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.
“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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
|Zoe Cuthbert||Women’s Mountain Bike Cycling||21||Debut||Watson||ACT||2602|
|Grace Brown||Women’s Road Cycling||29||Debut||Hawthorn||VIC||3122|
|Brodie Chapman||Women’s Road Cycling||31||Debut||Mt Glorious||QLD||4520|
|Alexandra Manly||Women’s Road Cycling||26||2nd (2018 – Gold: Women’s 4000m Team Pursuit)||Nairne||SA||5252|
|Ruby Roseman-Gannon||Women’s Road Cycling||23||Debut||Brunswick||VIC||3056|
|Sarah Roy||Women’s Road Cycling||36||2nd (2018 – 5th: Women’s Road Race)||St Leonards||Concord||NSW|
|Georgia Baker||Women’s Track|
Cycling – Endurance
|27||2nd Games (2018 –|
21st: Women’s Points Race)
|Kristina Clonan||Women’s Track Cycling – Sprint||24||Debut||Buderim||QLD||4556|
|Sophie Edwards||Women’s Track Cycling – Endurance||22||Debut||Tusmore||SA||5065|
|Jessica Gallagher||Women’s Para-Track Cycling – Tandem||36||2nd Games (2018 –|
2nd: Women’s Tandem 1000m Time Trial &
Women’s Tandem Sprint)
|Breanna Hargrave||Women’s Track Cycling - Sprint||39||2nd Games (2014 –|
Bronze: Women’s Tandem
1000m Time Trial (Pilot)
& Women’s Tandem
|Alessia McCaig||Women’s Track Cycling – Sprint||19||Debut||Bendigo||VIC||3552|
|Chloe Moran||Women’s Track Cycling – Endurance||23||Debut||Rose Park||SA||5067|
|Maeve Plouffe||Women’s Track Cycling – Endurance||22||Debut||Rose Park||SA||5067|
|Alyssa Polites||Women’s Track Cycling – Endurance||19||Debut||Dandenong||VIC||3175|
|Caitlin Ward||Women’s Para-Track Cycling (Tandem Pilot)||28||Debut||Frankston South||VIC||3199|
Men’s Mountain Bike Cycling
Men's Road Cycling
|Daniel McConnell||Men’s Mountain Bike Cycling||36||3rd Games (2014 – Bronze: Men’s Mountain Bike; 2018 – 7th: Men’s Mountain Bike)||Coombs||ACT||2611|
|Rohan Dennis||Men’s Road Cycling||32||3rd Games (2010 – 6th: Men’s Individual Time Trial; 2014 – Silver: Men’s Individual Time Trial)||Vale Park||SA||5081|
|Caleb Ewan||Men’s Road Cycling||27||2nd (2014 – 12th: Men’s Road Race)||Moss Vale||NSW||2577|
|Luke Durbridge||Men’s Road Cycling||31||3rd Games (2010 – Bronze: Men’s Individual Time Trial, 11th: Points Race; 2014 - 9th: Men’s Individual Time Trial)||Greenmount||WA||6056|
|Miles Scotson||Men’s Road Cycling||28||2nd (2014 – 7th: Men’s Points Race)||Evanston Park||SA||5116|
|Tom Cornish||Men’s Track Cycling – Sprint||22||Debut||Menai||NSW||2234|
|Josh Duffy||Men’s Track Cycling – Endurance||21||Debut||Invermay||TAS||7248|
|Graeme Frislie||Men’s Track Cycling – Endurance||21||Debut||Bacchus Marsh||VIC||3340|
|Matthew Glaetzer||Men’s Track Cycling – Sprint||29||3rd (2014 – Gold: Men’s Keirin, Bronze: Men’s Team Sprint; 2018 – Gold: Men’s Keiren & 1000m Time Trial, Bronze: Men’s Team Sprint)||Paradise||SA||5075|
|Leigh Hoffman||Men’s Track Cycling – Sprint||22||Debut||Whyalla||SA||5600|
|Conor Leahy||Men’s Track Cycling – Endurance||23||Debut||Secret Harbour||WA||6173|
|James Moriarty||Men’s Track Cycling – Endurance||21||Debut||Carindale||QLD||4152|
|Luke Plapp||Men’s Track Cycling – Endurance||21||Debut||Maribyrnong||VIC||3032|
|Matthew Richardson||Men’s Track Cycling – Sprint||23||Debut||Warwick||WA||6024|
|Beau Wootton||Men’s Para-Track Cycling - Tandem||23||Debut||Aldinga Beach||SA||5173|
|Luke Zaccaria||Men’s Para-Track Cycling (Tandem Pilot)||29||Debut||Landsdale||WA||6065|