AusCycling | Australia’s best cyclists are on their way to Birmingham to take on the Commonwealth

Australia’s best cyclists are on their way to Birmingham to take on the Commonwealth

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Sprint star Caleb Ewan heads a hot squad of 34 cyclists wheeling towards golden glory for Australia at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games beginning in late July.

A winner of five individual stages in the Tour de France, the aptly nicknamed “Pocket Rocket” is an explosive sprinter heading to his second Commonwealth Games after debuting in Glasgow in 2014.

The well-balanced Australian squad of Para and able-bodied cyclists, featuring 23 Team Members making their Games debut, and is tipped to thrive against top-flight riders from around the Commonwealth in cycling events which will be split between Birmingham and London.

Australia’s cyclists were dominant at the Gold Coast Games in 2018, claiming 14 golds from 23 medals won overall in 26 events. But this time England especially will provide formidable opposition with their familiarity with the courses where the cycling events will be held.

Adelaide’s Matthew Glaetzer and Rohan Dennis, along with Daniel McConnell from Canberra, are competing in their third Commonwealth Games.

Caleb Ewan, 27, is in the midst of a busy season after stating his desire to represent Australia in Birmingham following success in southern France earlier this year. He recently rode in the Giro d’Italia, another of road racing’s prestigious Grand Tours, and will look to star again in his fourth Tour de France, which begins on July 1, before heading to the United Kingdom for the Commonwealth Games.

Matthew Glaetzer is aiming for a hat-trick of Commonwealth Games gold medals in the Keirin after success at Glasgow in 2014 and the Gold Coast four years ago.

The 29-year-old sprinter, who has overcome thyroid cancer to return to international racing, also won the one-kilometre time trial on the Gold Coast. After winning the Keirin at the Australian Championships three months ago, he said he was still feeling some discomfort but looking forward to peaking in Birmingham.

“It doesn’t feel like I am at my best yet. I’m in a lot of pain all the time, but I am going fast, so I can’t complain,” Glaetzer said.

Matt Glaetzer 2018 Commonwealth Games
Matthew Glaetzer celebrates gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Picture: Michael Willson

“This is really just the first competition as I’m building into the season, so it is very encouraging to have such strong results very early.”

Alexandra Manly, 26, originally from Kalgoorlie and now living in Adelaide, is part of the Australian women’s road team after debuting on the Gold Coast four years ago on the track and taking gold in the women’s team pursuit.

“It’s an honour to be selected in the Australian Team for the Birmingham Games. It came as surprise, but I am very excited about the opportunity,” Manly said.

“Winning gold in the team pursuit at the Gold Coast Games will always be one of my fondest memories. To be selected in my second games is super special and this is my first Australian road team I’ve been selected in.”

Manly will ride alongside Grace Brown, Brodie Chapman, Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Sarah Roy in the women’s road race team, who looking to add to Australia’s golden history in the event, with Aussie riders winning gold at three of the last four Commonwealth Games.

On the boards of the velodrome, emerging star Maeve Plouffe is becoming a force. The 22-year-old has been in superb form this season and recently won a gold medal at the UCI Track Nations Cup in Canada. Balancing university studies with her cycling career, Plouffe showed great endurance in Canada and is confident of further improvement for her Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham.

Maeve Plouffe
Maeve Plouffe after winning gold at the recent Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup in Milton, Canada. Picture: UCI

Geelong’s Jessica Gallagher, 36, continues to display her immense sporting talents being named to her second Commonwealth Games, another chapter in her illustrious career. Legally blind due to Best's disease, a rare condition, Gallagher started to lose her eyesight when she was a teenager bringing a premature end to her promising netball career.

However, upon discovering Para-sport, Gallagher excelled, going on to represent Australia in alpine skiing at the Winter Paralympics winning bronze medals at the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Games, representing Australia in athletics at the London 2012 Summer Paralympics, before turning to Para-cycling. Her bronze medal victory in Para-cycling at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, meant Gallagher became the first Australian athlete to win medals at both a Summer and Winter Paralympics.

She then went on to compete at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, finishing second in the women’s Tandem 1000m Time Trial and Tandem Sprint events at the Games, she’s now looking to be bold in gold in Birmingham.

“It’s incredibly exciting. When I made the decision to return to cycling it was for the opportunity to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games,” Gallagher said.

