Merida-Flight Centre signs Willett

32-year-old aiming at London opportunity

Jodie Willett has joined the Merida Flight Centre elite mountain biking squad, with the aim of challenging for January’s Australian national title in Canberra. The 32-year-old single mother also has another big aim after starting the sport late in life: a spot on Australia’s Olympic Games squad for the 2012 event in the United Kingdom.

“It’s definitely a step up in professionalism for me and it will be great to have that extra support,” she said. “I want to keep riding until the next Olympics and ultimately I want to give something back to the sport.”

Queenslander Willett joins South Australian rider Terri Rhodes as a new signing to the squad ahead of Australia’s mountain biking season. The pair joined Victorian men Adrian Jackson and James Peacock in the four-person team.

Willett took up mountain bike racing in her late 20s after injuries curtailed her recreational running. Willett contested last month’s International Cycling Union (UCI) World Mountain Bike Championships in Canberra as a member of the Australian National Team.

Willett won the women’s race at the Flight Centre Cycle Epic in August. She was also the fastest female in the 2008 Mt Coot-tha challenge in Brisbane, finishing the 2.3km uphill time trial in nine minutes.

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