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Australian Commonwealth Games team named

By David Olle in Melbourne

By the banks of the Yarra river and a bend in the Commonwealth Games Road course, the 33-strong Australian Cycling Team to contest the 2006 Commonwealth Games was officially announced on Friday afternoon. Four athletes were present to share in the limelight of the presentation: Alexis Rhodes, Katherine Bates, Chris Jongewaard and Ben Kersten.

The women's road team includes two Olympic road champions in Sara Carrigan and Kathy Watt. This is Kathy Watt's fourth Comm Games selection and her medal bag brims with four gold, one silver and one bronze from appearances in '90, '94 and '98. There are also two pairs of siblings in the cycling team, Meares and Bates, bringing to five the total for the whole Australian Comm Games team.

The men's road team is becoming increasingly difficult for selectors as Australia's ranks swell in the European peloton, but good hometown performances in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under and National's ensured the choices of Allan Davis, Simon Gerrans, Matt Hayman, Ben Day and William Walker. Nathan O'Neill is selected for the time trial. Gerrans is having a shoulder reconstruction after crashing in the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise, but is hopeful that he will recover in time for the Games.

Australia is the number one ranked track cycling nation in the world, with the Games team comprising dual Athens gold medallist, Ryan Bayley; world record holder and Olympic champion, Anna Meares; dual Manchester Commonwealth Games champion, Kerrie Meares; 2005 World Cup Kilometre Series winner, Ben Kersten; and 2004 Junior World Champion, Shane Perkins, who will join four time World Champion, 1994 and 1998 Commonwealth Games Time Trial gold medallist Shane Kelly, who has been selected for his third Commonwealth Games team, to make up the sprint group.

Chris Jongewaard, who won the first of two auto-selection races for the MTB team, was clearly pleased with the black and white selection policy, after being nominated for Athens in 2004, before being stood down after a challenge was upheld. Sid Taberlay won the second auto-selection race with 2004 Olympian Josh Fleming making up the three man squad. The three women selected for MTB are all fresh to the role, with Dellys Starr (nee Franke), Emma Colson and Claire Baxter all having their first Games outing.

Alexis Rhodes, a survivor of the women's road incident in Germany last year, made special mention of the effect Amy Gillett had had on her, as such a strong role model, and felt that Amy's memory would always be a driving part of the women's road team, wherever they line up.

It should be noted here that although the athletes have been named by discipline, they may, at the discretion of team management coaches, be entered in other disciplines.

Team roster

Road Cycling


Natalie Bates (25, NSW)
Sara Carrigan (25, Qld)
Rochelle Gilmore (24, NSW)
Olivia Gollan (32, NSW)
Alexis Rhodes (21, SA)
Kathryn Watt (41, Vic)
Oenone Wood (25, ACT)


Allan Davis (25, Qld)
Ben Day (27, Qld)
Simon Gerrans (25, Vic)
Mathew Hayman (27, ACT)
Nathan O'Neill (31, Qld)
William Walker (25, Vic)

(A 'shadow' group of male road cyclists was also named. These are reserves, only to be selected if any of the above are unavailable)
Gene Bates ( SA), Shaun Higgerson (NSW), Aaron Kemps (Qld), Chris Sutton (NSW), Russell Van Hout (SA)

Mountain Biking


Claire Baxter (24, Vic)
Emma Colson (37, Vic)
Dellys Starr (26, Vic)


Josh Fleming (30, NSW)
Chris Jongewaard (26, SA)
Sid Taberlay (26, Tas)

Track Cycling


Katherine Bates (23, NSW)
Katie Mactier (30, Vic)
Anna Meares (22, Qld)
Kerrie Meares (23, Qld)


Ryan Bayley (23, WA)
Peter Dawson (24, WA)
Sean Finning (21, Vic)
Matthew Goss (19, Tas)
Ashley Hutchinson (26, Qld)
Mark Jamieson (21, Tas)
Shane Kelly (34, Vic)
Ben Kersten (24, NSW)
Shane Perkins (20, Vic)
Stephen Wooldridge (28, NSW)

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