Wiasak up for challenge at home
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Wiasak up for challenge at home

She has quit her job, travels to Sydney most weekends to use the velodrome and dreams of donning the green and gold at next year's Commonwealth Games.

But before Rebecca Wiasak's road bike gathers dust for good, she has an important role to play for the Suzuki-Bontrager squad at the National Capital Tour, starting on Friday.

Canberra cyclists Tom Palmer and Rebecca Wiasak will compete in the National Capital Tour.

Canberra cyclists Tom Palmer and Rebecca Wiasak will compete in the National Capital Tour.Credit:Jeffrey Chan

Two hundred riders from across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have converged on Canberra for the three-day event, taking in some of the city's iconic landmarks.

Wiasak is relishing a rare chance to race in her home town.

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When she hasn't been driving up the Hume Highway or flying to Adelaide for training, the former triathlete has been competing around the globe.

A breakthrough bronze medal at a track World Cup event in Mexico in January was followed by a stint with the Australian national road team in Europe in July.

But it's the track, with the lure of next year's Commonwealth Games and a world championship berth, which is Wiasak's main priority.

''It's a tough balancing act at the moment, especially when you know you want to give everything on the road and you know you could get some good results if you concentrated a bit more on that,'' she said.

''I'm in the shadow squad for the Commonwealth Games for the track, so I'm trying my best to pursue that avenue. I'll know by the end of the year if I'm a chance for the world championships and the Commonwealth Games.''

Wiasak has been in the altitude house at the Australian Institute of Sport for the past 10 days and admits living in conditions simulated to be more than 3000 metres above sea level is not ideal before a road tour.

After this weekend, she will spent next month in Adelaide for a training camp before back-to-back track World Cup events in Manchester and Mexico.

The National Capital Tour gets under way with a 17.4-kilometre time trial from the West Basin to Cotter Road and back on Friday.

A rockfall on Corin Road has forced a change to Saturday's road race, with the course extended by 20 kilometres to 120 kilometres, and the finish moved to Namadgi National Park.

Another road race and a criterium on Sunday rounds out the event, as Tom Palmer looks to back up his recent victory at the Tour of the Murray River.

Lee Gaskin is a sports reporter at The Canberra Times.

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