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A jubilant Anna Meares (Australia)
London Olympic gold medalist returns to racing
After six months of training, London Olympic Games gold medalist Anna Meares will return to the velodrome next month in Adelaide.
Meares, who defeated long-time rival Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton in the sprint in London, took an extended break after the Games and warned that she will have nowhere near the form she showed 12 months previously.
"I wouldn't expect myself to be either," she told the Adelaide Advertiser.
"I've only trained for six months now, I had a niggle with my back about a month ago and had five months off [after London].
"So I'm finding new challenges, ways to stay focused, motivated and driven particularly in the cold wet months when it's harder."
Meares will ride in three meets taking place – the Adelaide Track Cup, Super-Drome Trophy, and South Australian Track Challenge – between July 10 and 14 with athletes from Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and New Zealand also taking part. The meets will serve as qualifiers for the UCI World Cup.
Under new rules put in place by the UCI for 2013-14, athletes must now qualify enough points to in order to be eligible to race at the UCI World Cups, the first of which is in Manchester in November.
Meares admitted she is nervous about her return, but was glad to be racing on home soil.
"It's nice to after a race be able to come home, to dip my feet back in, get my racing head back on and get a feel for things again," the 29-year-old said.
"It will be tough because it will be cold. It's not heated out at the track and I'm sure I'll make mistakes so I've got to be patient with myself and understand that it's been a while."