The Australian Cycling Team is locked and loaded ahead of the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships which begin Thursday 2 August in Maniago, Italy.
The team is littered with some of the biggest names in para-cycling, including seven-time and dual reigning world champion Carol Cooke, Paralympic gold medallist David Nicholas, former world champion Kyle Bridgwood and Alistair Donohoe.
And while it is easy to focus on these names, there have been two riders quietly making names for themselves in households across the country.
South Australian duo Darren Hicks and Meg Lemon announced themselves at the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships when on their debut, they clinched dual silver and dual bronze respectively.
In 2018, they the pair head into the World Championships in form and full of confidence after winning gold at May’s opening round of the UCI Para Road World Cup in Belgium.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard work since Belgium working on both skills and fitness in preparation for these World Champs,” said Lemon, who will contest the women’s C4 road race and time trial from Friday.
“Our coach believes he’s worked as harder than ever, so I’m hoping the hard work will pay off here.”
“I would love to podium again this year at Worlds and the World Cup hoping my form and skills I have worked in will help to improve and move up the step to perhaps silver or gold in the race,” added Lemon. “You never know what will happen race day and how everyone else performs, but it’s all about experience and working towards the next few years and qualifying and hopefully peaking at Tokyo.”
However, while she is clearly focussed on her own race and path to Tokyo, Lemon was quick to point out to others what she believes her teammates are capable of achieving this weekend.
“I’m also so excited to see what my teammates can do. I have a feeling Darren might beat us to the rainbow stripes this year,” Lemon remarked.
For Darren Hicks who will race the men’s C2 road race and time trial, his 2018 season has been almost flawless with dual national titles in January, followed by World Cup gold in May.
“It's been a dream start to the road season, most of my training is in preparation for road competition, so it was great to see all of that pay off in Belgium,” said Hicks, who despite the early season successes, has continued to strive for the marginal gains.
“As far as performance goes my numbers were good in Ostend, but we have worked on a few things since coming home and made some nice gains in a couple of areas.
“After a surprising set of results last year, going backwards and staying stagnant aren't options so that only leaves climbing one step higher on the podium!
“So quite simply, winning is my one and only goal.”
More on the Championships
The Championships will be live streamed via the official Facebook page, with more event information via the official website.
For official start lists and results, visit the UCI website.
2018 Australian Cycling Team - UCI Para Road World Championships
The Australian Cycling Team has arrived in Italy ahead of the 2018 UCI Para Road World Championships to be held from 2-5 August.
The team is together for the first time since May’s opening round of the Para Road World Cup in Belgium where the team grabbed 12 medals, including gold to Carol Cooke, Darren Hicks, Stuart Tripp, Meg Lemon and Kyle Bridgwood. Carol Cooke added to the tally gold and silver at the second round in the Netherlands.
Following the World Cup where he grabbed bronze, dual road world champion Alistair Donohoe opted to spend his final few weeks of preparation in his bedroom. But while it might sound like he was skipping training to catch up on his TV shows, it was all in the name of sport performance.
“For the past three weeks, I’ve had the altitude tent set up in my bedroom,” explained Donohoe, 23, “It’s actually super boring as I had to lock myself in my room for around 14 hours a day (including sleep) and pretend like I was the bubble boy. I became good friends with Netflix!
“I did it not because I’m going to go racing at altitude, but for the physiological benefits of increasing (or trying to) the number of red blood cells in my body.
“The hardest part is the added fatigue effects it has on your body and trying to train at 100% while in the tent can be pretty difficult, you have a few more off days than usual, and your sleep/recovery isn't quite as good, so it's a bit of a balancing act.”
Donohoe’s balancing act has not been confined to the four walls of a hyperbaric chamber, with his season interspersed with Australian team commitments including the Track World Championships, and his debut season with Conti team Mobius BridgeLane.
“The new team Mobius BridgeLane has been awesome so far, a great group of guys and an incredible support network. I'm really enjoying my time with them and every race we enter,” said Donohoe, who raced his debut season in the USA just after winning silver at the UCI Track World Championships in Rio.
“Racing in the USA at the beginning of the year was a great experience too, having raced in Europe and Asia it was nice to get a taste of what the US had to offer, and it was some pretty high-class racing.
