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Aussies tracking well ahead of Rio

24 July 2016

CYCLING - TRACK: With just two weeks until the 2016 Rio Olympic Games kicks off, Australia’s track cyclists continue their preparations at their team camp in California. 

The women’s endurance quintet of Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW), Georgia Baker (TAS), Amy Cure (TAS), Annette Edmondson (SA) qnd Melissa Hoskins (WA) and the sprint team ofAnna Meares (SA), Stephanie Morton (SA), Patrick Constable (SA), Matthew Glaetzer (SA) and Nathan Hart (ACT) have been acclimatising for the Rio Games in Los Angeles since early July. 

“It can be difficult training back home in the winter months, so it has helped having a weather change, its certainly helped having a change of scenery, “ said Anna Meares, who will contest her fourth Games next month. On the day of her departure from Australia, Meares was also named Flagbearer of the Australian team.

“But what also happens when you move to a location based training camp is it begins to sink that you’re getting close. Things get a little more exciting and real.” 

The track training has been taking place at the VELO Sports Center in Carson, while the team has been taking advantage of the picturesque Manhattan Beach coastline for recovery sessions, road rides and subsequent coffee hits. 

“We are in our Australian gear every time we are outdoors, we have pride in our uniform, we are proud of who we represent,” exclaimed Meares, who boasts five Olympic medals punctuated by two gold. In Rio, Meares will contest the Team Sprint (with Morton), plus the keirin and sprint.

“People see us, and we get lots questions about who we are, where we come from, which is great publicity for our team, and our sport.

“People will stop me, ask me who I am and if I will be racing, and I just say yes.  They have no idea who I am, I love it!,” remarked Meares.

Similarly, London Olympic medallist Annette Edmondson has enjoyed the ability to fine tune their run into the Games. 

“The weather has been perfect, amazing every day, and the change in location and focus has enabled us to get on with our training,” said Edmondson, who will line up in two events in Rio - the team pursuit and omnium in Rio.  Australia is the current world record holders in the team pursuit, with the Los Angeles track also the training site of the reigning world champion USA women's team. 

”We packed up and left Australia which has enabled to commit 100%, whether it be on the track or road during the day. 

“But also it has enabled us to recover properly with team mates at night instead of being back home in Australia where you might be catching up with friends, or other little things like that, that do take it out of you a little bit.” 

VELO Sport Center Manager, Travis Smith, himself a Commonwealth Games medallist and world championship representative for Canada’s track cycling team, was ecstatic the venue could host the team.

“It’s great for the Velodrome, its great for the team to be able to come here and take advantage of the great facility, the weather,” said Smith. “We certainly wish them all the best and if they do well in Rio, we can say we played a small part in their achievements!” 

The track sprint team departs Los Angeles for Rio on 26 July, while the endurance women leave on 31 July. The men’s track endurance squad is currently in Mexico after completing a three-week training camp in Arizona.

The track cycling competition begins on day six of the Games, August 11.

Amy McCann
Cycling Australia

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