Young Tasmanian demonstrates great potential at national titles
She's only diminuitive but Tasmanian rider Amy Cure has already made a significant impact on Australian women's cycling and there's plenty of cause for optimism for the years ahead.
The 17-year-old from the Davenport region of the 'Apple Isle' is the current junior world champion in the scratch race and took silver in the women's individual pursuit at the same titles in Moscow last year. At the Australian national titles she won the U19 women's individual pursuit and points race, the latter in commanding fashion, with a level of race craft not normally seen in riders of her age.
A likely reason for this fact is Cure's growing up on a diet of track racing, with her parents taking her to the Tasmanian Christmas Track Carnivals each year, where she developed a passion for the fixed gear despite starting her cycling life on a road bike.
"I started going to the Tassie Christmas Carnivals as a little kid - mum and dad used to take us and we loved it so they decided to buy us a bike and it went from there. I started on the road but got into the track because I wanted to do both. My coach at the time, Darren Pugh, helped me out a lot and now I've stepped up with Matthew Gilmore."
Gilmore, whose pedigree on the track is unquestionable having ridden for many years as a six-day racer, is the head coach at the Tasmanian Institute of Sport's cycling program and praised his young charge's tenacity after her individual pursuit win on the opening night of the national titles.
"She's the typical Tasmanian type of racer - just goes out there and never gives up," he said. For her part, Cure keeps her race plan simple: "I always go into races looking to give my all, I don't like having anything left at the end. Whether it's club racing or the Australian titles I try to do my best in every single race," she said.
She appreciates the role Gilmore has played in her development, with the partnership likely to continue paying dividends. "He's done great work with me, got me so much further, and he's a great coach," she explained.
"He's an awesome bloke to talk to, both off and on the bike; he jokes around with you, and he's serious when he needs to be. If you have a crap day at training he's always like, 'Don't worry about it' and he knows you can come back stronger."
As for the future, can Cure see herself on the roads of Europe as a professional, given her ability to read a race? The grit and stamina she displayed in the U19 women's points race at the national titles was a standout of the junior women's programme and promises plenty for the coming years.
She won't be lured into grand predictions however, preferring to keep her eye on the more immediate future.
"I'm still doing road - I love it just as much as the track - I want to try and do the road time trial at junior worlds this year now that I'm a second year junior," she explained. "I'll see how it goes, but I'd love to do the track and the [road] time trial.
"I've had more opportunities on the track at the moment rather than the road but I'd love to be a professional on the road," she added. "I'm just going for the track right now thanks to those opportunities."
With the senior Australian women's road team not taking a medal at a world championships or Olympics since Sara Carrigan's Olympic gold in Athens in 2004, could Cure be a future member of a senior national team that takes on the world's best at an Olympic Games or senior world championships?
"It'll definitely be harder stepping up into seniors, racing with the women; we've got some good women in Australia, they're amongst the best in the world.
"And I'd love to go to the Olympics - I think it's everyone's dream! There's a group of us that isn't crossed off the list yet but there's plenty of years to go, I'm only young! It'd be awesome if it does happen, though."
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