Alex Manly: I'm finally in a position to help the girls win big races

Alex Manly – the reigning Australian under-23 road race and time trial champion – says that she's excited about the 2019 season and that, having worked out a plan that will best combine her road and track ambitions, she'll be able to assist her Mitchelton-Scott teammates to win some major races next year.

Manly has always managed to combine both the road – for Mitchelton-Scott – and the track, representing Australia, but does neither by half.

The 22-year-old from Kalgoorlie, in Western Australia, won both the under-23 road race and time trial titles, for the second year in a row, at the road national championships in January, and has been a key member of her pro team's team time trial squad in 2018.

On the track, meanwhile, Manly was part of the South Australia team that won the team pursuit at the national championships in February, and then went on to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games in April, winning gold in the team pursuit.

"It can be difficult to jump between the two," Manly admitted on her team's website, "but I've gotten better at handling the jump over the years.

"This year I'm confident with the plan in place: I'll focus on the track leading into the track Worlds [in Poland, in late February and early March], and then head over to Europe to support the girls on the road.

"I really loved racing my bike with the girls this year," she continued. "It's super motivating to be in an environment where we are striving as a team to win every race we're competing in.

Manly's 2018 season was brought to an early close in mid-September when she crashed on stage 2 of the Madrid Challenge, fracturing her shoulder, which left her unable to represent Mitchelton-Scott in the team time trial at the road Worlds later that month.

However, as she recovers from the injury, Manly is looking ahead to what she hopes will be her best year yet.

"We've come a really long way since I first joined the team back in 2015," Manly said, having signed on for a fifth year with the team in 2019. "I feel like it's taken a while, but I'm finally in a position to contribute to the girls winning big races, and it's really exciting.

"For 2019, my main goal on the road is to assist the girls to win bike races," she said. "The other part of that goal is to be making smarter decisions to get in the final moves and be able to further help my teammates. On the track, my goal is to recover from my fractured shoulder over this next period to then be in a position to 'chase rainbows' at the World Champs in Poland."

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