Australian Cyclist

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Europe – the final chapter

In the three years since I switched from triathlon to cycling I have been invited to selection camps, and been rejected at selection camps. In January this year we were told the AIS women’s road and track teams would be combined to form the JAYCO-AIS Women’s Endurance Squad. I was on a short shortlist and would be considered for the team’s trip to Europe. With fewer scholarship positions now available and so many talented ladies in Australia it was going to be a highly competitive selection.

In February I was told I hadn’t made the cut but could join the squad for a guest ride for a month. It meant I could race the opening rounds of the NRS for my team Suzuki-Bontrager and only miss the North West Tour before returning to Australia.

So there I was in Holland. I felt like I was completing my apprenticeship in bike riding. It was a crash course in racing against girls who I was certain were born riding bikes. I have been lucky to have a great squad of patient and experienced teammates to guide me. As the only first timer I took it all in – made mistakes, and (mostly) learnt from them.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel and race with this team, and for the support of my burgeoning cycling career at the age of 29. My final race in Australian colours was the UCI 2.2 Tour de Feminin – Krasna Lipa, Czech Republic. It was the biggest road race I had lined up for and as always, an absolute honour to be in green and gold. The team was impressive with Amy winning the yellow jersey (GC), white jersey (best young rider), and orange jersey (points). As a further reward, we also won the teams classification and had three finish in the top-10 overall. I am confident the team will continue to experience similar success during the coming months as the squad moves from the Netherlands to its Italian base in Varese. For me, it’s back to Canberra winter where my focus will now switch back to track and putting myself up for another selection, for the first World Cup in Manchester in November.

Rebecca Wiasak