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Glaetzer takes Track World Cup bronze a month after cancer diagnosis

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

A little over a month after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Matthew Glaetzer has taken the bronze medal in the men’s keirin at the UCI Track World Cup in Cambridge, New Zealand. The Australian underwent surgery in November to remove a cancerous growth and he said afterwards that he would continue to target the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Glaetzer missed the first three rounds of the Track World Cup in Minsk, Glasgow and Hong Kong, but he performed strongly in the keirin in Cambridge and will also take part in the Brisbane World Cup next week.

On Saturday, Glaetzer won his first and second heats in the keirin, before taking bronze in the final behind Azizul Awang (Malaysia) and Shane Perkins (Gazprom-Rusvelo). Given the circumstances, Glaetzer described it as the best third place of his career.

“It’s pretty surreal to be honest. It’s the best third place I’ve got in my career,” Glaetzer said.

“I exceeded my expectations by about three positions with this third place and very special in the considerations of what I’ve been through and it’s a credit to my team around me, just taking it one day at a time and not letting something get in your way.”

Glaetzer was diagnosed with cancer last month. He had felt soreness in his neck in October and initially thought he had strained his neck in strength training. Further testing revealed that he had thyroid cancer and he underwent surgery last month to remove the cancerous growth.

"I am thankful for the type of cancer that I do have and that it is treatable," Glaetzer said at the time.

Glaetzer will now ride in the Brisbane World Cup next week before undergoing radiotherapy treatment.

“That will give me a good picture as to what exactly we’re dealing with and from there assessing how many treatments I’ll need,” Glaetzer said in Cambridge on Saturday.

Glaetzer won gold in the individual sprint in the 2018 Track World Championships in Apeldoorn and in the team sprint in Melbourne in 2012. He placed 4th in both the individual and team sprint events at the Rio 2016 Olympics.