Peloton Watch
  Caitlin Ward excited to continue development at Hong Kong World Cup  
  January 15th 2015  
  Caitlin Ward in action at Austral Carnival. Photo: PelotonWatch
  Former Junior Track World Championship medallist Caitlin Ward will line up for her second World Cup in Hong Kong as she enters a busy block of racing with the Australian National Championships following two weeks later.

The 2015 season was a mix of highs and lows for Ward as she joined Cycling Australia's High Performance sprint team but a back injury meant she was unable to perform at the best around key targets.

"I'm really excited," Ward said ahead of the start of racing in Hong Kong. "I was hoping to step up and be able to ride two World Cups this year but that didn't happen with all the difficulties with injury I have had and I just haven't been riding as well we had all hoped.

"I am being given an opportunity and I'm so excited to be able to put my best foot forward and see what happens over there."

Ward will line up in Hong Kong in the team sprint, sprint and keirin as a further opportunity to develop. "I get to ride the team sprint with Kaarle McCulloch and that is an awesome opportunity and I'm really proud to be part of the Australian team with her and Stephanie Morton.

"There is targets I have been set but I am focusing on the goals and just use as much of the opportunity as I can and push every race to the limit."

It will be the second time in 12 months Ward has pulled on the green and gold to represent Australia at a World Cup, following her debut in Cali last January.

"I was really excited especially to be selected in all three events; team sprint, sprint and keirin because it really tested me because it is such a hectic programme.

"It was my first team sprint that I have done as a second wheel and getting on to a first wheel that is really quick out of the gate. Rikki Belder did an awesome job and she nearly broke 19 seconds, just off and I know she was a bit disappointed in that but I was so proud of her and I was really proud I could get on.

"We made a really great team moving forward it gives me confidence to do team sprints with great starters and know I have the ability to get on."

Ward made the final of the keirin but was taken down in a crash with two laps to go costing her the chance of fighting for a medal. "I was really happy with how I did in the keirin. I think if I hadn't crashed out I might have medalled but it is hard to say that. But I was feeling really good coming in to the last lap.

"That was pretty exciting but to come away with an injury and compete at Nationals and not do the times I had hoped. That was hard but I raced well so it was a bit of a bittersweet."

With strong performances over the previous 12 months Ward was offered a place among Australia's best in Adelaide with Cycling Australia's High Performance Unit.

"It was pretty surreal. I didn't expect it this year," explained Ward. "I thought coming in to the year before the Olympics they would be trying to slim down the squad and they have some really big front runners for getting Olympic selection so I thought I might be staying in Victoria until after Rio."

"When Gary West called me and asked me to join the squad and move over here it was a big surprise and I was so excited and obviously yeah a bit of a dream come true and a stepping stone on to bigger and better things."

While the move to Adelaide has been a big change Ward has embraced the opportunity with both hands and the opportunity she has been given. "It has been pretty incredible. I didn't think it would be as easy as it was and obviously I have had tough moments but in general it has been really good.

"I have had a very supportive team that I have come in to and they have been willing to socialise and help me.

"The coaches Gary West, Alex Bird, Nick Flyger and Scott Baker have put in so much time with me and lots of the other CA staff have gone above and beyond. I have been so lucky and it has definitely been something I have enjoyed doing.

"It has been an absolute challenge for me as a person and it has taught me to grow up a bit and look after myself and not have the constant support of my family around."
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