Cycling Australia today announced the Cyclones team to contest the 2012 UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne from 4 to 8 April. The event is the last major track event before the Olympic Games, and will serve as the final chance for riders to press their claims for a seat on the plane to London.
The squad boasts eight defending world champions amongst a wealth of experienced campaigners and young talent. A long team of 19 has been named but the men's track endurance squad will be trimmed by one before Melbourne.
"Preparations have been going well and everyone has been working hard to be in top form for the championships," said Cycling Australia National Performance Director, Kevin Tabotta. "This is a rare opportunity for the team to race at the very highest level in front of a home crowd with family and friends in the stands to support them.
"To claim the rainbow jersey of world champion is a very special honour but the most important thing is for each and every member of the team to deliver their very best and I'm confident that will be the case in Melbourne."
Reigning sprint and keirin world champion Anna Meares will be lining up in her tenth elite world titles on the same track where she won the 500 metre time trial in 2004 to claim her first rainbow jersey in senior competition. Kaarle McCulloch, with whom Meares has won the past three team sprint world titles, will join her to race the women's sprint events.
In the men's ranks 2011 keirin world champion, Shane Perkins will line up with Scott Sunderland and Matthew Glaetzer, in the team sprint. The trio set an Australian record in Kazakhstan in November at the opening round of the World Cup and at last month's London round, 19 year old Glaetzer rode the fastest last lap of the competition. The trio will also cover the keirin and sprint while Australian champion James Glasspool will race the kilometre time trial in his first senior world championships team.
Ashlee Ankudinoff is back in the team after injury derailed her bid for selection in 2011. She joins fellow 2010 pursuit world champion Josephine Tomic who along with Amy Cure and Annette Edmondson posted an Australian record on their way to the team pursuit bronze medal last month in London. Melissa Hoskins, who won the scratch race in London, completes the women's endurance line up.
Cameron Meyer will arrive fresh off his top-10 result at Tirreno-Adriatico and will join long-time madison partner Leigh Howard for their world championship defence. The remaining six endurance riders named today; Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Michael Hepburn, Alexander Edmondson, Glenn O'Shea and Mitchell Mulhern, are vying for one of the remaining five places in the team.
Bobridge won gold in the individual pursuit at last year's world championships in the Netherlands and, along with Dennis, Hepburn and Luke Durbridge, won the team pursuit crown. Last month in London, Bobridge, Dennis, Hepburn and Edmondson combined to set the third fastest time in history to defeat Great Britain in the team pursuit but O'Shea and Mulhern have also performed strongly this season at other world cup events and remain in contention for a team pursuit berth. A final decision will be made by the end of the month.
Defending omnium world champion Michael Freiberg is conspicuous in his absence from the team.
2012 UCI Track World Championships - Cyclones Australian Team
The eight sprint events are team sprint, sprint, keirin and time trial for both men and women.
• Kaarle McCulloch
• Anna Meares
• Matthew Glaetzer
• James Glasspool
• Shane Perkins
• Scott Sunderland
The eleven endurance events are men's and women's team pursuit, individual pursuit, scratch race, points race and omnium plus the Madison for men.
• Ashlee Ankudinoff
• Amy Cure
• Annette Edmondson
• Melissa Hoskins
• Josephine Tomic
• Jack Bobridge
• Rohan Dennis
• Alexander Edmondson
• Michael Hepburn
• Leigh Howard
• Cameron Meyer
• Mitchell Mulhern
• Glenn O'Shea