The Australian Women’s Track Endurance squad escaped the cold Australian winter in June and warmed up with some racing across Europe and the USA.
In Australia’s track off season, recently added members to the Australian team in Macey Stewart and Kristina Clonan headed to the Czech Cup in Brno in June, before being joined by Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson and Alexandra Manly at the French Cup.
The team enjoyed a number of wins across the two weekends of racing, including Manly and Cure in the Madison and Manly in the scratch race. However, the racing was marred by a nasty crash involving Edmondson. Following a few days of recovery in the hospital, Edmondson is now on a managed return her to exercise as she recovers.
“It is great to be together and racing in what is normally peak road season,” said Bartram. "Across both weekends, the racing was fierce and challenging. And the different style tracks definitely challenged the girls."
But last weekend’s French Cup was also a reminder of the risks we take in this sport and the valuable support you need around you,” revealed Bartram, who praised the Cycling Australia performance support staff in Dave Hayes and Doctor Mark Fisher, in addition to Kimberly Wells who assisted via the European Training Centre.
”Following the crash, the riders fantastic as they helped pick up the slack and looked after themselves while was dealing with Nettie in the hospital.
"Also a huge shout out to Nettie’s friend Laura Weislo who stayed with Nettie and me from the ambulance ride to her being discharged, translated and drove us around and pushed the doctors as we needed. I certainly recommend her for any team currently looking for a soigneur or the like!”
On the other side of the world, Georgia Baker and Ashlee Ankudinoff are currently racing in the USA, with the pair each recording two stage wins the Tour of America’s Dairyland.
In July, the pair will fly to Europe to join the rest of the squad in Italy for some more track racing in Fiorenzuola, while Macey and Kristina will also head with a CA squad to the Japan Track Cup for their first look at the 2020 Olympic Velodrome.
After 20 years of success on the world stage, Cycling Australia and bike manufacturer BT are announcing the end of their partnership.
Steve Drake, CEO, Cycling Australia: “There’s a lot to be proud of on both sides. It’s a partnership that has spanned five Olympiads, five Commonwealth Games and 20 World Championships. Many riders have raced their entire careers on a BT bike. A casual glance at the names of riders aboard a BT over the journey is a who’s who of Australian track racing. I’d like to personally thank BT for their efforts and development over the many years of this partnership.”
For Sydney 2000 Olympian Scott McGrory, the BT partnership was just in its early days when he and riding partner Brett Aitken produced the ultimate reward; a gold medal in front of a home crowd.
Scott McGrory: “At the Sydney Olympic Games, Brett Aitken and I had the confidence of knowing we had the best bikes on the velodrome. After the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, we were fortunate to have been gifted our gold medal winning BT's that in my mind sit along with the medals themselves as a symbol of our greatest success.”
BT and Cycling Australia: A snapshot.
Cycling Australia will announce a new equipment partner shortly.
Kask, the official helmet provider to the Australian Cycling Team is offering all Cycling Australia members a great offer on their next purchase of a Kask helmet.
Save 20% on the KASK Aero range: Mistral, Bambino Pro, Infinity
To access the discounts all you need to do is send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org indicating:
You will be immediately contacted by KASK Australia staff.
The promotion ends on 31 August 2018. Colors and sizes are subject to availability
Discover more about KASK and the Aero helmets range at www.kask.com
Just three weeks out from the 2018 Tour de France, Richie Porte (BMC Racing) has claimed his biggest season victory to date, the Tour de Suisse.
Biggest victory of my career!" Porte tweeted.
Porte finished more than a minute clear on the overall standings, sealing the overall victory after the final stage time trial won by his team-mate Stefan Küng.
"It's absolutely incredible. Winning the team time trial and then the guys did such a fantastic job all week and to win this race, it means a lot to me.
“I’m ready for the Tour de France. I did a good race here. I’m not at the top of my form just yet so I am excited for July.”
“Before this race, I hadn’t raced since Tour de Romandie. I was at home for the birth of my son two weeks ago and I’ve only had one night at home with him so, I think it’s great for me to get to go home for a bit of time before a training camp and then hopefully I’ll be better at the Tour de France.”