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to find a wonderful tandem pilot, Caitlin Ward and be able to return to an environment with our coaching and support staff that has been so supportive. Being selected to represent Australia, like any athlete is a pinnacle of your career. It’s a reflection of the hard work and dedication to showcase what can be achieved.“

Commonwealth Games Australia Team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas OAM said the powerful cycling squad was one of the nation’s favourite teams. She is looking forward to their deeds in track and road cycling as well as on the mountain bike.

Dan McConnell 2018 Commonwealth Games
Dan McConnell at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Picture: Tim Bardsley-Smith

“This team includes returning Commonwealth Games gold medallists and highly experienced Australian representatives, as well as a group of talented cyclists making their debut and ready to take on the Commonwealth’s best at the Birmingham Games,” Thomas said.

“I know that they all will be working hard between now and the Games, ready to be bold, brave and brilliant in Birmingham. I wish them all the best for their preparations and competition, and hope they know we are all behind them.”

AusCycling CEO Marne Fechner knows the Cycling Team Members are ready to be bold, brave and brilliant in Birmingham.

“2022 has been a massive year for Australian cycling, and I’ve no doubt that the 34 athletes selected to the Australian Commonwealth Games team will make us proud and inspire the next generation of riders.

“It’s exciting to have a team that features such a strong mix of debutants and experienced athletes, who I know will wear the green and gold with passion and pride in Birmingham.

Commonwealth Games Australia 2022
Part of the track Australian Cycling Team Commonwealth Games team for Birmingham 2022. Picture: Commonwealth Games Australia

“I want to congratulate the athletes on their selection and thank Commonwealth Games Australia for their support over this Commonwealth Games cycle.”

Track cycling made its’ debut at the second edition of the Games in 1934 in London and has been on the program at every Games since. Track cycling at Birmingham 2022 will be held at The Lee Valley Velopark which was built for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Matthew Glaetzer can join an elite group of riders by becoming just the fourth track rider to win three consecutive gold medals in the same event at the Commonwealth Games after fellow Australians Gary Neiwand (sprint 1986, 1990, 1994), Brad McGee (individual pursuit 1994, 1998, 2002) and Anna Meares (time trial 2006, 2010, 2014).

Australia is aiming to continue its seven Games streak since Victoria 1994 as the top-ranked nation in track cycling at the Commonwealth Games.

Road racing is one of the toughest events at the Commonwealth Games with riders competing at the absolute limit of physical endurance just to get through the race. The men’s and women’s road races are mass start races with approximately 120 riders (men) and 50 riders (women).

The men’s road race traditionally has the highest number of entries of any individual event at a Commonwealth Games. The time trial’s status as a race that the rider contests alone has earned it the moniker ‘The race of truth’. Road cycling debuted at the Sydney 1938 British Empire Games. Australia will be looking to repeat their clean sweep of all four road cycling events at the last Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.

Part of the track Australian Cycling Team Commonwealth Games team for Birmingham 2022. Picture: Commonwealth Games Australia
Part of the track Australian Cycling Team Commonwealth Games team for Birmingham 2022. Picture: Commonwealth Games Australia

An area of outstanding natural beauty will give way to high-octane, thrill-a-minute drama during the mountain biking competition at Birmingham 2022. A cross-country course that includes a variety of terrain such as road sections, technical descents, steep climbs and single track awaits the competitors.

From a mass start, riders compete over a distance of 40 to 50kms for men and 30 to 40kms for women, comprising laps of between 4km and 6km. The first rider to cross the finish line is the gold medal winner. Mountain bike is the only cycling discipline in which Australia has never won a gold medal.

AusCycling EGM: Performance, Jesse Korf commented on the absence of Rebecca McConnell.

‘’The Commonwealth Games are wedged between two North American World Cups. Due to Rebecca's exceptional riding, she is placed first in the overall World Cup classification and this presents a conflict of schedule," Korf said.

"Bec loves to represent the Green and Gold and we are proud to see her perform at such a high level. Competing in the Commonwealth Games, however, would mean missing a World Cup and risking her standing in the overall standings.

"So for that reason, she indicated she would forego nomination. We are supportive of the decision given the opportunity she has, and look forward to seeing her in the green and gold in the future."

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held from Thursday 28 July to Monday 8 August. The Track Cycling events to take place at Lee Valley Velopark in London from Friday 29 July through to Monday 1 August.