“It was tough coming straight off Track World Championships and going into that racing, but it definitely helped my bronze medal performance at the Belgium World Cup in May.”
The 2014 and 2015 road world champion is chasing rainbows next week in Italy and will line up in the road race and time trial from August 2.
“Of course, the goal is to bring home some stripes,” he said. “But it is always hard to know how you're feeling without having any preparation races!
“I've been doing a lot of time trial training the past few weeks and should have faith in the numbers I’m seeing and that they indicate I’m moving pretty well.
“The road race is, of course, my bread and butter event, and I would love more than anything to take that one out and stand on the top step, so we'll see how that goes!”
So after weeks in the bubble, and 20+ hours on the plane, what will Donohoe’s first move be when he arrives in team camp?
“My first few days will mostly involve recovering from the jet lag as fast as possible and settling into the new time zone, then will be tapering into the racing.
“I'll also be trying to acclimatise to the hot weather over there, so I will be utilising a sauna for the first few days to do heat acclimatisation sessions.”
2018 Australian Cycling Team - UCI Para Road World Championships
Reigning world champion Logan Martin stormed to win round three of the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup in Edmonton.
Despite inclement weather forcing the qualifying and semi-final rounds to the same day, Martin was not fazed as he qualified in second on Saturday.
In Sunday's final, Martin was left in fifth overall after suffering a flat tyre during his first run. However, following a quick tyre change, he came back to shred his final run with a sensational 95.00 and take the win ahead of Marin Ranteš and Dennis Enarson.
“It was great to be back in Canada for the third stop of the FISE World Series," said Martin. "The weather played a bit of a factor during qualifying and semis, so my plan was to just stay on my bike and get through the Saturday and focus on Sunday's finals.
"I felt confident going into finals. In my first run, I cased and this caused me to finish the rest of my run with a flat tyre, but after a quick tyre fix, I was ready for my second run.
"At that moment, I felt some pressure because I had only this run left to do exactly what was needed to find the podium.
"But I kept calm and focused on what I needed to do to win. I managed to do exactly what I wanted to do and scored a 95 finishing the contest in first."
The win continues Martin's strong comeback after he missed April's opening round in China following a training crash that broke his collar bone in four places. His comeback race came in the Series' second round in France in May where he grabbed second place.
Martin is eyeing Olympic glory following the IOC's decision to add BMX Freestyle to the programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Visit www.fise.fr or follow FISE for all the World Cup updates.
Australian Cycling Team members Amanda Spratt, Gracie Elvin and Sarah Roy are celebrating after a dominant performance at the most prestigious women’s Tour on the calendar, the Giro Rosa.
The three members of the Australian women's outfit Mitchelton-Scott combined with fellow Aussie Jess Allen, world time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten (NED) and Jolien D’hoore (BEL).
van Vleuten made history by winning the final stage and securing the Tour win for the first time in the team’s seven-year history, while Spratt became the first Australian in 24 years to finish the Tour on the podium.
Spratt, who won stage six, grabbed third on GC and the green points jersey.
“We came here wanting to win the Giro-Rosa as a team and Annemiek has done it and it is really thanks to the entire team. The riders, the staff, everyone has worked so hard for this, it’s giving me goosebumps to see how well we have all worked together," said Spratt.
Following last month’s racing in France and the Czech Republic, members of the Australian Track team headed to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Velodrome in Izu for Japan Track Cup.
The Cup featured two carnivals over three days, and for many of the team, it was their first hit out on the boards since the Commonwealth Games which netted 19 medals including ten gold
Three months on from their stunning and the stunning sub 3:50 team pursuit world record ride, Sam Welsford and Kelland O’Brien partnered across the two days in the Madison.
With their bikes delayed in transit, they were unable to find their feet early in the first race finishing with bronze. However, on the third day of competition, the pair treated the crowd to a classy display of Madison riding, controlling the race from start to the finish and doubling their nearest rivals on the points tally.
In other events, Welsford won the omnium, while fresh from their European schedule, Macey Stewart and Kristina Clonan grabbed silver and bronze in their two Madison appearances.
