Meares storms her way to Beijing

By Malcolm Sawford in Melbourne Billed as the "Farewell to Beijing", an opportunity for local fans...

Thuaux fails to make the cut

By Malcolm Sawford in Melbourne

Billed as the "Farewell to Beijing", an opportunity for local fans to get up close and personal with the Australian track team for the Beijing Olympics, Revolution 3 saw all five riders pre-nominated for the sprint squad take to the boards at Melbourne's Vodafone arena before a near capacity crowd.

The highlight of the night came in only the second event, a specially arranged flying 200 metre time trial for Anna Meares to confirm her pre-nomination with a target time of 11.77 seconds or better. Australian head coach Martin Barras and Meares were both confident that despite Meares' severely limited preparation since her terrible crash in the Los Angeles world cup, which resulted in a fractured C2 vertebra and extensive shoulder injuries, her recent training form would see her on track for a time around 11.5 seconds.

Meares demolished their predictions, storming around the track to stop the clock in a sizzling 11.189 seconds, a track record, and less than two hundredths of a second outside her personal best "which was at Manchester which is the fastest track in the world!"

While her initial reaction to the time is unprintable, Meares acknowledged it was good to end any doubts in her mind. "I've had lots of ups and downs, whether I was going to qualify, whether I was fit enough. Hopefully now the selectors will write my name down in ink on that ticket to Beijing! It's a kind of 'thank God!' feeling, it's really been uncertain the whole last five months.

I'm really pleased with that and I know that all the pain and the discomfort I've been through in the last couple of months and all the hard work that I've put in has started to pay off."

When asked if she now considered herself a realistic chance of a medal in the sprint at Beijing, she responded cautiously "it gives me a lot more confidence that I'm going to be in good enough condition to compete, and I've always had the mentality that I've got to go believing that I can win and now I really have the extra backing behind me having done that time. While I've given my rivals a head start, I think I've caught up a fair way, which is a good feeling. They'll all see this time and know I'm coming!"

Thuaux falls short

Meares' success came in stark contrast to an attempt by Phil Thuaux to claim a place in the endurance squad at the games. Faced with a 4000 metre individual pursuit qualifying time of 4 minutes 20, over two seconds under his personal best, Thuaux started strongly and appeared to be riding to coach Gary Sutton's schedule up to the halfway point, before falling behind in the final laps to record a time of 4:24.522.

A disappointed Thuaux was candid in his review of his ride. "Whether it is was a technical thing or whether it was a horsepower thing I don't know. Whether I just wasn't good enough or I didn't deliver it properly, four seconds is a bit of time. I suspect it's probably a bit of both."

Read the full report from Revolution 3.

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