Copyright Casey Gibson

Australia’s best track cyclists will descend on Brisbane this week for the 2018 Cycling Australia Track National Championships at the Anna Meares Velodrome from 1-4 February.

Reigning Commonwealth Games champion Matthew Glaetzer (SA) has his sights set on more green and gold glory at the 2018 Cycling Australia Track National Championships in Brisbane this weekend. 

Glaetzer will headline the sprint competitions at the Anna Meares Velodrome, with a busy four-day schedule of all four sprint events – the team sprint, sprint, keirin and time trial – on his race plan.

The ten-time national champion has won the coveted green and gold jersey in all four sprint events during his career, with his first chance for 2018 glory coming on the opening afternoon of competition in the time trial final. 

Last November, the powerful South Australian rewrote the history books when he scorched to the fastest one kilometre time trial ever ridden at sea-level (59.970 seconds) at the Manchester World Cup.  

This weekend, Glaetzer will be aiming to take advantage of the warmer conditions at the Brisbane velodrome to perhaps eclipse his own mark. 

“It will be just the second time I’ve been able to race the kilo at a National Championships,” said Glaetzer, who fittingly is one from one in the event at the Nationals after riding to the 2014 title.  “It will be quick, I know that, the conditions in Brisbane will be better than I have ridden in previously, plus I have more training in my legs.

“Although I won’t be completely fresh for it as we are training through Nationals, I reckon I will be able go put down a pretty good time. 

“I am excited but I am not going to call a time just yet, I am looking forward to ripping out a good time and hopefully I can go quicker than the World Cup.”

On the opening day, Glaetzer will sandwich the time trial with team sprint qualifying and finals as he aims to guide South Australia to a third straight title in the team event. He will open his sprint campaign on Friday afternoon (the sprint competition finals are held on Saturday evening), before lining up in the keirin on Sunday.

Glaetzer’s won’t have it all his own way in the sprint competitions however with reigning sprint champion Pat Constable (SA), Olympian Nathan Hart (ACT) and 2015 keirin national champion Jacob Schmid (VIC) three hoping to stand in his way.

A host of Australia’s next generation will look to challenge including former junior world champion Conor Rowley (VIC), Thomas Clarke (SA), plus the exciting young duo of Matt Richardson (WA) and James Brister (SA) who graduate to the elite competition in 2018 after winning crowns in the under 19 category in 2017.

“The team sprint is always good fun to start to try to defend that one,” said Glaetzer, a three-time sprint national champion who is gunning for a return to the podium after a disappointing sprint result in 2017 TrackNats saw him finish outside the top four for the first time at a National Championships.

“The sprint didn’t quite work out last year for me, I tried something different that didn’t pay off so looking to make amends this year and get back in the winners circle in that one,” he said.  

“I was stoked that Pat won it last year, kept it in the state, and I expect it will be fantastic battle in the sprint this year, I think there will be a nice showdown with myself, Pat, Nathan and Jacob. 

“Plus, being the reigning Commonwealth champion in the keirin, I will be targeting the podium in that one on Sunday, hopefully it is the top step and hopefully I stay out of any mess!” 

The 2018 Track Nationals provides Glaetzer, and all Australian cyclists targeting Commonwealth Games team selection, a perfect preparation for the Games that will be held on the same boards in April.

As a result, many of the Australian Cycling Team members vying for Games selection won’t taper training loads for the National Championships. However Glaetzer guarantees the racing will fierce and down to the wire. 

“For us in the national squad, we might be training through nationals but we are never going slow,” remarked Glaetzer. “It is always good fun knowing that even though you’re training through, you can still pull out some great times, performances and hopefully put on a show for the crowd.

“Plus, everyone else goes out there with the intention of knocking us off and that’s what we want.  

“We love the challenge, we need the challenge because that is what makes us better.”