Otsukaresamadeshita - A Japanese expression with multiple uses and meanings, but usually used when aiming to appreciate or value somebody's hard work.
A phrase that can be said the way of Australian Cycling Team member Steph Morton who, despite a storming 2017/18 summer season which netted triple Commonwealth Games gold, World Championship sprint silver, and three national crowns, has allowed herself little time for celebration or rest.
A week after leaving the Games Village on the Gold Coast in April, the South Australian flew to Japan to contest her second season of the lucrative, invitation-only Japanese Keirin Series.
Morton sat down with us this week to talk about the Japanese racing and cultural experience, what they really get up to during ‘lockdown’, the joy of balancing racing and study, and of course, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which is little more than two years away.
"When you get an invitation, you grab it with both hands."
SPRINTER’S BUCKET LIST: The Series features thousands of registered Japanese riders who are joined by a select few international riders, and as one of the country’s top legalised gambling sports, is highly regulated.
This year I have come in just after the Commonwealth Games, at the back end of my break, so racing this year has been different. I have had to rely more on my tactics and race knowledge rather than my legs.
But even after a small break and off the back of the Games, I have come here in good form. I have completed five races all up, one more than 2017, over the two-month period, and I have grabbed two firsts and two seconds so I am really stoked considering.
But here it is not just about the racing and the money. Even if there wasn’t the prize money involved, it is still a great life experience. We get to race different girls every time, meeting new people, learning new things.
It is not often you get to come to a race and honestly just be able to have fun. Every other race we do there is usually either a selection pending, or you feel you have to perform to justify your position, but here you can enjoy the experience and have fun.
Not that I don’t normally enjoy racing, that’s not what I am saying, it is just different here, it is more relaxed which is quite refreshing.
You still obviously want to win as people are putting money on you to win, but with regards to the stress of international racing, you have a bit more freedom to relax.
It is a great experience, and definitely a bucket list item for a sprinter to get an invite here. When you get an invitation, you grab it with both hands.
"Because you have no technology, you can’t watch funny cat videos on YouTube, but it is quite refreshing."
LOCKDOWN, OLD SCHOOL TECHNOLOGY & SOLITUDE: Riders are placed into lockdown for days prior each race without technology to prevent any race tactics or information from reaching the outside world.
We are usually in lockdown for three days ahead of race day. The first day when you arrive is called Zenken Day, when you do your medical checks, build your bike and have bike inspections.
After that, you get some time to train but as the women only get 20 minutes a day to go on the track, once you’re done with that, you have to pass the time any way you can.
It is tough at first because you have no technology and you can’t watch funny cat videos on YouTube, but it is quite refreshing.
It does deprive you of time you could be studying, getting assignments done, or watching lectures, so I have to be on the ball and planning what readings could I be doing, how could I be making use of my time without technology.
Many of the riders bring old school things like portable DVD players, I didn’t even know they still existed, as you can’t bring anything that has a connection to the outside world. No phones, laptops.
Also, through the translator, we talk to the Japanese girls a lot. Despite the language barrier, we have a really good time in lockdown and learn a lot from each other.
"I actually wish I had started study earlier, but I didn’t realise you could manage study and a cycling career."
MONEY, STUDY AND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: The Japanese Keirin Series affords Morton a rare chance to earn substantial prize money from racing, and allows her to continue her study towards completing her Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University.
Track cycling in general as a sport is quite hard to make money, so it is nice to come over here, even if only for a short time.
We don’t get superannuation, we are paid off of results and performances, One year you might get a result or season and one year you might not, that is just the reality and nature of sport.
The girls racing here for the full season are earning big bucks and good on them. For the rest of us, this is a bit of a security blanket, as money like this can help to set me up for later in life.
But (study) is also a good distraction from the racing. In between training sessions, or if I have a free afternoon I can do something productive rather than watching Netflix.
Yes, it can add a level of complexity studying over here as I had to get my exams papers sent over here and one of the university staff had to sit in for two hours and watch me do my exam.
But I believe that not enough people are doing enough away from cycling, it is easy to get caught up in the moment of cycling.
I actually wish I had started to study earlier, but I didn’t realise you could manage study and a cycling career.
Now, I am just chipping away doing one subject at a time, and I can put in 100% in one subject each semester.
