Having not raced a Track World Cup in almost four years, Scott Law's return the velodrome in London this month saw the Australian come away with the silver medal in the men's omnium. The 23-year-old won the 1km individual time trial and the flying lap to finish on 171 points after the six events which was well above his pre-race expectation.
"I think at first I was a little bit worried about how I was going to go compared to a lot of the world's best who were racing in London," Law explained to Cyclingnews. "Going into it with the Revolution race we had two weeks before, I didn't feel great. I felt good in the scratch race but going into a points score like that I was really underdone and I didn't have the HP compared to some of the other British guys of which the majority were U23 and juniors.
"2010 was the last time a rode a World Cup which was in Colombia. I rode [the World Cup in] Melbourne a few weeks before that as well. Going into it, I didn't have the endurance that I have now. I think I have definitely stepped it up in racing and training and just my general condition. I think now, I have a lot more confidence going into the events coming up I think that's put me in good stead."
After a slow start to the omnium at the World Cup, Law explained that his performances after two days of racing have given him the belief that they can replicated on the international stage.
"I wasn't too sure how it was going to pan out going into the World Cup but the Australian team had a fair bit of faith in me and after the first day I wasn't too confident in my abilities having gotten sixth, seven and eighth in the first three events," he said. "I certainly surprised myself on the second day and now, I definitely have a lot more confidence in myself to be able to perform at World Cup level leading up to the third World Cup in Colombia, the Worlds and further down the track, Rio. So I'll see how it all goes."
The last time Law rode a World Cup, the rider with the least amount of points won the omnium. In June, the UCI changed the format of the omnium so that the rider who has accumulated the highest number of points is now declared the winner.
"Nowadays, you really have to look at more so the points score at the end of the six events because there is such a lot of pressure put on it now with new points allocation," Law said of how he was adapting to changed format. "You mainly have to have a good crack at the events but you have to keep your head on for the first five events and then go out all guns blazing in the points race and see how it all goes from there.
"I think when I did the World Cup in 2010, it was all in one day which was the old school method when it was first brought it. They would run it by having an event every hour, one after another, so it was like a carnival. That wasn't too bad for me but I think now the program is a lot better in the fact that, even though it is longer events, it works out quite well by being spaced out and being consistent in all six events."
The team pursuit format was also changed by the UCI in June with the top eight teams riding the 4000m event three times instead of two, placing greater importance on the fifth reserve rider. For Law, that means the omnium will be a secondary priority at the third World Cup round in Colombia.
"The next World Cup is going to be more a team pursuit focus because with the Olympics you can only have five endurance riders so that fifth guy has to be a omnium slash team pursuit rider and you have to be willing to ride one of the rounds of the team pursuit as well as backing up and doing the omnium events," he explained. "From now on, my preparation leading into the next World Cup will be around the team pursuit. After that, I think we'll sit down with [national coach] Tim Decker and work out what's happening in regards to the Worlds and looking ahead to Rio."
As the defending world champions in the team pursuit, Law explained that Australian riders who can perform in the omnium at World Cup level are likely to forgo personal ambitions to focus on the team discipline in the lead up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
"Australia is the sort of country that is focused on the team pursuit so I think it's the guy who can ride the team pursuit really well and then also do the omnium and do quite well in that," he said. "You really have to be more of a team pursuit rider than an omnium rider because they [Cycling Australia] don't put of a lot of emphasis on that compared to team pursuit just because I think of the rivalry between Australia, Britain and the Kiwis as well."
Due to his return to the velodrome, Law will only be doing minimal road kilometres over the Australian summer.
"At the moment, I am just going to be sticking to the track side of the things so I'll actually miss the nationals in Ballarat which I am bit devastated about but I think in the long term it will be a good thing," said the 2011 U23 national criterium champion."
"From about now to the end of February and March it will just be the track and once that's done I'll switch over the road."
Law will have the opportunity to add another national title to his palmarès this week as the Australian omnium championships are being contested in Melbourne.
"It's one of the events I've targeted for this year and I think I have a good chance of winning that and coming off the results of the World Cup I'll have a red hot crack at it and see how it all turns out," said Law who won the 2011 title and has finished second at the last two championships.