Off the back of the Oceania track championships, the Australian women's endurance team has decamped to Adelaide for its first training camp under new coach Jason Bartram. After four year's in the men's endurance programme, Bartram took up his new role in July, replacing Gary Sutton, and is charged with guiding the squad to Olympic and Commonwealth Games success from next year.
For Bartram and his riders, the camp is the beginning of his push for gold medal success at the home 2018 Commonwealth Games in April and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Australian track nationals in early February will be another important event.
While the squad has undergone changes in recent years with retirements, the core of Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Rebecca Wiasak, Alex Manly and Georgia Baker assembled in Adelaide for the camp. Also at the camp is a group of riders Bartram believes will be crucial to long-term success on the track, Macey Stewart, Lauren Perry, Josie Talbot, Danielle McKinnirey, Nicola Macdonald, Chloe Moran and Kristina Clonan.
"This year is all about gaining momentum, momentum in the training environment," Bartram said. "It is exciting to see there are a few key areas where we can make great improvements and we believe we can close these gap to the current world's best.
"But to do this, it is about having consistent time with the team to actually focus on the gaps. And we find that when we race, when we have to travel to races on a regular basis, you are two, three weeks and you are mostly thinking about the next performance as opposed spending the time to be better in the longer term."
For Bartram, he believes that competition and high-level training is key for his riders and will pay off at international championships
"I really like having the critical mass of women racing, and to have our senior women mingling and merging and racing against the next crop coming through," he said. "By exposing them all together, it is the best way to get consistent growth within the endurance pathway."
For the likes of Annette Edmondson, a two-time world champion on the track and medallist at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, a change of coach and approach is one she is backing in the pursuit of further success on the velodrome.
"Change is good, it is exciting to change the routine and to look at some other sides of the sport that we weren't looking into as much before," said Edmondson, who also rides on the road with Wiggle-High5 and recently extended her contract. "This will shake things up and keep people on their toes to keep pushing to find the extra one percenters.
"I will take my time and build my fitness up properly, to make sure I am fit come January and from there, it is about getting some strong results in February at nationals and hopefully I can get into the Commonwealth Games team."
Rebecca Wiasak, a team pursuit reserve in Rio, has also welcomed the change with the two-time individual pursuit world champion focused on adding Commonwealth and Olympic gold to her palmares.
"Everything we do is with Tokyo in mind, with the Commonwealth Games a big target on the way," she said. "We have actually already made huge in roads at the camp over the past few weeks, we know that we don't have that much further go, but we have three years to achieve it.
"The disappointment of missing out in Rio, that fire continues to burn and it continues to fuel me every single day."
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