It will take me a while, but when I retire from cycling, I won’t have too much to go.
"As the Games get closer the racing just gets harder, everyone is getting hungrier and getting faster."
TOWARD TOKYO 2020: The 2018/19 season marks the opening of the qualification period for track cycling ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games beginning with the Oceania Championships.
I am looking forward to heading home and getting a really solid block of training in Adelaide with the whole Australian Cycling Team and staff around me.
Sometimes I have been at the indoor track completely all by myself training, so when you’re used to having a full squad of athletes and staff around you at training, you have to motivate yourself, you don’t have your teammates yelling at your during an effort.
I have had a bit of success over the past two years, but we are heading into the finals two years and that is where the ante really steps up.
As the Games get closer the racing just gets harder, everyone is getting hungrier, everyone is getting faster.
But I try not to get too caught up in what has been, and what could be, I have to keep focusing on myself. Which is hard as an athlete, it is hard not to see what others are doing and their results, but you have to block it out and focus on yourself.
And I am really excited for the coming season which will be here before you know it. But I won’t be going into every race expecting to win it, that is not realistic. As sometimes you learn the most when you lose. Getting the win is great but sometimes bot getting the win is also great.
It is going to be a hard slog back in Adelaide, but I am ready for the big push toward Tokyo. Getting out of your comfort zone is the only way you can get better.
As long as I done everything I can do in application to training, recovery and working on what I need to, then I that is all I can do.
To be here racing, and be part of the hype before the Olympic Games, is amazing. We train on the Olympic Velodrome regularly, we have been driven to where the Athletes Village will be, it has been a great privilege.
It makes you realise the Japanese team has a huge advantage, as not often is the Olympic Velodrome built so far in advance from a Games.
It is nice to be able to get some time on the track, get comfortable on it and hopefully if I am there in 2020, it will feel second nature.
Photos courtesy Steph Morton, Girls Keirin, Natasha Hansen, MoreCadence
Australia’s Saya Sakakibara claimed sixth in her first elite career World Championship final at the 2018 UCI BMX World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
An unfortunate incident in final saw the 18-year-old taken out by the bike of American Alise Willoughby who had crashed in front of her as the group made the second turn.
Credibly, Sakakibara got back on her bike and finished the race to take sixth place behind the all Dutch podium of Laura Smulders, Merel Smulders and Judy Baauw.
“I was coming about seventh and was able to do a really good move on the first corner and got myself into fifth but Alise (Willoughby) crashed in front of me and I ran into her bike,” Sakakibara explained.
“That ended things for me but I came away with a sixth which is pretty awesome.
“I was already happy just to be in the final. It’s all a learning experience for me so I’m stoked.”
In the men's, Anthony Dean finished ninth.
The Tokyo 2020 games are now under 800 days away.
Cycling Australia’s (CA) commitment to Olympic and Paralympic Gold medal performances and Athlete Wellbeing continues.
In line with the Cycling Australia High Performance Strategy announced in October 2017, additional athletes will join the Australian Cycling Team in October 2018, as part of the new Podium Potential Track Academy. The Track Academy is a vital part of the elite athlete pathway and one of the cornerstones of the Australian Cycling Team’s long-term strategic plan.
These talented young athletes will train alongside the Podium Athletes, be based in Adelaide, and be provided with resources and support to develop them towards 2024. As well as these longer-term prospects, it is possible that a small number of these athletes will bridge the gap to the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Simon Jones, Cycling Australia’s Performance Director: “Our goal is as clear now as it was when I started. Success at the Olympics in 2020 and 2024 is our goal, and we define ‘success’ as Olympic Gold. Our plan is all about continuing our focussed trajectory to Tokyo and beyond.
“An important element of the team’s balance and make up is to ensure a consistent flow of talent enters into the performance program, and we look forward to welcoming new riders into the Australian Cycling Team later in the year.”
As well as the new athletes set to join the Podium Potential Track Academy later this year, the Australian Cycling Team is also set to welcome three new elite riders:
While the Australian Cycling Team is set to welcome many new riders, with a limited number of Team places available, four athletes will be transitioned out of the Australian Cycling Team system. Those athletes are:
Simon Jones: “It is always difficult to make these tough decisions and it is stressful for all parties in these circumstances. Of course, we recognise and understand it is especially tough for the athlete.
