Sprint cyclists aim for Games nod
Australian track cycling’s three fastest men will have their own private battle in the sprint at the world championships in Melbourne.
Their competition opens on Friday afternoon at Hisense Arena with the flying 200m qualification, followed by the match racing rounds through to the quarter-finals that evening.
Shane Perkins, Scott Sunderland and Matthew Glaetzer are on a high after winning the team sprint on Wednesday night in amazing circumstances.
They were elevated to the gold-medal ride after Germany’s disqualification and beat France by a thousandth of a second.
Now Perkins will want to again show national selectors that he should ride in the sprint at the London Olympics.
Australia will have one starter in the sprint and the keirin at the Games, with those to come from the three team sprinters.
Perkins won silver in the sprint two years ago and is the defending keirin world champion, so he is the frontrunner for the two individual starts.
The world team sprint title virtually assures this trio of Olympic selection.
But Australian sprint coach Gary West has made it clear nothing is set in stone for the sprint and keirin berths.
“One of these guys will represent us in the sprint in London, so we’re looking for a bold showing from all of them,” West said.
“Certainly, Shane Perkins is probably the leading contender at the moment, but he needs to post a good performance here.
“Scott Sunderland is a sprinter on the rise. We’ve done a considerable work with him on the tactical and technical side.
“Young Matt Glaetzer, he demonstrated last night he’s very fast, but we really haven’t spent a lot of time developing his strategies and plays.”
They will face formidable international opposition, with British stars Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny and Frenchman Gregory Bauge among the favourites.
West said the team sprint world title had not altered their thinking for the match sprint.
“It doesn’t change anything – the team sprint was a great result … we were always going to attack it with the same plan and the same attitude,” he said.
“What we want to see is these blokes perform under the glare of the spotlight.”
Selectors will pick the Olympic track team in June, with the sprint and keirin starters to be decided closer to the Games.
West said the world titles might not decide who competes in the men’s sprint and keirin at the Games.
“It’s important, but it’s not the defining event,” he said.© AAP 2014