“Great to see them in action again even though they are just beginning to start their training again over the last few weeks,” said Senior Men's Track Endurance Coach Tim Decker.
“We will start to build slowly from here with the team towards the beginning of the World Cup season.”
The sprint team enjoyed the podium across the three days, with Kaarle McCulloch winning the keirin and sprint bronze on day one.
Pat Constable bagged keirin bronze in a strong field on day two, while Jacob Schmid collected two top-five results in the sprint.
“It was a great trip to start the season after a good break following the Comm Games,” said National Senior Track Sprint Coach Nick Flyger.
“It was good for the sprinters to check out the 2020 velodrome, and we were able to focus on the processes and applying the skills and tactics we had been working on since the Games.
“For the squad, it was nice to also catch up and train with Matt Glaetzer while he is competing in the Japan Keirins.”
The squads will be back in action on home soil at the 2019 Oceania Track Championships in Adelaide from 10-13 October.
Visit morecadence.jp for more on the Japan Track Cup.
2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and triple World Championship medallist Katrin Garfoot, 36, has officially announced her retirement from cycling today.
“I am content with my journey over the past few years. I thank everyone involved and everyone who supported me,” said Garfoot.
German-born Garfoot began competitive cycling in 2011 at the age of 29 after being encouraged by her husband Chris to purchase a three-race license with the Gold Coast Cycling Club.
Garfoot enjoyed immediate success on the local circuit before dominating Australia’s domestic scene in 2013, claiming overall honours in the Cycling Australia National Road Series.
The World Tour beckoned, with Garfoot joining the Orica/AIS team in 2014 where she amassed a number of World Tour podium appearances in her debut season.
After officially becoming an Australian citizen in 2013, Garfoot made her Australian team debut at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games where she won time trial bronze.
At the UCI Road World Championships, Garfoot rewrote the Australian cycling history books, firstly by becoming the first Australian woman in history to win two medals in one event after claiming back-to-back time trial bronze in 2016 and 2017.
At the 2017 World Championships, Garfoot’s road race silver saw her become just the second Australian woman after Anna Wilson to claim dual medals in the same year.
In the history of the Road World Championships, Garfoot stands with Michael Rogers as the only two riders to claim three medals for Australia.
Garfoot made her Olympic debut at the 2016 Games in Rio and, after having come down with a badly timed flu in the lead up to the event, she finished as the highest placed Australian in ninth in the time trial, while also contesting a brutal women’s road race.
In 2018, Garfoot claimed her third consecutive time trial national title at the FedUni Road National Championships to take her career tally to four after storming to the 2017 road crown.
In her final professional cycling event raced in her hometown, Garfoot claimed Commonwealth Games gold with an emphatic victory in the time trial.
“After the Commonwealth Games I wanted to see if life swept me up and it sort of has. I did not feel like training anymore,” revealed Garfoot.
“My cycling career was an intense time for me and now I want to enjoy life with my friends and family.
“A lot of people asked me "what comes next for you". I am not certain of what that is, but I am taking my time to mull over some ideas and see what comes of it.”
Cycling Australia CEO Steve Drake paid tribute to Garfoot.
“From her first race with her local club to the absolute pinnacle representing her adopted country at the Olympic and World Championships, Kat has had an amazing cycling journey.
“While Kat’s international results are worthy of high praise, it is her passion, dedication and commitment to excellence that will be her lasting legacy.
“Kat is clearly a gifted athlete, but she has also provided a great example to women that it is never too late to try competitive cycling.
“We wish Kat all the best in the next chapter of her life and we hope to see her around a bike race very soon.”
Katrin Garfoot Career Highlights
Photos credit John Veage, Casey Gibson, Con Chronis, Tim Bardsley-Smith.
In a repeat of May's opening round of the UCI Para Road World Cup, Carol Cooke claimed gold and silver at round two in the Netherlands.
Cooke prevailed in the time trial by more than thirty seconds over of Jill Walsh (USA), before her US rival turned the tables to win the road race. The pair are now tied on the UCI Rankings.
"I'm very happy with how I rode both races at this second World Cup," said Cooke, who revealed she is starting to reap the benefits of long hours in the saddle in a new time trial racing position. "For the first time I felt really comfortable in that position and it is obviously helping as I won by a fairly good margin.