“I want to take this opportunity to recognise the contribution these four athletes have made to the Team and wish them all the best going forward. We will ensure in the short term that they have a support network around them and readily accessible support via our Senior Personal Excellence Advisor Mark Gregory, who is there to guide elite athletes through these complex transitions.
The Australian Cycling Team’s commitment to improving athlete wellbeing is further reflected via a new AIS directorship centred around Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement. CA will seek to engage the new director Matti Clements to develop an even deeper understanding of this critically important piece of the elite athlete success puzzle.
Further, the Australian Cycling Team has appointed Dr Ruth Anderson to the newly created role of Performance Psychologist and Behaviours. Dr Anderson is set to join CA in July. While this role will focus primarily on performance optimisation, Dr Anderson will also be an integral part of the support team that will oversee the implementation of additional athlete wellbeing and engagement tactics.
Finally, Cycling Australia have recruited Dr Paolo Menaspa as Head of Performance Solutions. Dr Menaspa will play a key role in supporting the coaching and performance support team to identify and deliver performance enhancing solutions.
Further depth will be added to the team shortly, with recruitment currently underway for a new Strength and Conditioning Coach and a new Para-cycling Technical Director; a replacement for Peter Day who will be retiring in September after decades of service to Cycling Australia.
Simon Jones: “Ultimately, we believe that our Performance Strategy will continue to deliver an optimum overall makeup of the Team as we strive for excellence at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic, for 2024 and beyond”.
Cycling Australia will shortly publish a full list of Australian Cycling Team Track and Para-cycling Athlete Members.
The Australian Cycling Team has arrived in Azerbaijan for the 2018 UCI BMX (Supercross) World Championships with siblings Saya and Kai Sakakibara (NSW) and 2016 Olympic Games finalist Anthony Dean (SA) confident following their European and World Cup campaigns.
For Saya Sakakibara, her maiden season in the elite ranks has netted triple podium appearances from the first six rounds 2018 World Cup Series, in addition to gold and silver at the European Cup.
“Definitely a great confidence booster coming into the World Championships,” Saya told Cycling Australia after her final training session in the Netherlands. “Heading into this season, being first year elite, I had no expectation of podiums, it was purely to learn and gain experience.
“It's humbling to think I'm up there with the best in the world already competing for spots on the podium.
“Although I may have a little more confidence, I just have to remember what mind set put me in that position in the first place and execute that exactly this weekend.”
Kai Sakakibara, Australia’s leading male rider in ninth on the UCI rankings, has enjoyed a consistent season with three top ten placings in the European Cup, and two at the most recent rounds of the World Cup in May.
“I came into season 2018 with strong expectations, but I have quickly learned it doesn’t get any easier, it is just as competitive as any other year,” said Kai, who with Saya, has based himself in Europe for much of 2018 to increase his exposure to racing.
“It has been fantastic being around this European racing environment week in week out, in the training environment everyday. Getting this experience under my belt and doing the races leading into the Championships has been invaluable,” said Kai, who finished 2017 ranked ninth.
“The fact that I have been able to maintain a high position in the rankings this season, to know I am consistently up there, definitely gives me confidence and a good chance of doing well at the Worlds as well.”
At the six and most recent World Cup in Belgium two weeks ago, Anthony Dean found the podium and is aiming for the final this weekend.
“(My) preparation has been really good leading into the World Championships, I have been down in San Diego getting lots of track time and work done, I’m excited and ready to go,” said Dean.
“Coming off the podium just three weeks ago in Belgium gave me a good push and I’m excited, confident and looking forward to the opportunity to show what I can do come finals Saturday.”
Reigning world champions Corben Sharrah (USA) and Alise Willoughby (USA), plus World Cup leaders Niek Kimmann (NED) and Laura Smulders (NED) will create a challenge the Australians in the battle for the rainbow jersey.
The 2018 UCI BMX World Championships take place from 5-9 June in Baku, Azerbaijan. For more information, visit the official Baku2018 website or watch the live stream.
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Complete Australian Team for 2018 UCI BMX World Championships