Cycling: Rebecca Wiasak ready to take on the world

Annette Edmondson, Melissa Hoskins, Rebecca Wiasak and Amy Cure share a laugh during training. Photo courtesy of Cycling Australia.

Wiasak qualified for the Australian squad following success at the recent national championships in Melbourne where she claimed a silver medal in the women’s individual pursuit as well as a bronze in the women’s 4000-metre team pursuit.

“Representing Australia at a world championship event has been one of my lifetime ambitions,” said Wiasak.

“I still can’t quite believe that I am here and it might not be until I walk into the stadium on race day that I feel like I have made it.”

Wiasak admitted that she had was the final track cyclist added to the Australian squad for the annual world championship, a reflection of her additional training schedule across 2014.

“We had a core group of six at a training camp in January and the final spot was decided just a few days before the team flew to Paris,” said Wiasak.

“Last year I was the final rider cut from the squad bound for Columbia and that disappointment really motivated me this season.”

She continued, “I had considered what my ‘Plan B’ might be if I was sent home from the training camp, and not selected for the world championships, but I had to stay positive and did everything within my power to make sure I was on that plane to France.”

The 30-year-old will compete in the individual pursuit, an event which saw her claim both a gold medal and silver for Australia during the 2013/14 UCI Track Cycling World Cup series.

However that’s not to say that Wiasak isn’t also in contention for the team pursuit heats with four spots up for grabs this week.

Wiasak held the Australian national 4000m team pursuit record (4:22.533 with Isabella King, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins) recorded in December, 2013; an effort worthy enough to also secure her second of three bronze medals.

“Eleven women represented Australia in the team pursuit across the three world cup events this season so that demonstrates the incredible talent and depth we have in this event,” said Wiasak.

“Coming into the sport quite late I have had to compete with girls who grew up riding track and who have all competed at the world junior championships.”

Though the Geelong born cyclist is 24 hours away from competing in her first UCI World Track Championships she is not the first Wiasak to have participated in the momentous occasion.

Her father, Alex Wiasak, played a pivotal role in accommodating the Lithuanian national team at the 2012 edition of the championships as the president of the local Geelong Lithuanian Sporting Club “Vytis”.

Wiasak speaks on behalf of his wife Simonetta (née Visockis) and the whole Australian-Lithuanian community when revealing his excitement.

“We are all ecstatic and relieved that Rebecca has been selected for her first world championships, we view her selection as a reward for her lengthy dedication and good results,” said the proud father.

Alex Wiasak, a decorated sportsman in his own right, looks forward to viewing the Individual pursuit while revealing a simple qualifying round appearance in the team pursuit event would be more than satisfying.

“We feel Rebecca would be on equal terms to most of the team and only lack of competition at this level may be against her,” he added.

After a week in preparation at the heated “Vélodrome National De Saint Quentin En Yvelines” facility, Wiasak believes that the Australians’ extreme shift from summer to winter may be the squad’s only blemish before official competition commences at the 5,000 seat venue.

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