Australian Para-cycling duo Jessica Gallagher and Pilot Madison Janssen will fine-tune their final preparations for the 2019 Track World Championships at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland after the pair received an invitation to attend the International Training Camp.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to train in a new environment and experience the high-performance centre,” said Gallagher. “We are looking forward to training alongside and learning from the international riders and in particular tandems as we don’t get to experience this in our daily training environment in Australia.
“The centre encompasses all the facilities an athlete needs which will allow us to focus on our final preparations and being based in the Swiss Alps, we think it will have some pretty nice views too!”
The trip will provide another opportunity for Janssen to hone her skills in the specialised Pilot role and the Victorian is aiming to absorb as much as possible across the two-week camp.
“I have been blessed to have some great coaches in the past such as Jason Niblett and Alex Bird and currently I have been under the watchful eye of one of the best sprint coaches Shane Kelly,” Janssen explained. “So for me, it will be taking in how others coach a tandem, and it will be nice to pick up some new things and bring them back home.”
The duo won dual silver at the 2018 World Championships in Rio, and are chasing their own personal best in Apeldoorn while watching for the strong British outfit.
“Coming off two second places at both the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games in 2018 we are looking to bridge the gap between us and Great Britain who took home all four gold in 2018 (in World Record times),” said Gallagher, “While also knowing there are some teams hot on our heels, so it’s going to be a tight competition!
“Personal best performances will put us in strong contention.”
Janssen is confident the team can deliver following a solid build up in Australia prior to the camp.
“I think for us as a pairing; it is an excellent opportunity to nail everything that we have worked on over the past few months,” said Janssen. “And if we execute these things then I can see us achieving our goals, any time less than previous is one step closer to the top step.”
Gallagher is also excited about a new opportunity to race in the Tandem team sprint which will be held for the first time at the 2019 World Championships.
“While it is an exhibition event this year we are excited the UCI is acknowledging the incredible spectator events that tandem sprint racing is and giving us the opportunity to show it to the World in the hope that it may become a Paralympic event in the future. “
Gallagher and Janssen will depart Switzerland on March 10 to join the Australian team in Apeldoorn for the Championships which will be the first Paralympic qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“It’s exciting to think of the big 18 months ahead, Tokyo is firmly in sight, and with the World Champs being the first qualification opportunity, the whole Australian team is focused on putting their best foot forward,” Gallagher added.
The 2019 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships will be held in the Netherlands from 14-17 March and offers valuable qualification points towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with the Australian team to vie against 200 of the world’s best from 30 countries. Website.
Para-cyclist Bradley Henderson and Pilot Thomas Clarke picked up the bronze medal in the men’s Tandem Sprint, their second bronze of the game.
Jessica Gallagher and pilot Maddison Janssen finished second in the women's Tandem 1 B&VI 1000m time trial.
The Australian Cycling Team has celebrated ten medals at the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Rio, fourth most by any nation behind Great Britain, Netherlands and China.
Highlighting the four days of competition for the green and gold was a world title defence by David Nicholas (QLD), and a world record and two medals to debutant Emily Petricola (VIC), plus dual silver to the Tandem pairing of Jessica Gallagher and Maddie Janssen.
The Championships also offered the first vital opportunity for nations to grab valuable qualification points towards Tokyo 2020, with the 16-rider Australian team featuring among 200 of the world’s best from 30 countries. Complete results.
Summary of medallists
Reigning Paralympic and world champion David Nicholas (QLD) surged to defend his C3 individual pursuit world title on the opening day, clocking the fastest time during Thursday afternoon’s qualifying (3:36.792).
Nicholas found two extra seconds in the tank in the evening’s final (3:34.804) to comfortably defeat Diederick Schelfhout (BEL) by over four seconds.
"It definitely feels amazing to defend my pursuit title, as it was the objective of the Championships. I am pretty happy with my results but there is always room for improvements so I will reflect when we get home and hopefully be stronger and faster next time," said Nicholas.
On her team debut on Thursday, Emily Petricola (VIC) powered to a time of 41.409secs to win bronze in the C4 women’s 500m time trial.
On Saturday, Petricola eclipsed the existing C4 individual pursuit world record in qualifying by two tenths of a second (3:54.501), before riding to take the silver medal. Teammate Meg Lemon (SA) won the bronze.
“I have been pleasantly surprised by my performance here, in particular grabbing bronze in the time trial,” said Petricola, who only began cycling a few months ago.
“I need to acknowledge the work of Cam Jennings who has moulded me into some resemblance of a track cyclist.
“Taking the world record in the individual pursuit was not in the plans, but a great bonus. My only possible improvement would have been gold in the event.”
Victorians Jessica Gallagher and Maddie Janssen claimed dual silver on the week in the Tandem time trial and sprint, with the pair recording a personal best in the flying 200m. Both Tandem events were won by multiple Paralympic and world champion Sophie Thornhill (GBR) and Pilot Helen Scott, including world records in both events.
Gallagher and Janssen will now head home to represent Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“We are really happy with our results and our two silver medals,” said Gallagher. “A personal best in our flying 200m and just outside our one kilometre time trial personal gives us great momentum as we head straight into GC2018.
“We have a few areas we can improve on & we are incredibly excited to head home and race on home soil.”
In all, Australia finished just off the top step in seven events with silver to Amanda Reid (NSW-C2) in the time trial, Kyle Bridgwood (QLD-C4) in the pursuit, and Alistair Donohoe (VIC-C5) and Darren Hicks (SA-C2) in their respective scratch races.
The team was also just off the podium in fourth on seven occasions through Darren Hicks (SA-C2), Simone Kennedy (NSW-C3) and Amanda Reid (NSW-C2) in the individual pursuit, and Kennedy and Kyle Bridgwood (QLD-C4) in the time trial.
In the men’s Tandem, Brad Henderson and Pilot Thomas Clarke finished fourth in both the time trial and sprint in their first Championships as a pairing. It took the might of multiple Paralympic and world champion Neil Fachie (GBR) and Pilot Matthew Rothertham to stop the pair’s run in the sprint semi final.
In other events, Alistair Donohoe (VIC) finished fifth in the C5 individual pursuit and eighth in the time trial, Lemon sixth in the time trial, and Reid fifth in the scratch race. Darcy Thompson (SA-C1) was eighth in the time trial and sixth in the individual pursuit, with Gordon Allan (NSW-C2) fifth in the time trial.
The Tandem pairing of Kieran Murphy and Pilot Lachlan Glasspool (SA) was seventh in the pursuit and in the time trial.
Day 4 Photos © Casey Gibson