2018 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships | Rio De Janeiro | 22-25 March 2018
The Australian Cycling Team’s journey towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games begins this Thursday in Rio at the 2018 UCI Para-cyclingTrack World Championships.
From March 22-25, the Championships offers the first vital opportunity for nations to grab valuable qualification points towards Tokyo 2020, with the 16-rider Australian team to vie against 200 of the world’s best from 30 countries.
It will also be a return to the velodrome for many of our 2016 Paralympic heroes, in particular reigning world champions David Nicholas (QLD) and Amanda Reid (NSW).
“I think everyone has travelled quite well over to Rio from Australia, still getting over a bit of jetlag as expected, but everything is looking good so far for some good performances,” said Nicholas, who claimed 2016 Paralympic gold in in the individual pursuit and will be aiming for a strong performance in his world title defence.
“Being back here in Rio at the Velodrome where I won gold two years ago feels amazing, first hit out on track was great.
“Certainly will try to defend my title, but if I do a great performance that I know I can do, I will be happy and the result will be what it will be.”
Dual reigning world champion Reid is eager to get the competition underway after completing a week of training on the track.
“Felt great to be back here on these boards again after 2016, spending time getting used to the slightly different shape of the track again before ramping up the training as the week progressed,” added Reid, who announced herself in 2017 with rainbow jerseys in both the time trial and individual pursuit.
“I'm feeling really more and more excited about the competition as we get closer to it.
“I'm confident about my chances of retaining my world crown in the 500 time trial which is my main goal, and I'm also looking for a personal best in the individual pursuit.”
The Championships begin what will be a busy two weeks for 2016 world champions and Paralympic bronze medallists Jessica Gallagher (VIC) and Pilot Madison Janssen (VIC), with the pair also set to represent Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“Personally, Maddie and I are really excited to race, we have a busy few weeks ahead with the back up straight into the Commonwealth Games, so managing our training loads and taper has been incredibly important,” said Gallagher. The pair will contest the Tandem time trial and sprint at both the World Championships and the Games.
“We are riding fast and with good race conditions anticipated we have high expectations particularly in the sprint. It's safe to say the entire team are all ready to get out there and race!'”
Similarly in the men's Tandem, Brad Henderson (SA) and Thomas Clarke (SA-Pilot) will fine-tune their Games preparation at the Worlds.
“This is a really good chance for Tom and I to have some international race experience in a strong field before the Commonwealth Games,” said Henderson. “We are aiming to execute everything we’ve been doing in training, come out with some personal bests and see how we compare amongst the worlds best.”
The team also features reigning world champion Simone Kennedy (NSW), plus 2016 Paralympic Games silver medallists Alistair Donohoe (VIC) and Kyle Bridgwood (QLD).
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Two final day medals wrapped up the Australian Cycling Team’s 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships campaign in the Netherlands, with the team's six medals equalling Germany, Great Britain and Italy for second most behind hosts the Netherlands (12 medals).
Each of the four members of the team celebrated on the podium during the Championships, with sizzling wins from Matt Glaetzer (sprint) and Cameron Meyer (points race) highlighting the performances.
Stephanie Morton (sprint) and Glaetzer (time trial) claimed silver, while Callum Scotson bookended his Championships with bronze medals in the scratch and in the Madison with Meyer.
Dual Madison world champion Cameron Meyer teamed with Callum Scotson to ensure Australia finished on the podium for the second straight year with the pair taking bronze in a punishing men’s Madison.
“To be on the podium in a Madison world championships isn’t an easy to do, it is one of the hardest events to back up a win, even just to back up a podium appearance,” said Meyer after claiming his sixth World Championship Madison medal.
“So for us to be consistent two years in a row, last year with silver and this year with bronze, it is another step in the right direction and it shows that we are around the mark.”
The major contenders kept their cards close to their chests in the opening laps of the 200-lap race, with Belgium, Spain, France and Italy figuring prominently in the first five sprints.
The first major move of the day came from Austria, with the duo of Andreas Graf and Andrew Muller taking a lap, and the twenty points, to move into the lead (30points) after fifty laps.
A deliberate move from Meyer and Scotson at the halfway mark saw them pounce on a lull in the action to claim two straight sprint maximums, and a lap on the field, which catapulted them into the joint lead with Austria on 30pts.
With 70 laps remaining, Germany’s Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt and Spain’s Albert Torres Barcelo and Sebastian Mora Vedri rocketed into the top two positions on 40 and 31 points respectively after taking a lap.
With the race beginning to splinter as the pace hovered at an excruciating pace just shy of sixty kilometres an hour, Australia and Belgium joined forces in the hunt at the front for a lap on the field. However sensing the imminent danger, the Germans and Spanish duos nullified any notion of an attack by keeping the teams within a bike length’s distance.
In a classy finish to their masterful race, Germany won two of the final four sprints to to all but secure their victory heading into the final sprint on 53points.
In an pulsating final few laps, Australia held off a late surge by Great Britain to hold onto bronze (37pts), just eight points behind Spain (45pts) who grabbed the silver medal.
“It was quick out there again tonight, there was a bit of a stand off in the first half of the race, all the favourites didn’t want to move too early knowing it was going to be a tough end to the race,” said Meyer. “We saw an opportunity and went for it.
