Watching a stage of the Tour de France with an uncle.
Taking a cycling club flyer at the Tour Down Under.
Tagging along in the car with your family to watch your brother ride BMX.
Following Dad on a Sunday ride because you wanted to know where he was going.
Taking part in a school talent identification testing program.
At the time, these things were just all part of being a kid at school, a sports fan, or just hanging out with the family.
But for five young Australian cyclists, these first steps into cycling have taken them all the way to London for the 2016 UCI Track World Championships.
The rookie quintet – who will don the green and gold for the first time at an elite World Championships having all claimed junior world titles – is sprinter Patrick Constable (SA), 20, plus endurance riders Georgia Baker (TAS), 21, Sam Welsford (WA), 20, Callum Scotson (SA), 19, andAlex Porter (SA), 19.
Constable joined the HPU Track Sprint program late in 2015 and broke through for a maiden World Cup gold medal in January in Hong Kong. Six years ago, a trip to watch the Tour Down Under in his home town of Adelaide changed his life forever.
“I was always pretty interested in riding a bike but didn’t know how to get involved,” said Constable. “Then while watching the Tour Down Under in 2010, I picked up a flyer which directed me to talent ID testing here at the velodrome and it went from there.
“Initially I started off in road riding, but I tested pretty well for sprinting and I have grown to love the match sprint especially, I just love going fast.
Men’s endurance team members Sam Welsford and Callum Scotson were introduced to cycling by a family member in different circumstances.
“I would always wonder where Dad was going and what he would do when he got back and then at about eight I started going too!” said Perth’s Welsford who is now based in Adelaide with the HPU men’s track endurance program.
“Then I started off with some basic riding, 20km rides, then started racing. I think my first race was on a mountain bike and I got pretty destroyed, but it was great fun.”
Callum Scotson got into road and track cycling after following older brother Miles around as he raced BMX as a young kid.
“As soon as started in club races, and I started to get some wins, I was hooked!,” said Scotson, who edged his brother for the under 23 road time trial national title last January. “Everyone likes to win, but I really liked the feeling of achieving.”
Adelaide’s Porter only took up cycling four years ago at age 15, getting hooked after staying up late with his uncle to watch the best battle it out in France, before being pigeon holed for cycling after talent ID testing.
“I thought I would give it a crack, watched the Tour de France when it was going through one of the cobble stages and I thought it looked so cool,” said Porter. “So when they said I would be suited for cycling, I jumped at it,” said Porter.
Likewise, Georgia Baker came through the school Talent ID testing in her home state of Tasmania.
“I was selected for cycling, went out on the velodrome, and remembered riding fast just to not slip down the banks and it felt like my front wheel was slipping the whole way around,” said Baker who will line up in Australia’s defending world champion team pursuit outfit in London.
“As nerve wracking as it was, as soon as I hopped on I loved it and here I am at Worlds now!”
ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
The UCI Track Cycling World Championships will be held at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark from 2-6 March 2016. Website >>> trackcyclingworlds2016.london
19 events will be decided at the Championships including all ten Olympic events – sprint, keirin, team pursuit, team sprint and omnium. Schedule
- Meet the Team > Team Australia Hub
- Team News > 2016 Track World News
- Follow > Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Snapchat / YouTube #aussiecycling #TWC2016
- Live – SBS2 or via online stream @ CyclingCentral
- Highlights – Sunday 13 March @ 4pm on SBS