On day one, Alex Edmondson became the individual pursuit champion of Australia. On day two, he was part of the winning South Australian team – the one that caught NSW in the final yet still finished in 3:58.387. On day three, he watched the likes of Meares and Glaetzer do their sprinting thing. And on day four he is going back to the track to have a crack at the points race.
We spoke to Edmondson between track sessions and the national championships in Adelaide. Here’s a transcript of that chat…
On the eve of the final night…
RIDE: Are you racing again soon?
Alex Edmondson: “Yeah, later tonight. But today I drove 45 minutes to the velodrome to find out that they’d cancelled the [qualifying] heats so I got there and pretty much had to just come back home.
“It wasn’t the best way to start the day off, especially when it’s 40 degrees.”
So did you get our for a ride after that?
“I ended up just jumping on the track so it wasn’t too bad. I made the most of being down there. I managed to get on my points bike for the first time in a while on the track. And it’s going to be a big night tonight, I think.
Was it difficult to adjust out of pursuit position?
“Yeah, of course. I think it’s totally different. I got on my points bike tonight and just the position from being so aero and down low and tucking on the pursuit bike to, all of a sudden, being upright… and that sort of thing. But it’s one of those things where you’ve just got to deal with it for 150 laps. And I’ll think about the pain after that.”
Who are your main rivals tonight?
“Ah, I think there’s a hell of a lot. There’s not just one or two. It’s going to be a big field, I think there’s 24 of us. So, with the likes of Jack Bobridge making his return to the track, you can never count him out. He’s always got that fighting spirit and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t go out there and try and take a couple of laps, but there are still some of the NSWIS boys and there are a lot of us, I think there’s about seven from South Australia. That’s a lot of people, so you can’t really discount anyone.
“I think it’s going to make for a pretty exciting race.”
And of course Glenn O’Shea is firing and you’d expect him to be part of the action tonight again too…
“He’s always really handy in a bunch race too. That’s what I’m saying, you can’t discount anyone, we don’t know who it’s going to be – and that’s just the group from South Australia. Glenn rode the scratch race last and got a silver [behind Scott Law, NSW] so I know he’s pretty motivated to try and turn that into a gold.
“It’s going to be a massive sufferfest. It’s going to be full gas the whole way.”
And what have been your highlights of the last few days? There’s been a lot of things happening on the track.
“For me, the team pursuit was pretty special. Being able to come together from not being so good in the qualifying to, all of a sudden, being able to ride a sub-four minute ride – that’s always pretty special. It’s one of those ones when you can share it with the team. It’s an amazing feeling when you can pull something off like that where everyone is putting in 100 per cent and you come away with a nice time like that.
“But also I was pretty stoked with the IP. I always wanted to knock that off, it was a bit of a shame… I was not upset but I’d like to have gone and done a sub-4:20 but c’est la vie. With where I’m at at the moment, with not having too much track behind me recently, it’s pretty exciting coming into a hopeful worlds.”
“I rode a 4:22 in the qualifying and a 4:20.3 in the final…
“It’s pretty exciting to now really be able to start the speed work and hopefully I’ll make the worlds and it’ll pay dividends by then.”
You beat Alex Morgan in the final. He’s got some courage, hasn’t he?
“Yeah, I think he’s one rider who will never go down without a fight. I knew it was going to be a hard final and he’s come ahead in leaps and bounds. He’s going to be a big guy to watch in the future. He’s only 19 years of age, so it’s pretty exciting for cycling in Australia.”
What about when you caught the NSW team that you were up against in the final, did that upset your rhythm? How would it have gone if you didn’t have to go around them?
“Normally, when you catch someone they give up, but I think New South Wales decided to give it a bit more of a squirt. We were stuck nearby for a lap-and-a-half or two laps so of course we were going a longer way around and we would have lost a fair bit of speed, but it’s one of those ones where that can happen.
“We didn’t get the time we probably wanted to but we’ve still got to be happy with what we did.”
I always bring it up, because I remember being in Sydney when four-minutes was broken for the first time [Germany, Olympic final 2000] but the fact that you guys were tracking at around 3:56 just blows me away… especially when I look at the photos. You didn’t have any bootie covers or anything like that.
“Yeah, that’s right. And because the UCI has bought in all these new rules about being too aerodynamic. A point that came out was about these new shoes that were really aero, they ended up banning them so the company went back and said: ‘Well, why can people have booties?’ And then all of a sudden, the UCI has banned booties.
“On the road, you can wear booties but on the track you can’t anymore.
“There are all these small rules that all just seem that, ah, a little bit stupid. But that’s what we’ve got to do: go with the guidelines. Everyone has got to deal with the same thing and I think a state team being able to ride a sub-four minute pursuit is pretty phenomenal.
“It all just comes down to Tim Decker. I think we’re so lucky here in South Australia to have Tim there. It showed in the juniors: they were able to ride a 4:07! It shows the depth we have here. Most teams could only put one team in but we had four: two juniors and two seniors so if you think about that sort of thing it’s clear we’re going well with the South Australian Sports Institute and Tim Decker. It’s very exciting.”
Well done for summing all that up because it’s clearly going well. How is the crowd down there, is it alive and vibrant?
“It’s been good. Here in Adelaide we seem to suffer a little bit with getting a crowd. They all try to promote it and put it out there in so the public can see what it’s all about and it’s not been too bad this time. Sometimes you sit there on the bike and you can see 15 or 20 people at the track but it’s been a good atmosphere and the crowds have seen some awesome times.
“The championships records are getting broken.
“Matt Glaetzer rode a sub-10 for his flying 200 the other day, for example.
“It’s been a pretty exciting championships.”