Shocked and confused!

My mind and emotions have been fluctuating up and down over the past few days. The first shock came...

Germany, September 15, 2005

My mind and emotions have been fluctuating up and down over the past few days. The first shock came on Thursday night when I received the news that I had been left out of the National team for the 2005 Road World Championships in Madrid.

Madrid has been my number one goal throughout the season.

Consistent top 10 finishes during the recent Holland Ladies Tour indicated that I had fully recovered from my illness back in August. After 10 days of progressive altitude training in Livigno, Italy, I felt that my preparation for the Worlds was on track. Recent racing had boosted my confidence and results clearly showed that I had reached a level of fitness competitive with the other elite women.

2005 has been my most successful year not only in terms of results, which include three World Cup podiums and sixth on the overall World Cup rankings. This year's stable living environment and structured training programmes have contributed enormously. With these thoughts in mind you can imagine my disappointment in not being considered in an Australian team of six. I am currently the second highest ranked Australian rider, yet I haven't been included in our team of six, some of whom are ranked 100 places below me. It doesn't seem very fair.

Two days after the selection announcement I headed to Germany for the final round of the World Cup Series. I stayed close to the front of the bunch during the race, even though the attacks were continuous I was never feeling threatened by the pace. I felt relaxed throughout the final kilometers and jostled for third wheel amongst the Nurnberg train that were supporting their lead rider Oenone Wood. I crossed the line second, just centimetres behind Giorgia Bronzini.

The Nurnberg result has come just two weeks before the World Championships while competing against the fittest and fastest women in the World. The Nurnberg World Cup also offered double points, which would have given extra incentive for everyone to fight for results. Amazingly, I have since discovered that the Australian selectors don't consider this result to be relevant in relation to the World Championship team selection!

One of my motivations in sport has always been to represent Australia. I have never in the past disputed any selection decisions made by Cycling Australia. I have been disappointed; for example, being excluded from the 2005 Worlds Track team knowing that I had the ability to win after previously finishing second twice at the World Track Championships. However, in this case another rider had achieved World Cup results during the final three-month selection period, and based on results deserved the position.

The thought of officially appealing the decision is racing through my mind as the deadline for submission expires in a few days. Do I fight for my opportunity to represent Australia OR do I accept the decision from CA with confusion? I feel that I have shown through my years of involvement in the sport that I am a great ambassador for cycling. I have continually represented our country proudly and to the best of my ability.

Let's hope it turns out for the best,
Rochelle.

Nurnberg World Cup race results

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