Meares and Perkins ready for Oceania Championships
8 October 2015
CYCLING: The Road to Rio for Australia's track cyclists continues this week through Invercargill, New Zealand, for the 2016 Oceania Track Championships.
Two of the powerhouses of international track cycling, Australia and New Zealand, will reignite their friendly rivalry in a number of trans-Tasman battles across the four-day Championships which runs October 8-11.
Ahead of the four days of competition Cycling Australia spoke to 11-time world and dual Olympic Champion Anna Meares, plus former world champion and Olympic medallist Shane Perkins, on the importance of the Oceania Championships, what to expect and their goals.
"I am feeling good and excited to be back racing," said Meares. "It's been a long pre season, I have worked hard and I am happy with where I am at in relation to my plan and goals for Rio next year."
Perkins, a former world champion in the keirin has had a busy 2015. "I've been back for around seven to eight weeks from racing the keirin series and Japan Cup events," said Perkins.
"In that time I've had the chance to lay some more foundations for the up coming Oceania Championships and the upcoming World Cup season.
"I've done some great work in the period I was in Japan from April and put the finishing touches on my prep recently.
"Things are looking good all signs are pointing to good form now it's time to put that into some results on the track!"
The Oceania Championships form the start of the 2015-16 track season heading in to the World Championships and with less than a year out from Rio 2016 Olympics they are as important as ever.
"Oceania champs are really our starting point for the run into Rio so it is very valuable to start that period off with a good performance to secure spots at world cups, leading into World Championships and of course into the Rio Olympics," Perkins explained.
In a field loaded with world champions and with pride, gold, points and additional spots up for grabs at the World Championships expect a high level of competition between the two sporting rivals.
"My goals for Oceania are very simple - race hard and have fun," said Meares.
"Oceania's are an important event and Australia will be sending a very strong team both in men and women and sprint and endurance and as always it's a pleasure to be a part of the national team and national CA HPU program.
"It's going to be some very hard fought racing between Australia and New Zealand," added Perkins. "We have valuable spots up for grabs to add precious spots to our World Championships starting positions.
"It is crucial Australia can pick up the win in both the sprint and keirin events to maximise our starting riders at world championships," said Perkins on the sprint events. "That goes for both New Zealand and Australia so you can imagine how much is on the line as a team but also from individual positions. I'm looking forward to the battle!"