2019 Omnium, Madison, Team Sprint and Team Pursuit National Championships
The Australian Cycling Team and Podium Potential Academy members will headline the start lists when four National Championships are decided this weekend in Melbourne.
With Tokyo 2020 less than 600 days away, Olympic events will take centre stage in Melbourne beginning with the Omnium Championships at DISC Velodrome on Friday 14, with the Madison, Team Sprint and Team Pursuit to feature in an action-packed night of racing at Melbourne Arena on Saturday 15 December.
Omnium / Team Pursuit / Madison
Australia’s team pursuit world record holders Samuel Welsford (WA), Alexander Porter (SA), plus Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien (VIC) will swap their green and gold Australian jerseys as they chase national glory in their respective state team colours.
The quartet will split for the team pursuit event, with Howard and O’Brien to lead defending champions Victoria against strong outfits from South Australia and Western Australia. In the women’s event, it will a close battle between NSW, Queensland and South Australia.
In the Madison, defending champion Porter will team with fellow South Australian Josh Harrison, dual world champion Howard will form an all-Victorian pairing with O’Brien, and 2017 champion Welsford will line up with Cameron Scott (NSW).
“The Madison will be fast, the night is incredible and the racing is always full gas. There are plenty of good combinations of teams, Porter and Harrison, and especially the locals in Kell (O’Brien) and Leigh (Howard) will be one of the teams to beat,” said Welsford, who will contest the Madison, omnium and team pursuit across the weekend. Welsford will be a favourite in Friday’s Omnium following his World Cup gold in Germany two weeks ago.
“The team pursuit and omnium have been a big focus of mine over the last few years now, and after winning omnium gold in Berlin last week, I am keen to bring back what I learned at the World Cup and take it into Nationals.”
Exciting Australian Cycling Team Podium Potential Academy pairings aiming to upset their more fancied opponents include Conor Leahy (WA) and Godfrey Slattery (VIC), plus dual junior world champion Luke Plapp (VIC) who will pair with Jarrad Drizners (SA).
In the women’s Madison, defending champions Macey Stewart (TAS) and Kristina Clonan (QLD) will take to opposite teams in 2018 when they pair with Academy members Josie Talbot (NSW) and Alex Martin-Wallace (QLD) respectively. Fellow Academy members Maeve Plouffe (SA) and Sam De Riter (VIC) will team up.
“It has been a tough few months, I have been training harder than ever before, have moved to Adelaide, so I am excited to see how I go this weekend after putting in so much hard work,” said Stewart, who joined the Australian Cycling Team in 2018. “Madison is my favourite event, one I am targetting over the next few years, and as defending champion I would like to back it up in 2019.
“I have a new partner for the Madison in Josie Talbot, Kristina and I are split for these Nationals, which I think will be a strong team and I am excited to see what we can do.”
Stewart and Clonan, plus Alexandra Manly (SA), will be three to watch in the women’s omnium.
The Team Sprint National Championships will be decided on Saturday night, with three-time world champion Kaarle McCulloch (NSW) and Holly Takos (SA) headlining the women’s field. In the men’s, 2018 Commonwealth Games medallist Patrick Constable (SA), Nathan Hart (ACT) and Jacob Schmid (VIC) will headline their respective state teams.
Academy riders in action include Caitlin Ward (SA), James Brister (SA), Tom Clarke (SA), Tom Cornish (NSW) and Matt Richardson (WA).
Victoria’s prestigious 121st Austral Wheelrace (for both juniors and seniors) will also showcase the Australian Cycling Team during the evening.
Tickets are still available online or at the door.