race for the first time, Barnhill did plenty of the leg work up front and couldn't summon the reserves to go with the rest of the lead pack.
Barnhill finished nine seconds behind winner Declan Tresize to continue a promising few months for the 17 year old.
"I was happy (with how I went) but there's always next year to get a better result," Barnhill said.
"I dropped off a bit at the front then had to chase. I guess the lesson was don't be as aggressive at the front until a bit later in the race, so I have a little bit more energy at the end to actually have a crack.
"I was at the front a lot. It's easy to get pretty excited in the moment and go a bit too hard, it's a learning experience."
Riding for Nero Continetal for the first time, Tolland Cycling Club's Myles Stewart was 22nd across the line in the under-23 road race, while Wagga Cycling Club's Stuart Darling did not finish.
Tolland Cycling Club's Rebel Brooker finished 12th in the women's under-19 criterium, 1:05 minutes behind winner Haylee Fuller (51:30).
The next major event for local riders is the Oceania Championships at Tasmania in March.