Australia name strong world championships cycling team

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Cameron Meyer will head from a successful European stint on the road to the world track cycling championships in stunning form, but his Olympic hopes are still up in the air.

The Olympic selection equation is becoming clearer for Australia’s track cyclists and it’ll come down to a simple sum.

Eight men were named on Wednesday in Australia’s endurance squad for next month’s world championships, but only five can go to the Olympics.

Meyer will ride non-Olympic events at the world championships in Melbourne where he’ll defend the madison crown with Leigh Howard and possibly try to reclaim the points race title.

But his best chance of making the London Olympics will be to perform in Melbourne and in crucial training trials in the next fortnight to force his way in as a potential team pursuit and omnium rider.

“At this stage, no-one’s been taken out of the equation or given a walk-up start,” Cycling Australia national performance director Kevin Tabotta said.

“Those discussions will happen straight after the world championships.

“The worlds represent the last big event leading into the Olympics.”

One of the powerful team pursuiters – Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Michael Hepburn, Alex Edmondson and Mitchell Mulhern – will be cut from the 19-strong world championships squad before the titles start in Melbourne on April 4.

Defending world champions Bobridge, Dennis and Hepburn are certainties to go to London and 19-year-old Edmondson is likely to be with them, leaving Mulhern the most vulnerable.

The in-form Glenn O’Shea will probably ride the multi-discipline omnium in Melbourne.

After coming third in the time trial in the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race in Italy on Tuesday to secure 10th place overall, Meyer will have to fight O’Shea and Mulhern for the fifth endurance spot at the Olympics.

Versatility will be vital, with O’Shea’s ability to ride both the team pursuit and the omnium a major advantage.

The female endurance riders are facing a similarly crucial few weeks, with five in the world championships team and four to go to the Olympics.

Ashlee Ankudinoff is back after an injury-hit 2011, and will be pushing to displace one of Josephine Tomic, Amy Cure and Annette Edmondson from the team pursuit, with Melissa Hoskins also in the mix.

The formula for the sprint squad is more straightforward.

Anna Meares will defend all three sprint titles in Melbourne, and most likely ride them all in London as well, and will be joined in the team sprint by Kaarle McCulloch as they chase their fourth straight world title.

Keirin world champion Shane Perkins will also line up in the sprint and team sprint in Melbourne with Scott Sunderland and 19-year-old Matthew Glaetzer.

James Glasspool will ride the non-Olympic kilo time trial.

© AAP 2014
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