ACT riders put pedal to the medal

Rebecca Wiasak will be a leader for the ACT team at the track nationals in Sydney this week, despite only having been a full-time cyclist for 2 and a half years.Rebecca Wiasak and Alex Bird will spearhead the ACT team at the track nationals in Sydney this week after their medal-winning performances at the World Cup in Mexico, but both admit the nationals are as much of an unknown as the international event.
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Wiasak won bronze in the individual pursuit in Mexico, the 28-year-old’s first major international event, having only taken up competitive cycling 2½ years ago.

But with the depth of Australian cycling, she will enter the nationals with the same goal as she took to Mexico.

”I’m hoping just to make the medals final, which is crazy … it’s just as challenging to make the final in Australia against the current girls as it is to make it to a World Cup final,” Wiasak said. ”All of the girls are trying to get selected for the world championships in Belarus in a couple of weeks and the individual pursuit particularly will be a key event for them getting selected for the team pursuit.

”They’re all going to be gunning for it.”

Wiasak will be hoping for another medal in the team pursuit, too, after winning silver last year. She will team again with Ailie McDonald, the newly crowned national under-23 time trial champion, with teenager Lucy Kirk a new addition to the group.

”Hopefully we can get another medal … that’s definitely a goal of ours but we haven’t actually ridden together yet,” Wiasak said before leaving Adelaide for Sydney.

Bird, the reigning men’s sprint champion, says he’s ”pumped for nationals” but is equally unsure of his prospects.

”It’s a tricky one because I’ve just been training for team sprint,” he said. ”The training overlaps nicely, but I haven’t done anything which gives me an idea of my form.”

Bird clocked the fastest time by an Australian in a first lap of the team sprint on the way to bronze at the World Cup last week, but representing the ACT will call for a change of position at nationals.

Bird will drop into second, with Nathan Hart riding first and Daniel Ellis in the third spot.

”I think we can medal,” Bird said. ”We’re going to get off to a quick start, we’re just worried about the back half of the race potentially.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

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