Meares sisters head lineup for Australian track champ's

The stars of Australian cycling will be in action next week when Adelaide's Super-Drome plays host...

The stars of Australian cycling will be in action next week when Adelaide's Super-Drome plays host to the 2005 Australian Track Cycling Championships. Headlining the six day event is Athens Olympic gold medallist, World Champion and world record holder for the 500 m time trial, Anna Meares, 21, who will come up against her sister and major rival Kerrie, 22, in the women's sprint events.

The Queensland sisters have qualified for the upcoming World Championships in Los Angeles (March 23-27) and both are eager to claim the Australian Champions jersey with Anna defending titles in the 500 m time trial and sprint. Kerrie is continuing her successful comeback from a back injury which saw her sit out the Athens Games.

Joining them in the sprint events is Queensland newcomer, Deborah Lovely, 21, who made the swap from weightlifting after the Athens Olympic Games where she finished 13th in her division. Lovely, who claimed three weightlifting silver medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, made her cycling debut at the Queensland Championships and picked up three golds (keirin, 1 lap time trial and teams sprint) and two silver medals (500 m time trial behind Anna Meares and sprint).

Athens keirin bronze medallist, Shane Kelly, 33, will be out to claim the Australian keirin crown in a year when he has opted not to compete in the kilometre time trial - the event in which he has claimed three world titles and Olympic silver and bronze. But he faces tough opposition in the form of Sydney's Ben Kersten, 23, who is defending the title, and hometown hope Jobie Dajka, 23, the 2002 keirin World Champion, who is pushing for selection in the Australian team for the World Championships. In the sprint, Oceania and defending Australian champion Sean Eadie (NSW), 35, will be trying to make it two in a row as he takes on young guns Kersten and Dajka.

Kersten will be the rider to watch in the one kilometre time trial for which he is the reigning Oceania champion. At the Manchester World Cup the Sydney rider cracked 62 seconds for the first time to claim the silver medal.

In the women's endurance events Sydney's Kate Bates, 22, has been unstoppable in recent weeks claiming gold in the individual pursuit, points race and scratch race at the January World Cup round in Manchester. She has her eye on all three gold medals in Adelaide, but young South Australian Alexis Rhodes, 20, who claimed bronze in the points race in Manchester and is defending the crown in Adelaide, may have other ideas. Rhodes will also be one to watch in the scratch race while Rochelle Gilmore (NSW), who has two World Championship silver medals and is the defending scratch race champion, is hoping to again stamp her dominance on the event and earn a berth for Los Angeles.

Athens Olympic Games road race champion, Sara Carrigan (QLD), 24, is lining up for a shot at the 3 km individual pursuit crown. Carrigan, who this year has already collected two silver medals at the Australian Open Road Championships, has been preparing for the track with little fanfare but she comes into the event with solid form.

Reigning teams pursuit World Champions Ashley Hutchinson (QLD), 25, and Stephen Wooldridge (NSW), 27, who is also a gold medallist from Athens in the teams pursuit, will lead the charge in the men's endurance events.

The Championships run from Monday, February 7-Saturday, February 12. Tickets can be obtained from Venue*Tix bookings: Phone (08) 8225 8888; Fax (08) 8223 6555 and e-mail bookings2@venuetix.com.au

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