Shane Perkins, one of the Australians who will line up for the UCI Track World Cup in Melbourne, is looking at the event on November 20-22, as another second chance for his young career. Six weeks ago, Perkins became a father, and he's looking to make up for past mistakes and move beyond his troubled, past racing career.
Just 21-years-old now, Perkins became the third-youngest winner of a medal (bronze) at the Commonwealth Games at age 19; however, in the two years since then, he was cut from both the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS). Two alcohol-related incidents saw him punished with a ban that took him out of the competition loop in the run-up to the Olympic Games. Perkins was not selected to represent Australia in the Olympic Games in 2008.
"I concede that I was drunk and I was at a nightclub at three in the morning and just that in itself, I know now, is pointless," he said to theage.com.au about the incident that resulted in a ban earlier this season. "It was an argument with a guy who I was actually friends with, and then it got blown out of proportion."
Perkins was banned for three months by Cycling Australia, and VIS suspended his scholarship for six months – later reducing it to four months after Perkins agreed to do community service work with children.
The mother of Perkins' child, fiancée Kristine, is the sister of Australian sprint star Ryan Bayley who underwent a public falling out with Perkins earlier this year. Proving that people can change, Perkins characterized his improved relationship with his brother-in-law and fellow competitor as "neutral".
"I've made some mistakes, and I can't just stand here and say, 'Geez, I'm sorry'. The only way I can give something back is by giving them results," said Perkins of his new outlook.
Coming off the Oceania Track Championships in Adelaide this weekend with a win in the team sprint (with Daniel Ellis and Scott Sunderland) and the keirin and a second place in the individual sprint, Perkins looks poised for success going into the Melbourne World Cup. He his performances will help him make the Australian team selection for the UCI Track World Championships in Poland in March.
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.
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