Australia to give Kiwis a run for their money at Oceania Champs

Andrew Matheson
Andrew Matheson
The Australian track team will unleash a strong combination of world champions and world medallists at the Oceania Championships starting in Cambridge on Monday.

There are four world champions and four others who won bronze or silver medals this year in the Australian line-up for the all-important Oceania titles that carry key qualifying rankings for next year’s World Championships.

The championships, which run from next Monday in Cambridge, will also provide early bragging rights as Australia and New Zealand eye next April’s Commonwealth Games across the Tasman.

Leading the way for Australia is 25-year-old individual pursuit world champion Jordan Kerby, a former double junior world champion, who clocked 4min 12sec for his 4000m ride at Hong Kong, which was the third fastest time in history.

Included in the line-up are Rohan Wight and Nicholas Yallouris, who were part of the Australian team pursuit combination that beat the Kiwis for the gold medal at the world championships in Hong Kong this year.

Making a return to the endurance track programme is Leigh Howard, a triple world champion in omnium and madison, who is back on the track after six years on the UCI World Tour, with an eye  on the Commonwealth Games.

The battle in the sprint is sure to be a feature, with current world champion silver medallist Matthew Glaetzer in strong early season form, after a win in the individual sprint at the World Cup in Poland and victory in the 1000m time trial in Manchester at the weekend.

The pairing of Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton, second in the team sprint at Hong Kong, will be the ones to beat in the women, with Morton, the world champion silver medallist, second in the individual sprint at the Poland World Cup.

"It is an important event for both countries in terms of qualifying for the world championships, and it represents the start of a busy six months for the track programme," Cycling New Zealand CEO Andrew Matheson said.

"We would expect nothing less than a strong selection from Australia. It is what we want and we need, and it is sure to set-up some very exciting track racing of world class [standard] next week."

There are 60 elite males and 40 elite females racing, with 50 under-19 riders spread among the official New Zealand and Australian teams, while other members of the New Zealand elite squad and Cycling New Zealand performances hubs will compete for their centres.

There is also strong representation from riders from the cycling institutes of Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales, ACT and Queensland taking part.

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