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Top riders represent Australia

03 Feb 06 06:44


Kathy Watt is Australia’s most prolific Games Cycling medal winner from her three appearances in 1990, 1994 and 1998.

Australia has named a Cycling team led by World, Olympic and Commonwealth champions as the 33 member squad takes to the Track, Road and Mountain in search of gold.


Australian Commonwealth Games Association chairman Perry Crosswhite says the selection is one to be reckoned with.


“The Australian Track squad is number one in the world, and our Road and Mountain bike riders are also feared by the opposition,” he said. “It is particularly pleasing that the team comprises the established stars, along with the next generation of Australian cyclists.”


The women’s Road team includes two Olympic Champions in Sara Carrigan, the 2004 Athens gold medalist and Kathryn Watt, who 12 years earlier claimed gold on the road at the Barcelona Olympic Games.


Watt is Australia’s most prolific Commonwealth Games Cycling medal winner with four gold, one silver and one bronze from her three appearances in 1990, 1994 and 1998.


World ranked number one Oenone Wood, World Cup round winner Rochelle Gilmore and seasoned professionals Olivia Gollan and Natalie Bates have also made the cut, while Alexis Rhodes, who made a courageous comeback after suffering horrific injuries in the German road accident last year has also been named.


On the Road for the men, European-based professionals dominate with Allan Davis, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Ben Day and William Walker being joined by American pro team rider Nathan O’Neill.


Australia has also named a Track team which reaffirms their status as the world’s number one Track Cycling nation.


Dual Athens gold medalist Ryan Bayley, world record holder and Olympic champion Anna Meares, and dual Manchester Commonwealth Games champion Kerrie Meares will head up the Sprint team.


The Meares sisters and the selection of Natalie and Kate Bates brings to five the number of sets of siblings selected so far for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games team.


They’ll race alongside 2005 World Cup Kilometre Series winner Ben Kersten and 2004 Junior World Champion Shane Perkins, joining four time World Champion and 1994 and 1998 Commonwealth Games Time Trial gold medalist Shane Kelly.


In the endurance ranks, reigning Pursuit World Champion Katie Mactier and Manchester 2002 gold medalist Kate Bates have the women’s events covered.


And World Championship Teams Pursuit gold medalists Stephen Wooldridge, Peter Dawson and Ashley Hutchinson will line up in the men’s competition, joined by rising stars Matthew Goss, Mark Jamieson and Sean Finning. 


On the Mountain, the Australian team includes two Olympians, Sid Taberlay and Josh Flemming, as well as Chris Jongewaard who conquered the Lysterfield circuit to earn selection.


Claire Baxter, Emma Colson and Dellys Starr have been selected for the women’s Mountain Bike.


The competitors in individual events have yet to be finalised, but the Australians have a strong base from which to build on a Commonwealth record which includes 64 gold, 47 silver and 30 bronze medals since 1938.


The Australian Cycling team includes:


Natalie Bates, Sara Carrigan, Rochelle Gilmore, Olivia Gollan, Alexis Rhodes, Kathryn Watt, Oenone Wood, Allan Davis, Ben Day, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Nathan O’Neill, William Walker, Claire Baxter, Emma Colson, Dellys Starr, Josh Fleming, Chris Jongewaard, Sid Taberlay, Katherine Bates, Katie Mactier, Anna Meares, Kerrie Meares, Ryan Bayley, Peter Dawson, Sean Finning, Matthew Goss, Ashley Hutchinson, Mark Jamieson, Shane Kelly, Ben Kersten, Shane Perkins and Stephen Wooldridge.


They’ll take to the Track at the Multi-Purpose Venue, the State Mountain Bike Course in Lysterfield and the streets of Melbourne and St Kilda in pursuit of Games gold from 16 – 26 March.

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