The Mountain Bike events to take place Cannock Chase Forest on Thursday 3 August, the Road Time Trial event to take place at West Park, Wolverhampton Thursday 4 August, the Road Race event to take place at St Nicholas Park, Warwick on Sunday 7 August.


Australian Cycling Team – Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games:

Zoe CuthbertWomen’s Mountain Bike Cycling21DebutWatsonACT2602
Grace BrownWomen’s Road Cycling29DebutHawthornVIC3122
Brodie ChapmanWomen’s Road Cycling31DebutMt GloriousQLD4520
Alexandra ManlyWomen’s Road Cycling262nd (2018 – Gold: Women’s 4000m Team Pursuit)NairneSA5252
Ruby Roseman-GannonWomen’s Road Cycling23DebutBrunswickVIC3056
Sarah RoyWomen’s Road Cycling362nd (2018 – 5th: Women’s Road Race)St LeonardsConcordNSW
Georgia BakerWomen’s Track
Cycling – Endurance
272nd Games (2018 –
21st: Women’s Points Race)
PerthTAS7300
Kristina ClonanWomen’s Track Cycling – Sprint24DebutBuderimQLD4556
Sophie EdwardsWomen’s Track Cycling – Endurance22DebutTusmoreSA5065
Jessica GallagherWomen’s Para-Track Cycling – Tandem362nd Games (2018 –
2nd: Women’s Tandem 1000m Time Trial &
Women’s Tandem Sprint)
SeddonVIC3011
Breanna HargraveWomen’s Track Cycling - Sprint392nd Games (2014 –
Bronze: Women’s Tandem
1000m Time Trial (Pilot)
& Women’s Tandem
Sprint (Pilot))
Crafers WestSA5152
Alessia McCaigWomen’s Track Cycling – Sprint19DebutBendigoVIC3552
Chloe MoranWomen’s Track Cycling – Endurance23DebutRose ParkSA5067
Maeve PlouffeWomen’s Track Cycling – Endurance22DebutRose ParkSA5067
Alyssa PolitesWomen’s Track Cycling – Endurance19DebutDandenongVIC3175
Caitlin WardWomen’s Para-Track Cycling (Tandem Pilot)28DebutFrankston SouthVIC3199
Sam Fox

Men’s Mountain Bike Cycling

Men's Road Cycling

21DebutTrevallynTAS7250
Daniel McConnellMen’s Mountain Bike Cycling363rd Games (2014 – Bronze: Men’s Mountain Bike; 2018 – 7th: Men’s Mountain Bike)CoombsACT2611
Rohan DennisMen’s Road Cycling323rd Games (2010 – 6th: Men’s Individual Time Trial; 2014 – Silver: Men’s Individual Time Trial)Vale ParkSA5081
Caleb EwanMen’s Road Cycling272nd (2014 – 12th: Men’s Road Race)Moss ValeNSW2577
Luke Durbridge Men’s Road Cycling313rd Games (2010 – Bronze: Men’s Individual Time Trial, 11th: Points Race; 2014 - 9th: Men’s Individual Time Trial)GreenmountWA6056
Miles ScotsonMen’s Road Cycling282nd (2014 – 7th: Men’s Points Race)Evanston ParkSA5116
Tom CornishMen’s Track Cycling – Sprint22DebutMenaiNSW2234
Josh DuffyMen’s Track Cycling – Endurance21DebutInvermayTAS7248
Graeme FrislieMen’s Track Cycling – Endurance21DebutBacchus MarshVIC3340
Matthew GlaetzerMen’s Track Cycling – Sprint293rd (2014 – Gold: Men’s Keirin, Bronze: Men’s Team Sprint; 2018 – Gold: Men’s Keiren & 1000m Time Trial, Bronze: Men’s Team Sprint)ParadiseSA5075
Leigh HoffmanMen’s Track Cycling – Sprint22DebutWhyallaSA5600
Conor LeahyMen’s Track Cycling – Endurance23DebutSecret HarbourWA6173
James MoriartyMen’s Track Cycling – Endurance21DebutCarindaleQLD4152
Luke PlappMen’s Track Cycling – Endurance21DebutMaribyrnongVIC3032
Matthew RichardsonMen’s Track Cycling – Sprint23DebutWarwickWA6024
Beau WoottonMen’s Para-Track Cycling - Tandem23DebutAldinga BeachSA5173
Luke ZaccariaMen’s Para-Track Cycling (Tandem Pilot)29DebutLandsdaleWA6065

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