Q&A With Mel Hoskins on Aguascalientes World Cup

Wed 11 Dec 2013

Melissa Hoskins provided the leadership to her young team pursuit squad in Aguascalientes, Mexico at the second round of World Cup racing. The quartet of Hoskins, Amy Cure, Bella King and Ashlee Ankudinoff qualified third fastest for the bronze medal ride against the USA. Rebecca Wiasak replaced Ankudinoff in the finals that saw the Australians hold off a fast closing American squad for the bronze medal. In the process, the quartet set a new Australian record in the newly introduced 4km team pursuit format.

Back in Australia, Hoskins set aside some times to answer questions about the team’s rides and results at the World Cup. Our questions and her responses are below.

Q: What was the team's expectations and or ambitions in the team pursuit for the second World Cup?

I guess the main purpose of our extended trip was to see how each individual adapted to altitude and to understand the individual impacts both positive and negative. Each one of my team pursuit teammates and I were at different stages of fitness and different points of our season. When we arrived in Mexico nearly a month before the World Cup, I was coming off a small break after my road season in Europe and looking at finding the track fitness I would need for the summer.

With that all said, our team ambition was to ride well as a team without placing a huge emphasis on the result. It was the first time for most of us riding the new four person team pursuit format and that required some adjustments. Personally, I wanted us to make the second ride offs and podium. I knew we had a team capable of that. So I'm walking away happy with my form and the team’s accomplishment. 

Q: Your team pursuit squad is a very different group than the one you rode with at the London Olympics last  year. What’s it been like for you to step into more of a leadership role? 

It’s been different. Without Jos [Josie Tomac] on the squad anymore, it was up to me to try and take on a leadership role with this group. I take that very seriously because I want to see the team do well and if we don't achieve something collectively, I feel partially responsible. At the same time we are all in it together, and communication and feedback needs to come from everyone. 

Q: How did things go for the team during the qualifying round? What went right? What went wrong?

We rode to our schedule that our coach Gary outlined for us. He knows us well enough to pick it down to the second and the qualifier was no exception. Amy Cure was on a magical day and was the win puller for the back half of the race. Ash [Ashlee Ankudinoff] didnt have the best day in the saddle and was dropped with just over five laps to go.

Q: Assess the team's ride in finals in terms of what went right and what went wrong?

For the final Ash was rested and Bec [Rebecca Wiasak] was given the opportunity to ride for the bronze. Bec has gone from strength to strength in the last 12 months and deserved the opportunity to ride the final. Every single one of us had committed to the training camp 100% so to see everyone get a ride was good. Bec was there to cheer us in the qualifying and Ash returned the favour in the final. As a result Bec stepped up and rode very strong in the final. Amy was brilliant again. 

Q: Are you satisfied with the result (bronze) and time the team achieved?

It’s an awesome start to the season. Obviously we have a long way to go but it's early days. We have our target, and I believe we have the team to meet that. Nettie will come back in to the squad now and we have a lot of young riders really raising their hands. We’re in a healthy position for our team.

Q: What's up next for you?

I now fly home and spend a week in Adelaide where I’ll spend time with [boyfriend] Rohan [Dennis] and celebrate the wedding of Josie and Jack [Bobridge]. I then fly to Melbourne for the omnium and madison Nationals (19th-21st). It’s home to Perth on the 22nd to see family and friends before I go back to Adelaide on the 1st of January to start the team camp that leads into the third track world cup and (hopefully!) the Worlds.