Doing things differently
With the Kilo now cut from the 2008 Olympic track cycling programme, Sydney rider Ben Kersten is exploring the avenues of endurance track riding. After being an innocent party caught in the crossfire of the Mark French affair before last year's Olympics, Kersten set himself the task of becoming the country's best 1km TT specialist, taking great form into this year's world championships in Los Angeles. Things didn't go according to plan in LA, and with the IOC and UCI deciding his favourite event couldn't be accommodated at the 2008 games in Beijing, the 24-year-old from Kiama, on the NSW south coast had to rearrange his racing and training. Cyclingnews' Les Clarke caught up with Kersten as he prepares for next month's Sydney Thousand track carnival.
It wasn't going to be easy changing from sprint events to an endurance programme, but under the guidance of NSW Institute of Sport head coach Gary Sutton, Kersten is more determined than ever to put the last couple of years behind him and become one of Australia's best endurance riders. Having moved from the AIS track cycling headquarters in Adelaide to Sydney after the 2003 world's, Kersten is now in better shape physically and mentally, saying "I wasn't really happing in Adelaide. I wasn't really getting along with people, and my results reflected this. It was a good move coming up here to Sydney. I'm a lot more relaxed and it's working well."
Obviously disappointed with the decision to scrap the Kilo, Kersten has set about reinventing himself into an endurance rider, with a programme more oriented towards riding longer distances. "I've now got more of an endurance programme, and I race a lot more, which is different to down in Adelaide. I use the racing as training and in Adelaide you don't really get to do that," said Kersten. "Pretty much everything is different here in Sydney, and it's working well. There are different doctors and sports scientists, and I'm doing a mix of longer and shorter stuff for training."
For the full interview with Ben Kersten, click here.