Peloton Watch
  Nathan Hart settling in to team sprint man one role  
  March 14th 2015  
  With the Rio 2016 Olympics rapidly approaching national are fine turning their teams. Canberra's Nathan Hart is the new man in the Australian team. Hart's first team sprint at international level was at the Aguascalientes World Cup in December 2013. Hart teamed up with 2012 World Champions Matthew Glaetzer and Shane Perkins, with the trio setting a new Australian record of 42.671secs in qualifying, before claiming bronze in the final.

Hart's opening lap time in Aguascalientes was 17.587. In only the fourth international competition for the team Hart rode a 17.277sec opening lap at the recent Track World Championships in Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines. The third fastest time in the field and the fastest ever by an Australian. In the past year and a half Hart has also claimed bronze at the Commonwealth Games and silver at the London World Cup last December.

Just over a year out from Rio the Australian team continue to improve and with Hart, Perkins and Glaetzer developing as a team they will be challenging for the medals in Rio. Below Hart talks about his first World Championships and the team sprint.

PelotonWatch: Commonwealth Games last year was your first big Australian team. You came home with a bronze medal how important a result was it for you?

Nathan Hart: The Commonwealth Games were a very important event in my cycling career up to now. After all the years of hard work and support from a huge amount of people, it was amazing to represent Australia at that level.

I had only been on one Australian cycling team before then at the Mexico World Cup in late 2013. So it was a bit of a step up in terms of scale of the event. I was happy to be able to execute two solid rides for the team. To finish with a bronze medal was great. To have my family in the crowd at the velodrome supporting me made the occasion even more special.

PW: First World Championship selection what did it mean to you?

NH: Similar to the Commonwealth games, to be selected to represent Australia at the World Championships was a bit of a milestone. The chance to wear the green and gold on race day was an honour.

PW: It was a quick track in Paris how did you find it?

NH: The track in Paris was amazing! I would say it's definitely up there with my favourite tracks I've ridden on. The biggest difference I found compared to other tracks I've ridden was how long the bends were. This made the straights fairly short and the track extremely fun to ride.

PW: You are the fastest Australian in history over the opening lap from a standing start does this have special meaning to you?

NH: I try not to think about it too much to be honest. I suppose it's nice to hear, but I try to remain focused on improving my own best times.

In the nature of elite level sport, there are always gradual improvements in performance over time. Right now, as you'd expect there are a lot of Australian cyclists that are riding the fastest times any Australian has previously.

PW: Many fans see the team sprint as a team but how important is it for each of the three riders to get their laps completely right?

NH: One thing I love about the team sprint is that it requires 3 athletes of vastly differing attributes to deliver a team performance to win. Specifically for the first wheel position, as far as your performance goes. It's purely down to how fast you can ride one lap with no outside factors playing a part to deliver the team in the best possible time.

PW: Shane Perkins, Matt Glaetzer and yourself have been making steady progress over the last 12 months. Do you feel you are moving in the right direction heading towards Rio 2016?

NH: I think Matt, Shane and myself have raced together four times now. As a team, we are definitely moving in the right direction. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into another season of solid training with the squad in Adelaide.
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