REBECCA WIASAK hopes a dream start to her World Cup career can be the catalyst for a place in the national team as she aims for world championship selection.
Canberra cyclist Wiasak capped off a trip to the UCI World Cup in Mexico with a bronze medal in the individual pursuit at her first big international competition.
Her third place came just days after fellow Canberra rider Alex Bird also claimed bronze in the men's team sprint.
The duo will return to Adelaide this week with sights set on competing at the world championships in Belarus next month. Wiasak proved she could compete at the international level with a superb personal best time of three minutes, 32.037 seconds to beat Canada's Laura Brown.
Her time was a new ACT record, a personal best by three seconds and she walked away with an unexpected bronze medal.
''I'm absolutely thrilled, I never imagined this at my first World Cup and to come away with a medal … it's amazing,'' Wiasak said from Mexico.
''Just getting [to Mexico] in one piece made me nervous. Hopefully this shows I'm still going in the right direction and doing all the right things.
''Now hopefully I can stay consistent and keep improving so I'm ready for more opportunities in the future. Technically I've got so much to work on, but this is a nice reward for all the sessions you do in the garage by yourself …. it makes all the sacrifices worthwhile.''
Wiasak is unsure of her chances of gaining world championship selection, but will use her training stint in Adelaide to try to impress the national coaches.
When she arrives back in Australia she will reassess her season with her next competition the national track championships in Sydney from January 30 to February 2.
Bird's performance will put him in a strong position for world championship selection. The 27-year-old was a back-up rider at the London Olympic Games.
■ THERE was more bronze for Canberra at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney, with 16-year-old cyclist Michael Rice finishing third in the omnium. The bronze added to his silver in the team pursuit on Thursday, when the two Australian teams faced off in the final.
At the athletics, Bridget Reilly finished third in the 1500-metre final on Saturday. But the St Clare's College student was unable to add to her medal tally and withdrew from the 800m final in the afternoon.