Peloton Watch
  After a year of disappointment Wiasak earns Australian selection  
  February 17th 2015  
  Missing selection for the 2014 Track World Championships left Rebecca Wiasak devastated, when she was the final rider cut from the team. The situation repeated itself for the Commonwealth Games, when she again missed selection. "It was tough, but the reality of elite sport," said Wiasak. "I had other events to train for however, so moved my focus to that and achieved some great results on the road during the latter rounds of the National Road Series." With 2014 behind her Wiasak has finally achieved her goal of making the Australian team for a World Championships.

Wiasak's first appearance at a World Cup came in January 2013 in Aguascalientes. Since then Wiasak competed in six World cups in a row up to London in December 2014. Earning medals across the individual and team pursuit including gold in the IP in Aguascalientes in 2014.

An impressive performance at the Australian Championships in January saw Wiasak claim silver in the individual pursuit behind Amy Cure. A performance Wiasak puts down to not having ridden the final World Cup of the season in Cali, Colombia. "In 2013 and 2014 I had flown back from Mexico and was unable to produce the same results I had at the World Cups."

Below Wiasak talks her 2014/15 season, selection disappointments and the 2015 World Championships.

PelotonWatch: You have made a name for yourself on the track in the individual pursuit. What do you like most about the event?

Rebecca Wiasak: I love the individual pursuit. I started life as a track runner and was best over 800m and 1500m. I think I learnt how to pace myself and built up a good lactic tolerance during years of training for those middle distance running events. Interestingly my best times for those distances were 2min 13sec and 4min 33sec respectively and the individual pursuit falls between those. I love that everything in an individual pursuit can be measured gears, cadence, times. In qualifying it's just you against the clock and then in the final you're racing for medals, which also tests your mental strength.

PW: Bronze in the IP at Aguascalientes at the end of the 2012/13 World Cup season. Then silver in Manchester before winning gold back in Aguascalientes in 2013/14. With those IP performances you burst on to the world stage. Was this a bit of a turning point in your cycling career?

RW: Each of those performances gave me confidence, and are each so memorable. I believed that if my cycling career ended tomorrow I would be happy knowing that I am a World Cup gold medallist. I was so emotional standing on the dais receiving my gold medal and singing the national anthem in Aguascalientes. It was an incredible feeling. Of course I have more ambitious goals now and know I can compete with the best in the world.

PW: You were the overall IP winner in the 2013/14 World Cup season. The IP was removed from the World Cup programme for this season what are your thoughts on this?

RW: I was disappointed that the individual pursuit was removed from the World Cup program, as there are fewer opportunities to race it during the season, however I understand the decision. The individual pursuit is not an Olympic event so our focus is purely on the team pursuit, and it is nice to travel to a World Cup and only think about the one event. There are now three rounds for the team pursuit so it is still a big program.

PW: You just missed selection in the team for the Track World Championships in 2014. It was the same situation with the Commonwealth Games. How disappointing was it and how did you deal with it and remain motivated?

RW: I was devastated when I was sent home from our World Championships training camp in 2014. I was the last rider to be cut from the squad and I thought that I had done enough throughout the season to earn a spot. I raced the team pursuit at all three World Cups last season winning bronze at each meet, was part of the team that set the then Australian Record in Aguascalientes, and had won a World Cup gold medal in the individual pursuit. That disappointment definitely motivated me throughout this season. I was also the last rider cut from the Commonwealth Games squad, which was tough, but the reality of elite sport. I had other events to train for however, so moved my focus to that and achieved some great results on the road during the latter rounds of the National Road Series.

PW: You claimed silver in the IP at Oceania Championships in October happy with your early season form?

RW: I moved to Adelaide in late August last year so my focus has been solely on the track. It makes a huge difference being based at the Adelaide Superdrome with the High Performance Program, compared to the facilities we have available in Canberra and Sydney. I was happy with my early season form but was also happy with my form at the two World Cups I raced in Guadalajara and London, and then again at the National Track Championships.

PW: Then followed that up with silver in the IP at the Australian Championships at the end of January. What did this result mean to you?

RW: I had been quite fatigued at the past two Australian Track Championships having recently returned to Australia following the third World Cup. In 2013 and 2014 I had flown back from Mexico and was unable to produce the same results I had at the World Cups. It is a long trip and I only had one week to recover from the travel. This year I was based in Adelaide for all of January and was able to freshen up for the Australian Championships. It was my best ever result at a national championships and my best time in the event at sea level. The performance has given me a lot of confidence ahead of the World Championships this week.

PW: Selected for World Championships this month how did you feel when you were told the news?

RW: It was a bittersweet feeling when I was told I would be going to the World Championships. Naturally, I was pretty excited but it was tough seeing one of your teammates sent home. I was in that same position last year and it is heartbreaking when you have dedicated so much time to a goal and then get told it's all over. I wasn't able to tell too many people after the final selection was made, so it wasn't until the team got announced and I saw my name on the media release that I actually realised the extent of my achievement and got a bit more excited.

PW: Heading in to the World Championships what are you hoping to achieve there?

RW: I hope to race both the individual pursuit and team pursuit at the World Championships. We have five riders in form here in Paris and only four will get to line-up in each round of the team pursuit. The team pursuit is on the first two days of competition and is our primary focus. We have been dreaming of wearing rainbows and have a real opportunity to achieve that this week.

Rebecca Wiasak on route to silver at the Australian National Championships
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