Australian track cycling stars Anna Meares and Shane Perkins say the world championships venue reminds them of their early days in the sport.
Anna Meares and Shane Perkins hope the days they spent cutting their teeth on outdoor regional velodromes pays off at the world track cycling championships.
The championships venue in Cali, Colombia is not the usual sterile indoor environment, with strong wind gusts buffeting the riders.
Meares, Perkins and the rest of the Australian team were able to complete their last training session on Monday before a downpour caused leaking water on the velodrome.
“The wind changes its mind every five minutes, which makes it fun choosing wheels. But at the end of the day, everyone has to put up with it,” said Perkins, a two-time world track champion.
“On the up side, it reminds me of growing up on the Christmas carnivals circuit on regional tracks or racing out at Northcote (on the old outdoor velodrome), so I am looking forward to it.”
Likewise, Meares started her stellar career on outdoor velodromes around regional Queensland.
“I am banking on my experiences … dealing with all sorts of weather conditions, wind and rain and of course delays,” Meares said.
“I think I am quite well versed in that area, so for me now it is a case of reminding myself of that fact.”
Australian sprint coach Gary West said the team was dealing with the conditions well after 52 hours of travel to Colombia.
“The first few days were a bit rusty, which was to be expected with the long flight, and the different environment here, but it was a really good final session today and really pleased with what as executed,” West said.
“Today they all appeared to be a lot more confident, and we always knew that the longer we were here, the more they are exposed to the elements on the track, the more comfortable they would become.
“There were times today, particularly in the team sprint efforts, when it got a little windy but they got through it and they were joking about it at the end.”
The worlds start on Wednesday, with Perkins combining with Daniel Ellis and Matthew Glaetzer in the team sprint.
Meares, a 10-time world champion, is back at the championships after last year’s post-Olympics break.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist’s campaign starts on Thursday with her signature event, the 500m time trial.
Meares broke her own world record in the 500 late last year.