By Paul Verkuylen
Recently retired six day track star Matthew Gilmore has taken up a position as a coach with the successful Tasmanian Institute of Sport track cycling program. The Tasmanian, himself an Olympic silver medalist and world title holder in the Madison event, sees the move as a logical step in his career.
"For me it means I have come full circle, I was a scholarship holder here at the TIS way back in 1990, and coming back now as a coach is satisfying," he told Cyclingnews from his home in Tasmania.
Gilmore said that he began thinking about what he would do after his own professional career ended some time before he retired. "I started thinking about it around three years ago, it's terrific to be involved in coaching the young guys," he said.
Gilmore sees his role as a way to develop young riders and offer an alternative path to targeting the road scene in Europe, as so many of Australia's top track riders have done in the past including Stuart O'Grady, Robbie McEwen and Brad McGee. "It's good for the young guys to have another path that they can go down, there are many guys that have tried to go down the same path as O'Grady and McGee but eventually disappear if it doesn't work out," he said.
The long term goal of the squad is to build a base for a professional six day cycling team to compete in Europe's most famous tracks during the winter. "Hopefully in five years or so we will have a professional team targeting the six day scene," he said. "I still have a lot of contacts in Europe that will help these guys get to those races."
Gilmore hopes to be accompanying the TIS-Cyclingnews Under 23 team to Europe to compete in some six day races, giving them valuable experience in some of the hardest six day events in the world.
Gilmore's experience in the Madison, points and scratch race will enable him to give valuable insight to the juniors, women's and Under 23 teams as he guides them with race tactics and training techniques.
The team will continue to be headed up by Paul Brosnan, but with Brosnan taking on a role which sees him involved in some specialised coaching activities. Gilmore will be there to step into the role when Brosnan is unavailable.
Gilmore's addition to the program is a coup for Tasmanian cycling. "Our developing cyclists will have the opportunity to learn from one of the State's finest ever cyclists, who has only recently retired from international competition," said Development Minister Michelle O'Byrne.
Gilmore said he doesn't hold any grudges against Cycling Australia with regard to his Olympic history, which saw him represent Belgium rather than Australia. The former rider has talked the topic over with the national coaches, leaving no doubt that this partnership is beneficial to Australian cycling. "I think my decisions were respected, as my move to represent Belgium was out of necessity, I did it because it was a progression in my career," said Gilmore, who was born in Belgium.