2016 , by Cycling Australia
A twenty-member team has been named by Cycling Australia for the 2016 UCI World Track Championships in London, the final dress rehearsal before August’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
19 events will be decided at the Championships that begin on March 2, with significant emphasis on the ten Olympic events – sprint, keirin, team pursuit, team sprint and omnium – in which Australia currently ranks inside the top three in eight.
“The World Championships are our last qualification event for Rio as well as the final big race opportunity to fine tune our team toward the Rio Olympics,” said Kevin Tabotta, National Performance Director, Cycling Australia.
“We have set objectives for each of the athletes and we will be looking to show strong progression in all our focus disciplines, and importantly, to secure our Rio qualification quotas for all track events. Whilst the World Championships are certainly important, Rio is naturally the ultimate goal. Our eyes are firmly set on August.
“The London velodrome is a super venue, a real cauldron packed with vocal parochial crowds and this will provide the perfect stage to rehearse and refine our strategies in high pressure conditions. That’s great practice for Rio.”
The team boasts a tremendous blend of youth and experience and is punctuated by twelve current or former world champions including reigning keirin and eleven-time champion Anna Meares (SA/QLD), plus dual reigning champion Annette Edmondson (SA).
Amy Cure (TAS) and Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW) - who were part of the team who claimed the 2015 team pursuit world title in world record time - will line up to defend their title, as will Rebecca Wiasak (ACT) who claimed the individual pursuit honours last year.
Re-joining a deeply talented men’s endurance squad is Michael Hepburn (QLD) and Cameron Meyer (WA) - who boast eleven world titles between them – along with three-time champion Glenn O'Shea (SA), plus 2014 champions Miles Scotson (SA) and Luke Davison.
Matthew Glaetzer (SA), currently the world’s number one ranked sprinter, leads the men's sprint selections, with Jacob Schmid (VIC) and Nathan Hart (ACT) returning for their second stint at the top level.
Stephanie Morton (SA), who claimed four medals at three World Cups this summer, and three-time team sprint world champion Kaarle McCulloch (NSW), complete the sprint selections.
Five of Australia’s rising stars will make their world championship debut including sprinter Patrick Constable (SA), 20, and Tasmania’s Georgia Baker, 21, who enters the women’s team pursuit ranks.
The men’s endurance squad received an injection of young talent via Sam Welsford (WA), 20, Callum Scotson (SA), 19, and Alex Porter (SA), 19.
“Our talent goes deep in men’s endurance right now, highlighted by the exceptional times set by our youth group in the team pursuit at the Hong Kong World Cup," said Tabotta. "We’re going to field a highly competitive team pursuit squad in London with a mix of experience and new talent.
"Sam, Callum and Alex are three exciting inclusions for London and I can assure you that these guys are all serious contenders for team spots in Rio and are eager to show what they can do.”
Former world champions and London Olympians Jack Bobridge and Alex Edmondson declared themselves unavailable for the World Championships, with Cycling Australia endorsement, to allow them to meet their professional team road commitments.
“There is a strategy in place which focuses towards Olympic success, and the pair have demonstrated this year, and especially at the New Zealand Track World Cup, that they are clearly on track. Both riders will benefit with a solid road block of road racing, before they come into our April team pursuit selection camp to secure their spots for Rio,” explained Tabotta.
Unfortunately due to illness, reigning team pursuit world champion Melissa Hoskins (WA) is not available to line up to defend the team pursuit title, however she is expected to be fully fit ahead of the Olympic selection deadline of June 27.
“Melissa’s illness is unfortunately timed, but missing the Worlds wont affect her run towards Rio and we expect her to be back, fitter than ever.
"It has however opened a door for Georgia Baker to be tested in London ad Georgia has pushed her way into the team with some big improvements over the last six months.” Tabotta added.
“The men’s sprint team has couple of stable and consistent performers in Glaetzer and Hart who are both in the top three in the world in times and performances and in to support them, we have young talent in Schmid and Constable.
“It has been a standout progression by Pat Constable, who twelve months ago wasn’t on the radar but after his sprint gold at the Hong Kong Track World Cup, he is announcing his intentions for a spot on the team for Rio.
“We also have a highly experienced women’s sprint team, with the big improver being Stephanie Morton in 2016, with her silver medal in Cambridge and recording some of the fastest times of the year in the 200m and in second wheel in the team sprint.
“And while Anna Meares has had a disrupted run over past six months, she is truly back on track now with an impressive showing at last week’s Nationals. She is building well toward August”
Women’s Track Endurance
Men’s Track Endurance
The UCI Track Cycling World Championships will be held at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark from 2-6 March 2016.trackcyclingworlds2016.london
19 events will be decided at the Championships including all ten Olympic events – sprint, keirin, team pursuit, team sprint and omnium. Schedule