Silver, bronze all ACT can muster at track nationals
A silver and a bronze medal was all the ACT could muster at the cycling track nationals in Sydney, a ''solid'' performance for the territory, which is behind the eight ball when it comes to training facilities.
Glenn Doney, head cycling coach at the ACT Academy of Sport, says the fact Canberra only has an outdoor concrete velodrome is evident when it comes to results.
''It's a massive disadvantage,'' Doney said. ''You can see [that in the performances of] the teams that have an indoor velodrome - including Tasmania, having indoor boards. Whereas us and Queensland, we really struggle.
''So, it's a solid performance but we could obviously do better - we just need more time on the boards.''
The ACT's best result came from 20-year-old Catherine Culvenor, who rode a personal best to finish second in the 500-metre time trial, adding to her silver in the event last year.
But Culvenor had spent the months leading up to the nationals at a sprint camp in South Australia.
''That was a fantastic result for her and particularly considering she's been a full-time uni student this year at ANU,'' Doney said.
''Then we had Alex Bird, Dan Ellis and Nathan Hart get a bronze in the team sprint - Bird and Ellis reside in Adelaide and again Hart was down there with Culvenor at the camp for two months.
''So the kids who have had the last two months on the boards are the ones who have stepped up and got the medals - as a direct result of being on the boards.''
While Doney is frustrated, he has come to accept the capital is unlikely to get a new velodrome soon. ''It's a challenge, but we don't have a solution unfortunately,'' he said.
''You're looking at about $12 to $15 million [to build one] and we just don't have enough votes to keep the pollies in order to warrant getting a velodrome with about 1000 registered cyclists here. I think we just have to be realistic. The best we can do is three hours up the road in Sydney.''
Conversely, the ACT punches above its weight in road cycling, producing two national champions at the recent road nationals, as well as two under-23 champions.
''I think it's a direct result of us not having a velodrome but having much better, conducive environment for road cycling in ACT,'' Doney said. ''If we only had a 25-metre pool rather than 50 I'm pretty sure our swimming results wouldn't be as strong either.''