McGee closing in on Beijing berth – Cycling Australia Media Release

McGee closing in on Beijing berth

Olympic and World Champion, Brad McGee, moved a step closer to his goal of a fourth Olympic Games berth with a solid performance in the individual pursuit on day one of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester.

McGee was the fifth fastest in qualifying, missing a chance to ride off for a medal, but posting his fastest time since 2004 when he claimed silver in the event at the Athens Olympic Games along with gold in the teams pursuit.

He completed the four kilometre distance in a time of 4min20.430sec more than ten seconds faster than the time he rode at January’s Los Angeles World Cup and Cycling Australia Head Track Coach, Martin Barras, predicts he will continue to improve.

“It would have been nice to get a second round in for him tonight but he’s made substantial progress and looks to have put his health problems behind him,” said Barras. “With a bit more racing on the road and track preparation we’re extremely confident he’ll be right.

“You don’t have that sort of pedigree and let it slip out of your hands.”

For his part, McGee had also hoped for a second ride but accepts he has a way to go to challenge for a medal. Olympic Champion, Bradley Wiggins, won the gold medal to give Britain a welcome victory in front of a home crowd.

“I rode to the level I am at now and you can’t ask for more than that,” said McGee who will line up tomorrow with Graeme Brown, Mark Jamieson and senior team debutant Jack Bobridge for the qualifying round of the team pursuit.

Luke Roberts (4min21.891sec) and Phil Thuaux (4min26.425sec) also contested the pursuit for Australia finishing seventh and seventeenth respectively.

In the men’s team sprint Australia also finished fifth and out of the medals after a qualifying time of 44.614sec from the trio of Daniel Ellis, Mark French and Ben Kersten.

“It was a little disappointing as we were hoping to get a second ride,” said Barras. “Not necessarily to medal but what we want to do at World Championships in an Olympic year is have a chance to assess … and clarify… who’s going to get the gig.”
The French were the dominant team of the competition clocking 43.271sec to defeat Great Britain by half a second in the gold medal final.

“They have just rewritten the book entirely and in realistic terms they’ve put it beyond anybody’s grasp,” said Barras after witnessing two stunning performances by the French. “There are very few words for that – it was extraordinary.”

But Barras isn’t conceding defeat in Beijing.

“You can’t concede gold – they have to go and earn it on the track but the work to be done by ourselves and the Brits (Great Britain) is substantial.”

Two riders with their eyes on the 2012 Olympic Games made their World Championship debut tonight. Sydney’s Kaarle McCulloch, who claimed the 500m time trial and sprint titles at the Australian Championships last month, finished 12th in a time of 35.026sec in the 500m time trial final and admits the experience was a little daunting.

“It showed in my time as I didn’t go as fast as I wanted to,” said McCulloch. “I wanted to do a PB which meant a time faster than 34.8 but I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders now and I can’t wait to do the sprint and keirin.”

“Kaarle was a little overwhelmed but that’s why we bring these ‘kids’ to Worlds,” said Barras. “It’s one thing to do it in comfort at home and another to do it under the big lights.

“It’s the same with Leigh Howard (who finished last in the Scratch Race), it’s a first experience and they are both great talents with an eye to 2012 and we believe firmly in them.”

Day two begins with the teams pursuit qualifying before Ryan Bayley, Daniel Ellis, Mark French and Shane Perkins contest the men’s sprint qualifying. Victorian Katie Mactier will race in the women’s individual pursuit.

The 2008 UCI Track Cycling World Championships are being staged in Manchester, England from 26 to 30 March.

‘Cyclones’ Australian Team
Men – Sprint Team

  • Ryan Bayley (Alexander Heights , WA 09.03.1982)
  • Daniel Ellis (Ngunnawal, ACT 07.10.1988)
  • Mark French (Elwood, VIC 13.10.1984)
  • Shane Kelly (Ararat, VIC 07.01.1972)
  • Ben Kersten (Kiama, NSW 21.09.1981)
  • Shane Perkins (Hughesdale, VIC 31.12.1986)
  • Scott Sunderland (Hillarys, WA 16.03.1988)

Women – Sprint Team

  • Kaarle McCulloch (Gymea Bay, NSW 20.01.1988)

Women – Endurance Team

  • Katherine Bates (Northmead, NSW 18.05.1982
  • Belinda Goss (TAS, 06.01.1984)
  • Katie Mactier (St Kilda, VIC 23.02.1975)

Men – Endurance Team

  • Jack Bobridge (Mt Pleasant, SA 13.07.1989)
  • Graeme Brown (Menai, NSW 09.04.1979)
  • Leigh Howard (Waurn Ponds, VIC 18.10.1989)
  • Mark Jamieson (Acacia Hills , TAS 04.05.1984)
  • Bradley McGee Wentworthville, NSW 24.02.1976)
  • Cameron Meyer (Helena Valley, WA 11.01.1988)
  • Luke Roberts (Walkerville , SA 25.01.1977)
  • Phillip Thuaux ( Point Clare, NSW 09.07.1979)
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