It's all about moving forward - together
The past two years, since Australian national women's road cycling coach Warren 'Wazza' McDonald signed on for the job, has seen highs and lows to the very extreme. Kristy Scrymgeour caught up with McDonald at a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra to find out how he is looking to move forward into 2006.
It could be said that 2004 was the golden year, with 'Wazza' leading the AIS women's team to World Cup success for Oenone Wood, and then training the AIS riders to help deliver an Olympic Gold medal to Sara Carrigan. They were too good for a 'development' squad, with the majority of the girls going on to sign with professional teams by the end of the year.
But this year, McDonald and Australian cycling were hit with disaster, that of losing one of their athletes, Amy Gillett, in a tragic accident which saw another five riders severely injured.
Five months have passed since the accident, and Wazza and 25 Australian women cyclists gathered at the AIS in Canberra to get everyone together and look to the future. Present at the camp were Katie Brown, Lorian Graham, Katie Nichols, Alexis Rhodes and Louise Yaxley, who were involved in the accident, as well as Commonwealth Games prospects - including the Australian women with professional contracts - and also young or new riders that McDonald and the state coaches have identified as future talent.
"We have over 25 riders here," says McDonald, "and we probably would have had 30 if one of the MTB selection races for Commonwealth Games wasn't on this weekend. It shows that the structure we have, with state institutes around the country, is really working. The state coaches are continually feeding new talent through to us. Coming out of the state system myself, I have a good understanding of where the athletes are coming from and where we need to go with them.
"This camp is to do a bit of testing but also to get everyone together to do some good training to learn from each other and to gain from each other."
Click here for the full interview.