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
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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Australian Cycling Team
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.