Australia’s new-look women’s team’s pursuit outfit will probably have to break a world record to beat Great Britain when the track cycling program gets underway next Thursday.
But our girls are not fazed by this fact: they’ve done it before, at the February world cup, and also the world championships in Melbourne in April – only to see Great Britain eclipse their mark both times.
Melissa Hoskins, 21, and Annette Edmondson, 20, who were part of the silver medal trio in Melbourne fronted the media today, along with 19-year-old Amy Cure of Tasmania.
“We are looking forward to getting the world record back,” Hoskins said. “We have more motivation being on Britain’s home soil, it will be a head-to-head battle.”
Edmondson agreed: “We did a personal best by 2.5 seconds which was a huge deal for us, let alone the end result,” she said. “And that gave us more motivation to get them back at the Olympics.”
The Australians first broke the world record with a time of 3min.17.053sec in February, and then lowered their time to 3:16.943 in Melbourne.
But the Brits were equal to the task, winning the world championships gold medal with a time of 3:15.720.
Coach Gary Sutton said the Australians were primed for a big result in London.
“I believe they have improved right across the board since Melbourne,” said.
“All the data and testing we have been doing shows that, and they have had a fantastic preparation in Italy, and also in Switzerland.”
Sutton said the only unknown factor for our women was competing at an Olympics for the first time.
“But I have every confidence in them because they have handled themselves so professionally, both on and off the bike,” he said. “They know what they have do to and what they are in for.”
Sutton also said that the team pursuit competition was expected to be very close with only 1.5 seconds separating four teams – Great Britain, Australia, the Netherlands and Canada.
“Great Britain will be favourite, but the Dutch could be the smoky because they didn’t send their A team to Melbourne,” he said.
Hoskins, Edmondson and Cure will be joined by Josephine Tomic, 23, in the 3000m team pursuit event, but only three of the girls are on the track at any one time.
Michael Stevens - olympics.com.au, Saturday, 28 July 2012