Strong field to contest Australian omnium titles

A strong of former and current world champions across the track will contest the Australian omnium titles Friday at Melbourne's DISC Velodrome. In the men's field, former omnium world champion Leigh Howard is hunting a maiden national title and will up against the likes of Cameron Meyer and defending champion Alex Porter.

The women's field also features several contenders for the green and gold jersey including defending champion Amy Cure along with former winners Ashlee Ankudinoff, Annette Edmondson, and Danielle McKinnirey.

"I was world champion quite a few years ago it was a different format back then and my riding style was also quite different back then, so it is going to be interesting with all bunch racing," said Howard, who won the omnium rainbow jersey in 2009. "It can be good for me and it can be hard as I am missing a bit of that top end speed, but I think the format suits me reasonably well."

Having been training with the Australian team pursuit squad in the lead into the championships, Porter has been in close quarters with several of his rivals and expects anything but an easy race.

"I have really been looking forward to trying to defend my title and to win it two years in a row is definitely something I want to do," said Porter. "It is definitely going to be tough with such a quality field and everyone is on some really good form at the moment and it just makes it that little bit more exciting knowing you are racing not just the best in Australia but some of the best in the world.

"I think it is going to be very aggressive with a lot of attacks. It will be a really high pace in the points and tempo races, there will be a lot of people trying to get points but then you have the likes of Cam Meyer, Callum Scotson and Jordan Kerby who are good long endurance riders who will want to make the race tough."

The likes of Sam Welsford, Kelland O'Brien and Rohan Wight will also be up against Porter. Welsford placed seventh in the omnium at the Worlds in April.

A junior omnium world champion in 2015, along with silver in the team pursuit, McKinnirey has witnessed the changes to the event in recent years but is not sure exactly what to expect from Friday

"When I won it, it was a different format so I'm not too sure how I will go with the new four-event format, so I'm just going in looking to learn and see how I go," said McKinnirey. "I haven't ridden with everyone in such a big field with everyone on form and I hope to take as much as I can from the racing. To have 20 riders racing it is exciting to see how the fields are growing."

Georgia Baker, Alex Manly of Orica-Scott and Kristina Clonan will also line out for the championships.

The omnium is held separately to the Australian national track championships which take place February at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane. The Australian madison championships will held 16 December at Hisense Area in Melbourne.

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