Peloton Watch
  The Austral: Luke Parker  
  December 3rd 2014  
  The Austral Wheelrace is the oldest track race in the world. The first edition in 1887 was run at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The 117th edition will be held at Hisense Arena on December 20, 2014. In the lead up PelotonWatch will be bringing you interviews with former winners, podium finishers and challengers for the 117th title.

Below Luke Parker, winner of the 114th Austral in 2012 talks what the Austral means to him.

PelotonWatch: What does the Austral mean to you?

Luke Parker: The Austral is a very important race for me as I think it is for any track cyclist in Australia. The history of the race makes it quite special and when you look at the names on the honour roll it becomes clear that the Austral optimises Australia's cycling history. I feel very fortunate to have my name on that prestigious list next to the likes of Sid Patterson and Danny Clark.

PW: Looking back what was it like to win and where does the Austral win rank in your career so far?

LP: Looking back on it the Austral win was an incredible experience and one that I think will stay with me forever. I am lucky enough to be coached and mentored by former winner Dave Sanders, so he made it clear to me how much winning the Austral means. I remember he told me after I won "you don't understand what this means" and I think he was right. The time it really set in was when I had older riders coming up to me and you could see how much the race meant to them. This really made me realize how prestigious the race is and it is definitely a win that I will never forget.

PW: You won the Melbourne Cup on Wheels last year. What do you like most about handicap races?

LP: I think the thing I like most about the handicaps is that anything can happen. You never know if the scratch guys are going to get up or an out marker stays away. I also love the atmosphere that comes with these big handicaps. Just before the gun goes and the whole track almost goes silent, it's just an amazing atmosphere.

PW: Is it a race you would like to win again?

LP: Yeah for sure. I would love to win the Austral or the Melbourne Cup on Wheels for a second time. To have your name on those honour rolls once is very special but to get on there again would be amazing. It is definitely something I will be looking to achieve in the future.
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