IMAGE || Kevin Anderson / Cycling Australia
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Track competition will take place at the Anna Meares Velodrome (Brisbane) from Thursday 5 to Sunday 8 April with 20 gold – eight endurance, eight sprint and four para-cycling – on offer.
By Amy McCann
Australia enjoyed a 24 medal haul including seven gold at the 2014 Games in Glasgow and is expected to celebrate a century of gold with 96 cycling gold through to the start of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
A six-member women’s endurance squad with a rich blend of World Championship, Olympic and Commonwealth Games experience will line up for Australia.
World champion and Olympic medallist Annette Edmondson, 26 (SA) is back on the track for her second Commonwealth Games, and will line up in the team pursuit on the opening day alongside 2015 world champion teammates Amy Cure, 25 (TAS) and Ashlee Ankudinoff, 27 (NSW), plus Games debutant Alexandra Manly, 22 (SA).
2014 silver medallist Edmondson and reigning national champion Ankudinoff will also take to the individual pursuit on day two, as will dual world champion and Games debutant Rebecca Wiasak, 33 (ACT),
Cure, the 2014 points race world champion, is expected to line up in scratch and points races along with 2016 Olympian Georgia Baker, 23 (TAS), who will make an amazing debut after overcoming heart surgery in November.
The seven-member men’s endurance squad might include six Games debutants, but collectively there are 19 world championship rainbow jerseys ready to shine in Brisbane.
Australian will be the heavyweights to beat in the men’s team pursuit, with Olympic silver medallist and dual world champion Samuel Welsford, 22 (WA) to lead the green and gold outfit with fellow world champions Alexander Porter, 21 (SA) and Kelland O’Brien, 19 (VIC) – the youngest member of Australia’s cycling team.
National champion Welsford and World Championship medallist O’Brien will also take to the individual event, with hometown fans set for a treat when Jordan Kerby, 25 (QLD) hits the track in both pursuits.
Triple 2010 Games gold medallist Cameron Meyer, 30 (WA) returns fresh from claiming the points race world crown last month, his ninth career rainbow jersey and will be a favourite in the bunch races this week.
Three-time world champion Leigh Howard, 28 (VIC) and Nicholas Yallouris, 24 (NSW), provide the team a number of options across the week.
In the sprint, the women’s duo Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch will contest all four events on the week, beginning with the opening day’s team sprint event in which they will bolt from the gates as strong favourites.
In the sprint, Morton will aim to defend her crown on the track named after her former teammate and legend of the sport Anna Meares, who she defeated in the event four years ago in Glasgow.
Morton will also contest the keirin and time trial, as will the evergreen McCulloch who has been producing some career best times in the recent season.
The men’s sprint quartet is headlined by reigning sprint world champion Matthew Glaetzer who will be eager to add Commonwealth sprint gold to his rainbow jersey, while also defending the keirin title he won four years ago in Glasgow.
Glaetzer will open his campaign in an impressive men’s sprint trio with Rio Olympians Nathan Hart and Patrick Constable, and end it in the time trial on the final day, an event in which he became the first rider to record a sub-one minute ride on sea level.
Constable, who finished eighth at the Rio Games and took the national crown in 2017, will also contest the sprint, plus the keirin, as will former keirin national champion Jacob Schmid.
The Tandem Para-cycling selections are led by 2016 world champions Jessica Gallagher and Pilot Madison Janssen who are fresh from winning two silver medals at the 2018 World Championships held in Brazil last week.
In the men’s, Bradley Henderson will make his debut with Pilot Thomas Clarke, who won bronze at the 2014 Games.