Call for changeover on madison's gender divide
ANNETTE EDMONDSON and Glenn O'Shea were teammates in Australia's track team at the London Olympics. Young specialists in the six-discipline omnium and team pursuit events, they have competed and won at world championships, national championships and World Cup meets.
Over the past three days both have raced at a Christmas carnival in Melbourne with three national titles up for grabs. Edmondson, 21, produced a faultless performance to defend her crown as national omnium queen and O'Shea, 23, backed up his 2012 world title in the event to become king.
O'Shea then had the opportunity to add to his career accolades by lining up for another national title in the madison. Edmondson did not. Although she raced the women's madison, teamed with Jessica Mundy, their event did not have the same status as the men's. That this discrepancy was based on gender in the year Olympic track cycling finally caught up with gender equality - men and women raced an equal number of events at London - seemed prehistoric.
''Hopefully there's a madison national title for us in 2013, and I'd be pretty disappointed if there wasn't,'' Edmondson said. ''I'm all for equality for women in cycling, and for women in sport in general. To have the opportunity by having the same races offered to men and women is the first step. Maybe it would have been better to have a trial event for the women's madison earlier and then perhaps we could have had a national title this week.''
As it was, the women's madison Edmondson contested on Saturday night was a first, pushed by Cycling Victoria - though it still doesn't qualify as a national title (Cycling Australia would have to sanction that), the fact it even featured on the program was progress.
Teams of two cyclists punctuated their high speed exercise by clasping hands and flinging each other forward in changeovers. Six female teams rode 60 laps while 15 male duos raced 200. ''The UCI only has a madison for men, so there's only a men's madison in the Australian national championships,'' Cycling Victoria boss Kipp Kaufmann said. ''But we think it's important to put pressure on to show that it's a legitimate and important event for women … and that it should be seen that way at an international level.''