After being shut out of the gold medals in the Beijing Olympics, and netting just one silver thanks to sprinter Anna Meares, the Australian track cycling programme is rebuilding with some of its young riders in the Manchester World Cup. Leigh Howard and Glenn O'Shea will represent Team Toshiba at the event this weekend.
Howard and O'Shea, both former junior world champions, have been showing good signs this year but Manchester is the opportunity to prove themselves at senior level. "Our main aim in Manchester is to win the Madison, which will be our goal at all the World Cups we do together," Howard said.
"Ultimately [this season] we're aiming for a good result in the World Championships next year in Poland. Together Glenn and I are riding awesome. Our riding styles are similar and we both egg each other on to go to the next step every race.
"I think we will be a force to be reckoned with in the future and hopefully come London."
The two 19-year-olds have every right to be confident after their impressive performance in the recent UIV Talents Cup 3-Day event in Amsterdam. "I'm really happy with our performance in Amsterdam. The field was a similar quality to last year so to win this year by seven laps was amazing," Howard said.
Yet Howard sees more room for improvement saying "I've still got a bit of work to do to get my track legs back to top form, as March was my last track race before Amsterdam."
"Hopefully come Melbourne [Track World Cup] I'll be going great guns," said Howard who along with O'Shea will this season race with Team Toshiba, Cycling Australia's professional track team.
After Manchester the two Victorians will head to Munich, Germany, for another UIV Talents Cup 3-Day event before returning home to ride the Track World Cup in Melbourne. In addition to riding the Madison together in the Manchester World Cup, Howard will ride the scratch race and O'Shea the points race.