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Top Aussie regional riders head for Rockhampton

A top-quality field of Australian track riders is set to light up the Kenrick Tucker Velodrome in Rockhampton on Friday January 20 and Saturday January 21 at the 2006 CQU Rockhampton Cup. A big contingent of interstate riders be part of the field of over 125 competitors coming to the beef capital of Australia for two days of fast and furious track cycling.

Joining the line up of riders from interstate is 29 year old Darren Young. Originally from Tasmania, 29 year old Young's career highlights include various six-day events in 2004 and 2005 and representing Australia at track World Cups in 2002 and 2003. He is a regular on the carnival circuit and has won numerous Madison titles, including the illustrious Bendigo Madison in 2001. He has also won many major wheelraces including the Austral Wheelrace, the Sid Patterson Wheelrace and the Bendigo Golden Mile.

Todd Wilksch is also a carnival circuit regular with his most recent winnings coming from the Hobart Carnival on 8th January, winning the Keirin. Wilksch also represents at the state championships level, having won 27 Victorian Championships between 1990 and 2006.

Also making their annual pilgrimage to Rockhampton are the Hopkins brothers, Jeff and Shaun. Shaun won the prestigious CQU Rockhampton Cup on Wheels in 1996 whilst Jeff has won it three times (in 1999, 2000 and 2002). The brothers both enjoy the carnival atmosphere that Rocky provides as well as catching up with family whilst in town.

Several top Australia women riders are busy elsewhere this weekend, with Kerrie Meares and Chloe Macpherson representing Australia at the track World Cup in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, what the women's field lacks in major international competitors it will make up in youth and up and coming riders.

NSW is sending north Liz Georgouras (Bicisport), a 2006 Australian representative at the Oceania Championships in Wanganui, New Zealand. Georgouras came to track cycling in 2002 in a talent identification program run by the Australian Institute of Sport - the same talent program that introduced Rockhampton Cycling Club member Alex Bright to cycling.

She will have strong competition from Bright and in form rider Anouska Edwards, who is coming off a successful State Championships in Brisbane earlier this month, collecting gold in the elite women's 3000m individual pursuit and elite women's 25km points score.

The feature women's event, the Herron Todd White Capricornia Cup could be anyone's race this year without the Olympians taking up the scratch marks and the winner may even come from middle markers.

Up and coming riders in the junior ranks include Courtney LeLay who is also coming off a highly successful state championship campaign, taking out Gold in all U19 women's events and collecting two silver medals to Edwards in the combined women 10km scratch race and combined women 25km points score.

All the action kicks off on Friday night at 6pm and Saturday from 3pm with the main races commencing at approximately 7pm, including the CQU Rockhampton Cup and the Herron Todd White Capricornia Cup.

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