It sounds idyllic, riding your bike in the city of lights, but for eight Aussie women it’s more like lots of hard work for the next couple of days, as they take on the world’s best in the 2015 UCI Track Cycling World Championships.
There are three female sprinters and five female endurance riders representing Australia so I thought it would be nice to profile them here, because although Anna Meares in a household name the other seven aren’t quite so well known, at least not beyond the cycling community.
The three sprinters are Anna Meares, Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch and the five endurance riders are Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure, Melissa Hoskins, Annette Edmondson and Rebecca Wiasak.
Anna Meares, aged 31 of SA doesn’t really need an introduction. She was a gold medallist at the London Olympics and has countless other accolades. And if you’re wondering why she has such short hair, it’s not about being more aero, but because she shaved her head last year to raise money for the Little Heroes Foundation. A true champion on and off the track.
Stephanie Morton, aged 24 of SA has been described as Anna’s successor on the track. She has won national and international cycling titles, and was Felicity Johnson’s tandem pilot at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, where she won a gold medal.
Kaarle McCulloch, aged 26 of NSW has paired up with Anna Meares on a number of occasions as a formidable sprint team. She dreamt of representing Australia at the Olympics when she was a promising middle distance runner. But as McCulloch’s motivation in track and field began to flail, she started track cycling and found another way to fulfil the Olympic dream.
Ashlee Ankudinoff, aged 24 of NSW like most endurance track riders is also a road cyclist. She came from a triathlon background, but juggling the three disciplines along with studying whilst at school became too demanding so she focused on cycling both track and road. She’s a complete overachiever in other sports and has competed at a state level in hockey, nippers and athletics and triathlon at a national level.
Amy Cure, aged 22 of Tasmania is also a road rider and rides for the Dutch Lotto Belisol Ladies Team. Amy joined a select group with her victory in the women’s 25 km points race at the track cycling world championships in Colombia in March last year so I assume she’ll be defending that title this time around.
Melissa Hoskins, 23 of WA recently won the Tour Down Under women’s series second and final race and came second overall. She is a member of the Orica-AIS road team. I thought it was really sweet when she tweeted that Rohan Dennis (her partner who recently won the Tour Down Under) was fuelled by her great cooking.
Annette Edmondson, 22 of SA rides on the road for the Wiggle Honda team that she is joining this year. Known as Nettie she will have plenty of support on hand in the track cycling team with her brother Alex Edmondson also riding endurance events. She began cycling after she was identified by the SA Institute of Sport as having the physical attributes of a cyclist after completing a range of measurements and physical activities at school. After winning multiple junior national and Oceania titles, Nettie claimed her first senior national title in 2011 in the omnium. And she’s smart too. She got a TER of 99.0 in year 12, and is interested in studying medicine and volunteering in areas of need following a successful track and road cycling career.
Rebecca Wiasak, 30 of ACT is an exceptional all round athlete who did well at a number of sports prior to taking up cycling. She was first lured to the track in November 2011 and she was a member of the team which set a new Australian Record in the 4000m Team Pursuit at the World Cup in Aguascalientes in November 2013. Her ultimate goal is racing the Team Pursuit at the 2016 Olympic Games.
And you can watch the action live on SBS2 in the wee small hours of the morning, or you can do what I’m planning to do and record it to watch at a more civilised hour.