By John Flynn
Olympic Road Race Champion Sara Carrigan isn't taking anything for granted in the lead-up to Beijing, with the rider expecting to go all out for the Australian Time Trial title in January. According to the official selection criteria, some weight is given to the title of 'Defending Olympic Champion', but that in itself won't guarantee a place in the Australian Olympic team.
Carrigan will need to produce a strong performance at the national titles and her focus is on the time trial, an event which the Gold Coast native has won before and is specifically training for. "I've been doing a lot of time trial work, I've been focussing on the T.T. for nationals," Carrigan said. "It's an Olympic year, you just never know, all these people come out of the woodwork.
"Just because I'm Olympic champion doesn't mean an automatic spot, I have to re-earn my spot just like everyone else does," she added.
Two more rivals for spots in the Olympic team will be second and third place-getters at the weekend's Surfers Paradise Grand Prix Nikki Egyed and Lorian Graham.
Egyed, who spent the first half of last year with the AIS Team before signing a contract to ride with Nicole Cooke at Raleigh LifeForce, continues to show improvement since making the transition to cycling from triathlon.
"Any athlete in the world at the moment, if they've got any remote chance of going to the Olympics that's what they're thinking about," Egyed said. "I'm in week four of training now so it's starting to feel a little bit better, like it takes me three or four weeks to feel myself again, so we've got another month really looking forward to getting into my legs before nationals and good preparation for the European season."