Reigning world champion Matthew Glaetzer (SA) is aiming to take his sensational early season form into next week’s 2019 UCI Track World Championships in Poland.
It was a near-perfect start to the 2018/19 season for the South Australian who powered to three gold and one silver across the first four World Cup sprint competitions in November and December. Glaetzer also clocked a flying 200m of 9.502sec early in the season, just shy of his 9.459sec personal best set five years ago (at altitude).
“I haven’t had a better season, the World Cups were almost flawless, except for the last (fourth round) one which took its toll,” said Glaetzer. “There is some strong competition, it's tough. Yes, I won three out of four, but it was very close all the way through.”
Glaetzer has admitted there is a different feeling on the eve of his ninth World Championships campaign which could see him join John Nicholson (1975, 76) as the second Australian to win two sprint world titles.
“This year is different being reigning sprint world champion, but I see it as another challenge in my career,” explained Glaetzer. “I have taken a step towards that higher position in the port, but it is a good challenge, it won’t be easy, more pressure and expectation from myself and externally.”
Glaetzer headlines a strong sprint quartet which features Olympians Patrick Constable (SA) and Nathan Hart (ACT) plus nineteen-year-old debutant Matthew Richardson (WA).
“It is exciting times in the Australian sprint team,” said Glaetzer of the squad which won ten medals including six gold over the six-round 2018/19 World Cup season. Glaetzer will line up in the sprint and keirin, while Constable, Hart and Richardson - who claimed team sprint gold at the final round of the World Cup in Hong Kong - will form the team sprint outfit.
“Matt Richardson has been exciting, pretty impressive at a young age, but we are not putting pressure on him, he is there to experience it and enjoy it and see what he can do.
“Hopefully, I might be able to slot in and give it a rip and see what we can do as a country.”
In addition to chasing rainbows, Glaetzer remains focussed on continual improvements ahead of the Worlds, and ultimately the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games which looms in eighteen months.
“I want to race well, race smart, minimise mistakes,” Glaetzer said. “If you can nail that, the results will flow.
“Also continuing to improve on a few weaknesses of mine. It is a project with myself and the staff, just to keep developing, keep getting better, because everyone else is as well.
“I have to keep the edge on the competition.”
The Australian Team is scheduled to arrive in Pruszkow, Poland on Wednesday 20 February ahead of the 2019 UCI Track World Championships which will be held from 27 February to 3 March.
Glaetzer will be in action in the keirin on day two (Thursday), while the sprint begins on day three (Friday) and concludes on Saturday.
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2019 UCI Track World Championships - Poland