Victoria’s Shane Perkins made it two from two with his gold medal ride in the men’s keirin on the final day of competition at the Cycling Australia Track National Championships in Sydney.
Perkins took out the final in a time of 10.544 from fellow Victorian Jason Niblett, New South Wales’ Andrew Taylor and the ACT’s Alex Bird.
2010 winner, Western Australia’s Scott Sunderland was a surprise non-starter in the final having failed to make his way through from the repechage. Also missing was Daniel Ellis who withdrew from the championships earlier in the week having crashed in sprint qualifying and injuring his left shoulder. Even without his two biggest rivals, Perkins praised the quality of the field for the final.
“The level that we’ve got here this year is absolutely unbelievable,” he said. “It’s probably the best we’ve ever had.
“With Sean Eadie’s group of NSW guys going 10.2 to beat some of the AIS guys obviously they had a bit of a different preparation coming in here because they’ve got the world championships; Matt Glaetzer 10.1 – but it’s an awesome display from all the states. It was virtually a world championship final out there. All the guys are really fast as you saw in the heats ? Alex Bird 10.5, Mitch Bullen 10.4 they’re going from a long way out so it makes for some very tough racing once you get your head into it.”
Given his opposition, 2010 world championship silver medallist Perkins was forced to put his foot down with three laps to go to escape the bunch and from there, never looked back.
“I guess I was lucky to have a teammate [Niblett] following me to give it a bit of distance and they nearly got me at the end there but with the NSW train going, took the initiative and lucky I had the legs to hold them off,” he explained.
“Once I saw Pete Lewis come across and he wasn’t committed to go he just wanted to get in the train I just thought it’s time to go here and get out in front of them and make them work for it.”
Perkins, having also taken gold in the men’s sprint earlier in the week came into the national titles following a tough five week training block and has been quite astounded, although pleased with his performances.
“I’m pretty ecstatic and surprised in a way that I’ve got the form I have,” he said. “Six weeks til the world titles I’ve still got a bit of work to do that’s a great starting point to work from.”