Peloton Watch
  Tirian McManus Interview Track World Cup  
  October 31st 2014  
  Former Junior World Champion in the team pursuit and winner of the omnium and team pursuit at the Guadalajara Track World Cup in January Tirian McManus was all set to return to Guadalajara for the first World Cup of 2014/15 in November.

Those plans changed when he was involved in a crash in the first round of the Bowden Elite Team Series in Adelaide last Sunday. McManus' wrist was put in a cast as a precaution ahead of a CT scan the next day. Unfortunately the scan revealed a fracture and the decision was made to withdraw him from the team.

Below McManus talks his 2014 season so far, Oceania Championships, what he thinks of the new omnium format, disappointment of withdrawing from the World Cup team and what is next.

PelotonWatch: You won gold in the omnium and team pursuit at the Guadalajara World Cup at the start of 2014. How important a step was this for you?

Tirian McManus: My double World Cup win was a huge step for me and is my biggest achievement in my cycling career. To win the team pursuit on the first day made it an amazing world cup but to follow it up with a gruelling 2 days of riding and win the omnium was huge, I couldnít believe it to be honest. To win both of these events at a World Cup has really set me up mentally for everything I do. I know I did it at a world cup so I can repeat it again. Having had a 3 way tie leading into the final round it really taught me to deal with the pressure and nerves that come with that.

PW: You got another taste of international racing at the Japan Cup earlier in the year. What did you gain from the experience?

TM: My trip to the Japan Cup was a Category 1 UCI event where I rode in the points score and the omnium under the new format. Japan was very hot and very humid so was quite a shock coming from winter in Bowral, NSW where it never got above 10 degrees. On the first day of racing I rode the points score but suffered a bit due to the heat and the travel having just arrived the day before. I quickly noticed it wasnít going to be my race and struggled along to finish mid bunch. The following day the omnium turned around and so did my luck. I started my first omnium under the new format and learnt after the first day (finishing in 2nd after day 1) that the hardest part was still to come. Starting day 2 with the kilo was the worst way possible to start the day, the equivalent of having a bowl full of lactic acid for breakfast. Followed by a flying lap before the most stressful points score ever to finish in 2nd overall. This trip was a great experience to my development as an athlete. I was able to race in only the 2nd time this omnium format had been used (the first was a week before at the same place for a Category 3 race). I was also able to provide feedback to the AIS for future athletes to race this format for the first time.

PW: You have done the omnium a couple of times under the new format. What do you think of the changes?

TM: I have raced the new format roughly 4 times now and have found it interesting. As a spectator watching the sport either live at the venue or following the race online I find it a brilliant format. The fact that the race isnít actually won until the last race or the last sprint in the points race is thrilling. As an athlete this is the exact reason it is stressful and keeps us on edge. Coming into the last round previously under the old format you can just about predict the top 3 positions and could have guaranteed your spot, now nothing is set in stone. Take for example Aaron Gate in the recent Oceania Championships in the last round/points score gaining 3 laps/60 points to move up from 8th to 3rd place was outstanding, under the old system this wouldn't have been close to possible.

PW: Did your opinion of what the new format would be like change after riding it?

TM: My original view of the format was that I thought it would turn it into a harder event but I do like the new format. The scratch race first is a good event to start with as you get a good mental image of where you sit. The individual pursuit followed by the elimination event are very straight forward events, you have your plan and you stick to that. The second day starts with the kilo, which is the hardest event in my eyes of the omnium, but this does give you good time for rest with only the flying lap next. The final race is the points score which depending where you sit on rankings depends how you ride this and how you will feel at the end. From riding a few of these omniums I have witnessed a mix of results. My own personal opinion is that this format has turned the omnium from the best overall rider winning to the best points score rider winning. But my original opinion of the format remained unchanged as the pressure that the last race of the points score applies does greatly affect the outcome.

PW: Gold in the team pursuit and silver in the points race at the recent Oceania Championships. Were you happy with your start to the 2014/15 track season?

TM: I was happy with the start of my 2014/15 season. Having put in a solid 4:02 this time of the year was a good target to achieve. I believe I had a less than acceptable performance in the omnium, it just felt that nothing was firing and some silly mistakes by myself cost me a couple of times. Then the points race came about and everything kicked back into shape, I just knew what to do and did it. It was one of those races where it all clicked.

PW: Selected to represent Australia in the first World Cup of the season in Mexico. You must have been excited to return to the location of your success earlier in the year there?

TM: I was over the moon to be selected for this World Cup, as I have nothing but good vibes for that track after having a 100% success rate there so far. After pulling out a solid team pursuit at the Oceania championships I was looking forward to replicating this again with a faster ride.

PW: While riding in the Bowden Elite Team Series on Sunday you were involved in a crash. What happened?

TM: On Sunday I had a fairly eventful day. Having started the Bowden Crit with a bunch of about 100 riders I was involved in a crash after about half a lap. I was about 7th wheel trying to get into the early break with my fellow Australian teammate Daniel Fitter. The bunch suddenly swung from the left of the road to the right due to a 'caution cycling racing' sign and wheels overlapped with no one having anywhere to go. It was a typical racing incident, which unfortunately left both Daniel and myself with a trip in the ambulance to hospital after the brilliant care of the first aid worker Stephen on the crash site.

PW: Initially reported as no serious injuries but you were taken to hospital and had a cast put on your wrist as a precaution. How concerned were you?

TM: I was taken into hospital and had my wounds dressed which was just the typical road rash, Daniel actually got worse off there as he had lost skin all over his back. I went in for x-rays, which came back all clear but due to the bone that they were concerned about being the scaphoid this doesnít show of breaking until 10 days later. My option was only to get a cast put on and got for a further CT scan, which I did the next day. To be honest I wasnít concerned at all, it only felt like bruising and I was positive I would be having the cast off after the CT scan and all systems go for the rest of camp.

PW: You saw an AIS doctor on Monday and were diagnosed with a fractured wrist. What went through your mind when you were told?

TM: The CT scan came back with a small fracture in the bone and due to the severity of breaking this bone I was pulled out of the Mexico World Cup squad. When I got the phone call from the doctor I wasnít too happy about it at all, I contemplated carrying on and just getting it fixed when I got home after the trip but due to the side effects we all decided it wasnít worth it. I was very disappointed and still am but there isnít really anything Iím able to do but refocus for the next goal.

PW: How long will you be off the bike and what will you be targeting next?

TM: I'm told by the doctors that it is 6 weeks with a cast on but that wont stop too much. As soon as I landed in Sydney I had Bradley McGee and my team at NSWIS all on board with plans for the next few weeks to get me back on track. Everything from my strength and conditioning coach refining my gym program adapting to my situation to the NSWIS physio checking in on me. Iíll be back on the bike and back into it from the start of the week (Nov 2nd). Due to my cast I will miss just about all of my NSW state titles so my next major event is the National Omnium Championships in December in Melbourne.
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