“The actual moment to win the world title was there, we saw it, but unfortunately we didn’t quite have the legs. But Germany was super strong, so was Spain.”
With the Madison back on the program for Tokyo 2020, the bronze continues the pair’s strong campaign towards Olympic glory. Their season also including winning the prestigious London Six Day last October and Madison gold at the UCI World Cup in Poland in November.
“I think the bigger thing for us in that we are consistently on the podium, we are the most consistent country which is not easy in this event,” said Scotson, who won scratch bronze on day two.
“You always feel disappointed straight after a race, but I am sure we are going to take some really good points out of this race and hopefully we can edge closer to the top of the podium as we get closer to Tokyo,” who reflected on his and the team’s performance at the Championships.
“To achieve two medals myself, and our team here, everyone worked together well and the results showed how good the culture was over here.
“It is quite impressive for us to pull off so many medals for just the four of us. We are all really happy.”
Less than twenty-four hours after claiming his maiden sprint world title, Matthew Glaetzer was back on track with an eye on the time trial podium.
In November, Glaetzer became the first person to ride under one minute in the kilometre time trial at sea level with a sizzling 59.970secs ride at the World Cup in Manchester. The powerful South Australian then eclipsed this time with a scorching 59.759secs at the National Championships in Brisbane.
On the final day of the World Championships in Apeldoorn, Glaetzer rocketed to two blistering times to beat his world mark (59.733 in qualifying and 59.745 in the final).
However, this was good for silver in the event with Dutch hero Jeffrey Hoogland riding a wave of parochial hometown support to gold with two sizzling times to set a new world-mark (59.517, 59.459).
Australian Cycling Team #AusCyclingTeam
Photo Casey Gibson
Cycling Australia (CA) is proud to announce the Australian Cycling Team. The name ‘Australian Cycling Team’ will now be used to encompass the national squad athletes, coaches and performance support staff, previously branded the CA High Performance Unit, or HPU.
The 55-strong group of Olympic and Paralympic cycling discipline athletes will receive program support for Track and Para, and Individual Athlete Performance Support (IAPS) for Road and BMX, and form the core group from which CA launches its Tokyo 2020 attack.
Meet the Athletes: Track | Road | BMX | Para-cycling
Athletes named in the Australian Cycling Team have achieved, or have the potential to achieve, success at the highest level and are acknowledged and supported under the Australian Sports Commission’s athlete categorisation guidelines as Podium Potential or above. Specifically, the team consists of 22 Track athletes, 15 Para (Track & Road), 13 Road and five BMX athletes (4 Super-cross and 1 Freestyle), with an Olympic and Paralympic event focus.
CA’s Performance Director, Simon Jones, said that the new name (Australian Cycling Team) explains more simply what we are, and what we are about, and provides a clear destination for those further down the athlete pathway to aspire towards.
“The Australian Cycling Team is a group of world-class athletes who have achieved success at the highest level, or who are on their way, with huge potential. Being part of the team means that they will be supported with the best possible coaching and performance support they need to achieve their goals.
“Underpinning the team is our national high performance network of state institutes and state bodies, which will continue to play a key role in the athlete pathway by identifying and supporting a further 74 Emerging and Developing international athletes with the objective of preparing them for a successful progression into the Australian Cycling Team, based at the Adelaide Super-drome.”
Athletes in the Australian Cycling Team may receive a range of individualised performance support services, such as:
Athletes can also receive financial support from the AOC Medal Incentive Fund, which is performance-based funding following podium performances in Olympic disciplines at identified benchmark competitions
Jones said it was important to note that inclusion in the Australian Cycling Team does not provide automatic selection to World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Olympic or Paralympic teams.
“Those opportunities still have to be earned, according to the respective discipline selection criteria” Jones said.
“We want a supportive yet challenging environment that sees athletes reaching their potential and achieving their goals and dreams. We want a system that provides upward pressure for limited places in the Podium categories from the athlete pathway which is supported by our state institutes and state sporting body partners that make up the High Performance Network, and by BMXA and MTBA.
The new Australian Cycling Team provides a clear destination for the Emerging and Developing athletes in the high performance network to aspire to be part of the next generation of champions.
The announcement of the team has been supported by the release of a number of new documents and collateral, and a dedicated Australian Cycling Team website.
The Performance 1st summary sets out the team’s gold medal targets, and the performance and operational support that the athletes will have access to.
The Australian Cycling Team High Performance Plan provides a one-page summary of the key elements of the Australian Cycling Team Strategy 2020 – 24, delivered by Simon Jones in October 2017. A dedicated website features profiles of the selected athletes along with updated Australian Cycling Team Discipline Specific Selection Criteria for all the key events of the year, including timelines for selection period, appeals process and team announcements.
CA’s Australian Cycling Team Strategy 2020 – 24 prioritises resources into Olympic and Paralympic cycling events and athletes with the desire and capability to perform at a world-class level. Aside from any funding or investment obligations, the Olympics and Paralympics are the world’s biggest multi-sport events and give us the chance to inspire and capture the imagination of a huge audience, including the future stars of our sport.