Mexican flavour boosts ACT Tracknats team
Mexico UCI Track World Cup medalists Alex Bird and Rebecca Wiasak will be aiming to inject some salsa into the nine-member ACT track cycling team that will contest the 2013 Subaru Cycling Australia Track National Championships in Sydney next week.
Bird, 27, who return to the Championships as reigning men’s sprint champion, claimed the team sprint bronze medal with the New South Wales duo of Mitch Bullen and Peter Lewis in Aguascalientes, Mexico, last week.
“Mexico was easily the most enjoyable World Cup I’ve been to,” said Bird, who was buoyed by the spectacular interaction of the Mexican crowd at the Cup. “(But now) the big battle is to get used to the time difference and maximise recovery before the track national championships.
“The nationals are a huge thing for me, I get as nervous as I do for any other event.
“I take it very seriously and I enjoy representing the ACT and I want to do well for the state,” Bird said.
A reserve for the London Olympics, Bird claimed an emotional victory in the men’s sprint at the Track Nationals in Adelaide 12 months ago, accounting for eventual Olympians Shane Perkins and Matthew Glaetzer in the process.
Despite Perkins’ absence from the Championships and his own recent good form, Bird still believes defending the green and gold jersey will prove an extremely difficult task.
“The standard in the men’s sprint right now is very high,” Bird explained. “Matt (Glaetzer) is flying, Scott (Sunderland) has just come back from Japan and Mitch (Bullen) has come back from Mexico in good form too, so I’ll be looking out for all of them.”
In addition to the sprint and keirin, Bird will also aim for team sprint success when he teams with 2008 Beijing Oympian Daniel Ellis and Nathan Hart.
“The team sprint is one of my favourite events and we’re really going to try to win it,” Bird said. “The ACT have a pretty solid team and we think we have a shot there.”
Bird’s World Cup teammate Rebecca Wiasak is also flying high after she claimed her first international track medal in the individual pursuit on her Cyclones debut in Mexico.
“It was an unreal experience and I can’t quite believe my result,” said Wiasak, who set an ACT individual pursuit record of 3 minutes 31.782 seconds in qualifying to eclipsed the existing eleven-year-old ACT mark by four seconds.
In the final, Wiasak crossed the line in 3mins 32.037secs to edge Laura Brown of Canada (3:33.645) to claim the bronze behind Katarzyna Pawlowska of Poland (Gold) and Maria Luisa Calle Williams of Colombia (Silver).
“The medal is something tangible to look at and feel but it was such a surreal experience for me, Wiasak explained.
“I still only got a bronze but there is a lot of improving to do – that time only puts me in the top four in Australia.”
Wiasak, 28, only began track cycling two years ago but has quickly excelled in the sport, dominating the road time trials during the Subaru National Road Series and rapidly improving her times on the track over the past few months.
A national track endurance ‘development’ team member, Wiasak now hopes she can recover in time to compete against a quality women’s endurance field in Sydney in less than a week.
“My biggest test will just be making another Australian track team with the calibre of riders we have in the country at the moment,” Wiasak admitted. “The times you have to do to be competitive internationally are what you have to do to be competitive nationally.
“But that’s what great about it. It’s fantastic to compete against the best cyclists in the world right here in Australia, especially because I am so new to the sport.
“And coming from Canberra, I don’t get on the boards much either, so it’s great to be able to race on the Sydney track,” Wiasak added.
Wiasak will contest the individual pursuit, scratch and points race and will team with Lucy Kirk and under 23 time trial national champion Ailie McDonald in the team pursuit.
The 2013 Subaru Cycling Australia Track National Championships will be held at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome from 30 January to 2 February, 2013.
The Championships are live from 7:30pm on Friday 1 February and Saturday 2 February on SBS TWO.
Follow the action online:
- Website http://tracknationals.subaru.com.au/
- Twitter https://twitter.com/CyclingAusTrack
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CyclingAusTrack
- Live results http://tracknationals.subaru.com.au/senior/results/
- Live Stream - From 7:30pm on Friday 1 February and Saturday 2 February at www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral