A golden summer on the boards

Ryan Bayley (l) and Shane Perkins

Ryan Bayley (l) and Shane Perkins (Image credit: Gerard Knapp)

An interview with Ryan Bayley and Shane Perkins

For Ryan Bayley and Shane Perkins incidents during the past two years at the AIS academy in Adelaide are a distant memory, and now it's simply a matter of hard work, plenty of learning and a hectic schedule for the 2005-06 track season. Cyclingnews' Les Clarke caught up with these two fast men for a chat.

Mark French and Jobie Dajka had been considered two of Australia's rising stars in track cycling, and until the scandals surrounding both these riders put them out of the sport [in Australia, at least] they represented part of the next generation of male sprinters following the likes of Shane Kelly and Brett Aitken to the top of the track sprinting tree. French was involved in a doping scandal before last year's Olympics, and earlier this year Dajka was involved in verbal and physical outbursts against the administration of the sport in the country.

Many observers saw this as an indication that something was wrong with the AIS programme, and the claims of these two athletes pointed to an institution aimed at developing strong working bonds within an elite group of riders that was in fact breeding something quite the opposite. That couldn't be further from the truth, says dual gold medallist Ryan Bayley, one the most experienced riders in the AIS squad. "It was only those two individuals," he says, "They made a decision to do what they did and that doesn't really reflect on us." This is something 19-year-old sprinter Shane Perkins believes, saying, "I just believe we're a lot better off at the moment. I think the group that we've got now has become kind of a little family to help each other through things. I wasn't around for very long beforehand, but I get the impression there were mind games and things like that going on, but now it's a lot better."

Bayley saw everything that went on and is philosophical about the effect of the actions of some individuals. "In the past there were a lot of head games being played - instead of people backing each other and supporting each other it was just a few stronger people trying to mess with the weaker people. It made things very difficult; obviously the programme received a bad rap because of the couple of idiots that went through the programme. It's a lot better now - the support's there and we help each other out. Unfortunately people still see the bad side of things, but we know where we've got to go - we just have to jump a few hurdles to get there sometimes."

For the full interview with Ryan Bayley and Shane Perkins, click here.

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