Peloton Watch
  Annette Edmondson excited to see women's Madison added to Olympic programme  
  June 10th 2017  
  Annette Edmondson and Amy Cure celebrate winning the 2017 Oceania Madison title. Photo: Con Chronis  
  Few women have won as many Madison's as Australia's Annette Edmondson, with the 25-year-old a multiple Australian Champion, reigning Oceania Champion and winner of the prestigious Bendigo Madison.

The dual world champion is understandably delighted with the announcement by the International Olympic Committee of the addition of the Madison to the track programme for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

An early adopter of the event, Edmondson raced her first Madison 10 years ago at a track carnival in Victoria, with Monique Hanley who was instrumental in the development of the event in Australia and globally.

"I have always been in to the women's Madison since it became a possibility to become a national event," Edmondson said.

"I have been a mad campaigner to try and get that going with the help of Monique Hanley who was my first ever Madison partner out at the Maryborough Track Carnival and Laurie Norris, he was a big instigator as well.

"To see it now be introduced at World Championships and now today announced as an Olympic event is really exciting and I know if we hadn't pushed so hard in Australia to get that movement going, and also some of the European nations who really pushed the women's Madison we wouldn't be involved and it would just be a male event."

Edmondson won the first ever Oceania title with Amy Cure in December 2016 before deciding to take a break from the track this season to focus on the road. While not on the boards in Hong Kong she was keeping an eye on her competition on TV.

"It was a good Madison this year at Worlds and obviously as a fresh event there is some work to be done," she explained of her thoughts on the race and the current level of the field.

"It is not quite at the level of the men's but it is hard to get to that level without the experience and the practise in the event.

"We are starting to get the events now and now it is a World Championship event we are starting to see it more often and due to the lack of experience there are a few dominant teams, mainly four or five that play out the sprints rather than take laps like the men."

While Belgium, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand may have dominated the event this season Edmondson believes over the next few years the event will become highly competitive.

"I'm sure it is going to get more and more competitive over the next few years especially leading in to the Olympics."

With nations naturally spending their resources on Olympic events Edmondson believes the inclusion in the Olympic programme will lead to an increased focus.

"It has never been an opportunity for women to race that at the Olympic Games so I'm sure now that is a target people are going to focus on it and the level will increase rapidly.

"It is a huge step for the Madison to be involved in the Olympics for women. I didn't really expect it," Edmondson said still surprised about the news.

"It was always an idea or a possibility which was talked about briefly as a bit more of a fun idea but I think now we have two and a half years to really start to nail it.

"Because there are only three track endurance events at the Olympic Games of course teams are really going to start focusing on it.

"It is an amazing opportunity and I don't think it is going to be taken lightly."

The addition of a third endurance event on the programme and one that allows two riders to compete will allow up to three riders a chance for a second race. Up from just one rider from the five-rider team selected for the team pursuit at the last two Games.

"It certainly does open up the door for three riders.

"It is a big schedule with the team pursuit over two days, and now the omnium is only one the Madison is still a solid event it is nice to give more opportunity it will be interesting to see how it all plays out," Edmondson added cautious of the scheduling.

While happy with the addition of the Madison, Edmondson would have loved to see another event back on the programme.

"It is a shame they haven't included the individual pursuit," Edmondson a former Australian and Oceania Champion and world championship medallist in the IP was quick to add.

"If you could choose one event for track endurance cycling to be at the Olympics I would have said the individual pursuit.

"It is just pure raw talent there is no variables, no bunches, it is hard to crash and it is not in a team it is just individual so I think that would be a really good one to get back in there."
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