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  Junior World Champions Macey Stewart and Josie Talbot back on the track with eye on Tokyo  
  May 9th 2017  
  Macey Stewart and Josie Talbot at the 2017 Australian Track Championships.  
  Macey Stewart and Josie Talbot found themselves at the top of the sport as juniors in 2014, winning the team pursuit world title at the Junior Track World Championships.

Having raced with against each other their paths diverged with both ultimately taking some time away from the bike.

Stewart who also claimed omnium gold and the time trial world title on the road signed a professional contract with what is now Orica-Scott. A hard season in 2015 left her physically and mentally tired and decided to take a break in 2016.

While Talbot who had fallen out of love with the sport ahead of Junior Worlds spent nearly a year off the bike before heading to the US to race in late 2015, where she would rediscover her passion for the bike.

The past track season the first of the Tokyo Olympic cycle saw both return to the boards for the first time in several years. Talbot claimed medals at the Oceania and Australian Omnium and Madison Championships in December. With Stewart just missing a medal in the scratch race at the Australian Championships in March.

With their talent on the track as evident as it was as juniors both have their eye on making the Australian Team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

For the next few months however their attention turns to the road with Talbot heading back to the US for a third year. Stewart will remain in Australia and made an impressive start in her first Australian Subaru NRS race back, the Tour of South West, finishing fourth overall.

"I'm really excited to race some NRS races. I skipped the NRS step between juniors & pro level, so I'm keen to go back and experience what I missed," Stewart said.

"It will be a good build back to that top level in a less pressurised, fun environment. I'm also stoked to be racing with a pure Tasmanian team. I think there's a bright future for the team and the girls individually."

Josie Talbot

This was your first track season in over two years and your first as an elite rider heading in to it what were your goals and expectations for the season?

This season I just wanted to prove, mostly to myself that I could step up and be competitive in the elite ranks. There were objective goals with times and results as well but the process was more important this year to figure out how I am going to tackle the next 3-4 years.

Bronze medal in the Madison at Oceania Championships before taking bronze in the omnium and Madison at Nationals a good start back for you?

Yeah, I struggled throughout the start of the Oceania's week and that scared me a bit but I got better, stronger and more confident as the week went on and ended with a couple of medals which I was stoked about.

With some time away and the step up to elite how did you find it and what were the biggest challenges?

The biggest challenge was convincing myself that I'm good enough to compete with these girls. It's one thing to be physically strong enough but to be able to race like a winner is another thing. The last time I raced track in u19's it almost seemed easy to win a bunch sprint, now I have to think about it and be more proactive which is hard to get my head around.

Just started a new Olympic cycle and have Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year what are your goals going forward on the track?

Being an Olympian was and always will be the dream but it's important for me to enjoy and achieve goals throughout that process. I want to be an important part of the Women's Track Endurance Team.

Macey Stewart

Nationals was your first race on the track in over two years heading in what were your goals?

I went into nationals with fairly low expectations. I just really didn't want to get dropped from the bunch, and to mainly enjoy the experience. I went to nationals so I could get a clear indication of how far I had to go.

Raced the points and scratch races just missing a medal in the scratch race how did you find them? What were the biggest challenges for you?

I was really happy with my results. After only four weeks training following a very indulgent holiday to Canada I really surprised myself with the fourth place, and being able to contribute to Amy's points race win.

Biggest challenge was probably managing my expectations leading into the racing, not knowing what to expect. I remember my coach saying 'be prepared, you may not be the Macey Stewart you, and everyone else remembers just yet' and that made me pretty nervous. But I managed it really well.

Did your time away from the track and the bike give you a fresh perspective and motivation?

Definitely! I have a totally different outlook on cycling. I have never been this motivated or dedicated before. I have a new passion for cycling, because I've chosen to take this path myself and I know it's what I want so badly. I think I've grown a lot in maturity over the past year, going through some tough times, so I have a good outlook on life and putting everything into perspective.

Just started a new Olympic cycle and Commonwealth Games next year what are your goals going forward on the track?

Obviously Tokyo is the main goal. A couple of months ago I would have said that making Commonwealth Games would be very unrealistic. But after seeing my progress over the last couple of months, I'm starting to believe it's possible, and plan to do everything I can to give myself the best opportunity of making it.
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