Perkins eager to race in Melbourne Track World Cup

Personal reasons to ride now, but illness may force him out

Australian Shane Perkins is eager to ride in the Track World Cup meet this week in Melbourne for a variety of reasons. The Commonwealth Games champion is eager to go up against the top British stars, such as Sir Chris Hoy, who missed the Games, and wants to show off in front of his home-town crowd. But his main reason is an event planned for the end of February, and the whole thing is made more complicated by a mystery illness he came down with a few weeks ago.

Actually there are two events on Perkins' agenda for that time period. One is the Manchester World Cup from February 18 to 20, in England. The other is the expected birth of his second child on February 25. There is no question as to which he would prefer to attend.

Under a new system, track riders build up qualifying points for the Olympic games through their results in World Cup events. If he is unable to ride in Melbourne due to his illness, he will have to ride in England to get the much-needed points.

"There is an interesting dilemma there because my wife is due with our second baby on about the 25th of February and if I miss out on Melbourne World Cup I have to potentially go to Manchester World Cup which is on the 18th to 20th of February," Perkins said. "So there is quite a lot of motivation to try and get right for this World Cup."

The 23-year-old won the gold medal in the sprint at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi this fall. Last week, however, he had to withdraw from the finals of the sprint at the Oceania championships after coach Sean Eadie found him "looking pretty pale, getting a bit shaky and sort of staring off into nothing," after qualifying.

He will consult with doctors and coaches this week before deciding whether to ride.

Perkins got on his bike Monday again for the first time, but still is not well, saying he is that he is still feeling tired. "It's a little bit worrying but I think it a combination of maybe a bit of gastro over there (in Adelaide) and also it being a long year, two years. I haven't had a break yet so it's probably just the body telling me it needs a bit of a rest."

"I have got three weeks due after Melbourne World Cup so that's quite comforting knowing that if I can get myself through the World Cup then I have got three weeks off, which is the longest I have had off in the last two and a half years so I am looking forward to that.

The next stop of the UCI Cycling World Cup Classics is scheduled to be held in Melbourne December 2 to 4.

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