"I still have some work to do on my road race, however, the dynamics of the race were different because we were racing alongside the men. So that will change at the World Championships when we are riding our own race."
Cooke will now head to the Australian Institute of Sport European Training Centre (ETC) in Italy for targeted individual sessions, before the dual reigning and seven-time world champion joins the entire Australian team ahead of the Para Road World Championships which begin August 2.
"I'm looking forward to training at the ETC, it will help me acclimatise to the heat in Italy and help me focus solely on what I am here to do," Cooke added. "But I think one of the most important things is that I will be doing some specific sprint training in the next four weeks. My last two World Cup Road Races have come down to the final sprint and as history has shown Jill has got me on both of those."
"I'm looking forward to Worlds and looking forward to being back with the team. Obviously, my goal is to hold on to both my World Championship jerseys and I am feeling very fit and confident that I can do it."
Read more about Carol here.
2018 has been stellar to date for Sydney's Kaarle McCulloch with dual Commonwealth Games gold, plus silver and bronze, a thirteenth national title, and a host of new personal best times across the boards.
On the eve of her departure to July's Japan Track Cup, McCulloch chatted with us about her memorable week at the Games, hitting the mountain bike trails, partnering with Steph Morton and the fire that burns for a second Olympic Games appearance.
"I guess the thing that stands out the most that most people never realise is how nervous I was ALL day."
GOLD COAST GOLD: What a week for at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with four podiums from four events including individual & team gold!
I’ve dreamt my entire career to stand on top of the podium on my own at an event like the Commonwealth Games. I love the team sprint and it holds something very special to me, but to win the time trial and to be able to say I did that all on my own was very special.
The thing that stands out the most that most people never realise is how nervous I was ALL day. I really sincerely believe that if you’re not nervous you can’t do exceptional things and I was able to turn all those nerves into something really special.
I had already raced the event in my mind so many times before without outcome and so the ride itself was one of those ‘dream moments’ that you don’t get very often in your career. I can really only say I have had that kind of moment three or so times my career and they have mostly all come at critical times like in 2009 when Anna and I won our first World Title together.
When I crossed the line and saw 33.5, I was so happy because my goal was to ride 33.5. Also, when I saw Steph rode 33.6 I was so happy for her because that was a huge PB for her but I also knew that if I nailed it that I was capable of winning.
Some of the memorable moments of that night were when Steph came to congratulate me, I felt an honest and genuine connection with her in that moment and I think it speaks loads about our camaraderie. I was also able to go and hug my family who has known my aspirations and I really felt like they won that night.
"It has been a hard slog since getting back into it, as all offseason training is especially in the cold, but its the necessary evil of what we do, you have to hurt if you want to win."
VETERAN MOVE: When taking a post-Games break means hopping on a mountain bike!
I have learnt that it is so important to take a proper break after big events. As a team, we were allowed two weeks off at Gold Coast 2018- which included the second week in the Games Village after our racing finished and isn’t much of a break!
So when we were told to get back into some easy work two weeks after, I wasn’t quite ready and instead I let myself be inspired to get back on again. This didn’t take long though because…I bought a mountain bike! I have since been thoroughly enjoying being truly out with nature and just doing something so different.
I was able to spend time with my family and my boyfriend and I felt like my batteries were recharged when I did go back to Adelaide four weeks after the games. Since then its been a hard slog as all offseason training is, especially in the cold but its the necessary evil of what we do, you have to hurt if you want to win.
"I have been able to watch Steph grow every year and that makes me glad she is on my team and no one else’s!"
NEW PARTNERSHIP: McCulloch, a three-time team sprint world champion & 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, is firing with new partner Steph Morton.
I am really so excited for the Team Sprint! Steph and I have already been a force to be reckoned with but in all honesty, we haven’t really spent that much time working together. So now that I have moved to Adelaide I feel like we can go a step further in our partnership.
I am also just so proud of Steph. When she first came into this program in 2013, she was so raw and didn’t realise her talent. But I see her grow every year and she is starting to believe in her potential and I guess that makes me glad she is on my team and no one else’s!
