World junior pursuit record holder Dale Parker is back on his bike after being cleared to race by a Sport SA tribunal on December 23rd. He finished 15th at the national championship road race won by Ben Dyball in Ballarat, in what was his first appearance with the jersey of his new team Trek-Livestrong.
“I’m pretty happy with this 15th place today”, Parker told Cyclingnews on the finishing line. “I didn’t know exactly what my form was.” The other Trek-Livestrong Australian rider Joe Lewis put up a strong performance as he took the bronze medal. “But I was aiming at gold”, he admitted.
Following the path of another promising cyclist from South Australia, Tom Roe who is now with BMC, Parker had secured a contract with Lance Armstrong’s development squad but his future as a cyclist was placed in parenthesis when he was involved in a drink driving incident near Adelaide in November. He pleaded guilty, was fined and ordered to pay court costs and levies, and a sport tribunal in South Australia suspended half of the 16-week ban he received after the incident, which allowed him to race again from January 1.
Allegedly affected by what occurred, the 18-year-old has nonetheless quickly shown on his bike that he retains the potential to become a great champion in the future. However, the gold medallist for team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games will not ride on the track this year. “I hope to come back for the London Olympics”, he said. “But this year, I’ll build endurance on the road with a solid program in the US and in Europe as well, including the U23 Paris-Roubaix and I hope to be stronger on the track after that.”