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High-flying Bird hopes to land in Mexico

Date

David Polkinghorne

Alex Bird won gold at the at the Oceania championships.

Alex Bird won gold at the at the Oceania championships. Photo: John Veage

Alex Bird's profile on the Cycling Australia website lists his ambition as representing Australia at a world track championships.

The 27-year-old Canberra cyclist is hoping his efforts at the Oceania Championships in Adelaide were the first step to making that dream become a reality in Mexico next year.

He was part of the men's team sprint that won gold at the championships.

ACT Academy of Sport head cycling coach Glenn Doney said Bird was the fastest rider in Australia, and was one of several efforts by Canberra cyclists that stood out at the Oceania championships.

While the ACT didn't bring home many medals, there were several fourths that stood the territory in good stead for next year's nationals in Sydney.

Nathan Hart won bronze in the men's team sprint, while former triathlete Bec Wiasak came second in the women's individual pursuit.

Tom Clarke, Michael Rice and Catherine Culvenor all finished fourth in their disciplines.

Doney said those results bode well for Sydney.

But it was Bird's ride which he rated the best and put him among the country's elite.

''Alex Bird, 17.6 [seconds] as a standing lap. He is the fastest guy in Australia at the moment. He's No. 1 which would be the reason why they'd send him to Cali [Aguascalientes in Mexico] for the World Cup,'' Doney said on Sunday.

Bird will now concentrate on training and hopes to be picked for the Australian World Cup team that will go to Mexico next month.

He won't know until Christmas whether he will make the team, but said he had ''exactly hit the target he wanted to hit'' at Oceania and he hoped it would finally end his heartbreak of narrowly missing out on world championships over the years. He was the reigning men's national sprint champion after beating Shane Perkins in the final, but that wasn't enough to get picked for this year's titles.

''I keep missing the world championships, every year I'm one spot away from getting selected,'' Bird said.

''I'm pretty excited that this is hopefully the year that I can go and actually do something good … because I've been getting a bit frustrated with going well but not quite well enough.''

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