But I think for myself also I just see improvement every day and I am glad I got through the rough times I went through because I feel like I am on the other side now and really pushing that last bit up to the summit of Mount Everest.
"It is a scary prospect of what it will take to win, but then you see the plan and the steps to get there you start to realise that it is very possible."
NO STONE UNTURNED: McCulloch knows what it will take to get to Tokyo 2020.
Tokyo is my big goal. The Commonwealth Games gave me the realisation that the sky is the limit. I feel such potential and energy, like when I was preparing for the London Olympics when I super focused and really balanced in all aspects of my life.
I also have a plan now through to Tokyo as set by my support team down in Adelaide, and when you can see your plan it is a scary prospect of what it will take to win, but then you see there are steps to get there, you start to realise that it is very possible.
I know what it takes to win, I know what it feels like to step out on to an Olympic Velodrome and I have been the best in the world.
So for me really it is about enjoying the next 766 days, working hard, believing in my plan and my team and building on the momentum that Steph and I have and putting that into a result on race day.
Kaarle will race the Japan Cup in July before heading back to Australia for Adelaide’s Oceania Championship in October and the 2018/19 World Cup season.
Photos © Tim Bardsley-Smith / Casey Gibson
Dual reigning world champion Carol Cooke will warm up for her title defence at the second round of the UCI Para World Cup in the Netherlands this weekend.
Cooke, who claimed gold and silver at the first round of the World Cup in Belgium in May, will race the TT on Friday and the Road Race on Saturday (6pm/530pm AEST).
“I’m looking forward to racing here, I had great races here last year, winning both the Road Race and TT, so I am hoping to do the same thing again this year,” said Cooke, who will line up in a small, but strong field, which includes Jill Walsh (USA) and Marie-Eve Croteau (CAN).
“At this point, I am probably at the fittest level I have ever been (especially in the gym) and I’m feeling good leading into these races next week.”
It has been a successful start to the 2018 season, and the qualification process towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, for the for the Australian Para-cycling Team with twelve medals, including six gold at May’s World Cup.
Following the Championships, Cooke will head to the Australian Institute of Sport base in Italy before later joining the entire Australian team ahead of the Para Road World Championships which begin August 2.
Follow Carol at the UCI Para World Cup in the Netherlands via the official website or via the UCI.
Canadian based Argon 18 and Cycling Australia have signed a contract to the end of 2020 to supply bikes to the elite Australian Cycling Team track squad.
With the stated goal of gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in mind, Cycling Australia undertook a review in 2017 that encompassed all aspects of the team’s performances and sought improvements in all areas including athlete welfare, coaching support and technology.
Simon Jones, Performance Director, Australian Cycling Team: “This partnership with Argon 18 is really exciting for the Australian Cycling Team, and fits perfectly with our stated direction and ambition for ongoing world-class success in the future. We felt as a team we needed to seek new and innovative technology solutions.
“We conducted a thorough worldwide search and carefully considered our options. We knew this was a big decision and we gave it a massive amount of thought and research. We’re taking a broader approach to how we produce results and Argon 18 are our partner. This is more than ‘just the bikes’; this is partnership with shared goals.”
For Argon 18, it’s an opportunity to join with one of the powerhouses of global cycling and work in a truly collaborative manner towards a shared and stated goal: Olympic success.
Martin Faubert, R&D Director, Argon 18: “Our partnership with Cycling Australia for Tokyo 2020 will see us fully utilise Argon 18’s engineering prowess and cutting-edge technical expertise. Working in collaboration with Cycling Australia our goals are precise, and we target nothing less than the fastest bike in the world. We’re already hard at work with their engineers and mechanics and we want to bring home Olympic gold as much as they do.”
Gervais Rioux, CEO & Founder Argon 18: “We’re totally thrilled that Cycling Australia have partnered with the team here at Argon 18. Even though track cycling is a niche market in the cycling industry, we at Argon 18 think it is important that we establish ourselves as the leader in the sport, with the best products and be number one in track cycling. Partnering with a clearly results driven team will allow us to bring new technology and our deeper aerodynamic knowledge to future products. Look for some surprising results in Tokyo 2020.”
The first bikes have been delivered to the Australian Cycling Team’s headquarters in Adelaide with a complete roll out in the coming months.