Peloton Watch
  Shane Perkins not giving up on Rio Olympic goal despite losing Cycling Australia HPU contract  
  December 9th 2015  
  Shane Perkins on the podium after keirin win at ITS Adelaide. © PelotonWatch  
  Olympic bronze medallist and two time world champion Shane Perkins' Rio Olympic ambitions have been dealt a blow as his contract with Cycling Australia's High Performance Unit was not renewed ahead of the 2015/16 track season.

"It's unfortunate that my contract was not renewed by cycling Australia especially during this crucial time with World Cups being held and the fact I am really starting to see my form come up," Perkins said. "At the end of the day I've got to respect Cycling Australia's decision and move forward the best I can.

"It is certainly not ideal circumstances to be in although I've had many challenges in my career that I have faced and come out victorious.

"This is just another of those challenges. I'll do my best to show cycling Australia that I am still one of Australia's best sprinters at the moment and hopefully be back on contract in the new year."

Despite the setback Perkins, bronze medallist in the sprint at the 2012 London Olympics has not given up on his ambitions to compete in Rio next year.

"It's all that is keeping me hungry right now," said Perkins on competing in Rio. "I guess in one way cycling Australia has done me a favour by really bringing out the fire in my belly."

The lack of funding for track cyclists is another issue Perkins now faces without the financial support of a scholarship with Cycling Australia.

"It's certainly put us in an awkward situation as a family. My family always come first in my life and to have lost the funding is a big deal," explained Perkins. "I have been very fortunate over the years that I have had some fantastic supporters to help me through the good and the bad times.

"Again it's one of those challenges but we have found a way to make it work and I'm not going to give in just yet."

With the news of his contract not being renewed with Cycling Australia's High Performance Unit it is easy for forget the stellar success Perkins had in Japan on the keirin circuit this year.

"Japan was where I really started to see some good form come through with a track record and seven final victories, which was a milestone for me in one year. The best I had recorded before was five finals wins in a year.

"2015 also saw me pick up my 100th total win in the Japan Keirin series, which I was the first foreigner to ever reach this milestone!

"When I first went to Japan in 2009 I was so grateful and still am now that I get to do these races. I never thought I'd be hitting my 100th win in 2015," Perkins added.

In addition to becoming the first international rider to achieve 100 victories, Perkins also won the all important World Stage Race. Again the first international rider to do so. "The World Stage Race was a fantastic event and one I'll remember for a long time. The fans were absolutely amazing and it was certainly an experience riding in that environment in front of so many fans!

"It certainly was something I will hold in very high regard as one of my best achievements throughout my career along with being the first foreigner to win the world stage race!"

In addition to his keirin racing, Perkins also picked up the sprint win at the Melbourne Cup of wheels, keirin win at ITS Adelaide and several podiums at the Japan Cup.

Shane Perkins on route to keirin victory at South Australian Grand Prix. © PelotonWatch

"This year has been very very busy for me coming off the back of a difficult year with an injury that took a lot out of me, and I only started to see myself back to my best about mid way through this year."

On return from Japan, Perkins raced at the Oceania Championships, in New Zealand, in early October finishing fifth in the sprint and seventh in the keirin. Securing important qualifying points in the process.

Perkins however has not been selected in the Australian team for either of the first two World Cup rounds in Cali, Colombia and Cambridge, New Zealand. One round of the series remains in Hong Kong in January.

"This is a decision that I can't make unfortunately," Perkins said on participation in Hong Kong. "I would have loved to be at the first two rounds and possibly the third representing Australia. I'll have to wait and see what Cycling Australia has planned."

With UCI regulations requiring riders to compete in two rounds of the World Cup to compete in the sprint and keirin at the World Championships is leaves Perkins' options to fight for a spot in the Australian team at the World Championships next year limited.

"It leaves me in an awkward situation but again Cycling Australia have made the decision not to take me so my chances are pretty much down to the National Championships," Perkins explained.

"All going well at nationals and winning a few titles will be an interesting scenario come world championships.

"The National Championships in February are the big chance for me to show cycling Australia I've still got it. I can't really talk anything else until I get through the Nationals."

Perkins doesn't rule out a return to the High Performance Unit in the future but realises that will come down to how he performs on the bike and Cycling Australia's plans.

"It's certainly something I will look to be apart of again in the future, but like I said it's not up to me to make the decisions on being in or out of the team that is up to cycling Australia.

"All I can do is ride my bike to he best of my ability and be the best on the day."

Followers of Perkins on social media will have noticed his interest in crossfit. Something that has been both a benefit in training while potentially opening up a career in the future.

"Crossfit is certainly something I have come to enjoy while clearing my head these past months. It's actually been a great help to my training.

"I can certainly see myself having some fun doing crossfit in the future. I have a great passion for health and fitness along with helping others achieve goals in life."
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