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Team pursuit attempts fall short
Brett Lancaster and Brent Dawson were on opposite sides of the globe, but both were aiming for a place in the Australian team pursuit squad to compete at the Commonwealth Games In Manchester this July.
During the Saturday evening session at the Australian National Track Championships, Dawson made his attempt to break the qualifying time of 3.22.50 for a 3 kilometre solo effort.
In Dawson's case, because the temperature inside the Dunc Gray velodrome in Sydney was above 24 degrees, he had to beat a corrected time of 3.21.54. However, Dawson posted a 3.24 and failed in his bid to record a qualifying time for selection in the Australian squad for the Commonwealth Games.
So far, seven Australian riders have posted qualifying times, including Brad McGee, Luke Roberts, Mark Renshaw, Stephen Wooldridge, Ashley Hutchinson, Graeme Brown and Peter Dawson.
Across the globe, Brett Lancaster, the 22 year old former junior world champion from the Victorian country town of Shepparton, travelled from his iteamNova.com team base in Belgium to England to ride the trial on the Manchester Velodrome.
Lancaster, who was a member of the Australian pursuit team at the Sydney Olympics, won the gold medal in the teams pursuit at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998 and was keen to defend the crown in July.
Lancaster rode three trials. The first time he rode in mid afternoon was 3min29.79 for the 3000m. "I tried again with a bigger gear, 180mm cranks, an hour later but called it off when I couldnít get on top of it," he explained.
At 9.30pm local time, after waiting for a clear track, he put in one more effort and posted his fastest time 3min29.15.
"I really donít understand it," he said after the trial. "Iím fit and healthy and I was feeling really strong but the lack of specific track work has let me down."
"Thatís the time thatís been set and I didnít do it so itís probably the end of my Commonwealth Games chances," he admitted.
Lancasterís campaign for a Commonwealth Games berth has been fraught with mishaps. He had planned to put in the track work to do a trial in Australia after racing in the Jacobís Creek Tour Down Under. However, his iteamNova.com team mate, David McKenzie, was ruled out of the Tour de Langkawi after a crash during training in early January and Lancaster was added to the start list.
"I wasnít originally down to ride in Malaysia but even that would have been okay if I hadnít caught a bug while I was over there," said Lancaster. "I had rescheduled my plans to do the trial after Langkawi but instead I spent two weeks in bed getting over a virus."
Without access to a velodrome in the days leading up to the trial Lancaster made do with training efforts along the Belgian canal system.
"I used Russell Downingís (iteamNova.com) ergo trainer a few times but I blew the fuses on it so it was back to the canal."
He arrived in Manchester the morning of the trial as did his Cycling Australia issue BT pursuit bike.
"The bike was delayed at Heathrow for a few days which meant we had a rush job to put it together and set it up," he said. "It wasnít perfect preparation but thereís no excuses because thatís just how it goes."
"I really wanted to consolidate a road career this year so I will now concentrate on that with the view to coming back full on for the pursuit in Athens in 2004."
The positive aspect of yesterdayís trial is that Lancaster is in form for the Circuit des Mines stage race which starts on Wednesday in France.
"Stage 3 is a 25 kilometre individual time trial and Iím pretty confident Iíll do well in that," Lancaster said.