2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ashlee Ankudinoff has returned to Australia eager to contest her first race since the April’s Games, the National Road Series Tour of King Valley from 31 August.
In April at the Anna Meares Velodrome, Ankudinoff, along with Annette Edmondson, Amy Cure and Alexandra Manly soared to team pursuit gold, smashing New Zealand by nearly ten seconds in a time that would have won the 2018 World Championships.
“It’s a moment I will never forget,” reflected Ankudinoff, who also boasts two world titles in the team format. “Racing in front of family, friends and a home crowd is something you dream of. I was fortunate to live my dream that night, standing on that top step, singing the national anthem with my three teammates.”
Ankudinoff was also critical in the team’s second Commonwealth Games gold which saw an emphatic scratch race win by Cure in a brilliant display of team racing.
“I can’t forget the scratch race. This is another moment that I will never forget when I look back at my career. I didn’t win the gold medal, but I certainly felt like I did. Amy, Nettie and I had a plan going into that race and for it to come together on race day is something incredible. It was such a rewarding feeling for me knowing that I had contributed to Amy’s gold.
Following the Games, Ankudinoff enjoyed a well earned three-week Hawaiian holiday with her partner Jack before hopping back on a plane to the USA mainland for the summer criterium series where she picked up wins in the Tour of America’s Dairyland series.
“I decided I would have quite a bit of time off the bike because if all goes to plan, I won’t be having much time off over the next two years heading into the Olympic Games,” Ankudinoff said. “It was such a long build up to 2018 Commonwealth Games, and we did put a lot of emphasis on peaking for this event, so it was great to switch off both mentally and physically.
“We made a lot of sacrifices last season by not doing any World Cups and no World Championships, but I do think it was the best thing, you could see by our time, it is positive heading into the next two years.”
Ankudinoff’s focus over the next two years is firmly set on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She will rejoin the new look women’s track endurance squad in Adelaide this month along with Edmondson, Cure and Manly, Georgia Baker plus Tassie’s Macey Stewart and Queensland’s Kristina Clonan who joined the program mid-year.
“I think both Kristina and Macey are great inclusions into the women's track endurance Team. I really look forward to training with them over the next few years,” said Ankudinoff. “We all know there is a lot of hard work ahead of us between now and then.
“We now have a team of seven, and of course seven doesn’t go into four, but I think with the team we have now along with an excellent training/support environment that is based out of Adelaide to do something special in two years time.
“All eyes are on Tokyo and that Olympic Gold medal.”
Ankudinoff will line up for Specialized Women’s Racing in the National Road Series Tour of King Valley event from August 31 - 2 September, followed by Amy’s Otway Tour on 15/16 September.
Following this, Ankudinoff will contest the 2018 Oceania Track Championships in Adelaide from 10-13 October.