Q&A With Melissa Hoskins on Australian National Track Championships

Mon 3 Feb 2014

Melissa Hoskins snagged three medals at the Australian National Track Championships at the end of last week. After earning bronze in the individual pursuit and silver in the team pursuit and points race, she hopped on a plane to the Middle East. Hoskins is the sprinter for ORICA-AIS at Ladies Tour of Qatar, and she’s hoping her strong form on the track translates to a high level of fitness on the road. The day before the first international stage race of the season gets underway, Hoskins fielded questions about her satisfying performance in Adelaide.  

Q: What were your objectives for the Australian National Track Championships?

They were fairly simple. I wanted to make the most out of my three races. Departure for Qatar on the first of February meant that I couldn’t race the scratch race on Saturday, so I was left with the individual pursuit, team pursuit and the points race.

Q: Would you briefly walk us through each of your three races?

Individual pursuit: I was chasing a personal best. It was a test for me to see my progress since I last raced the event. I was stoked with a 1.5 second improvement that put me in the bronze medal ride offs. I backed up my ride in the qualifying rounds to take the bronze medal.

Team pursuit: We didn’t have a team three days before the event until a sprinter stepped up to fill our fourth spot. I wanted to defend our title. Western Australia was going for the sixth team pursuit championship in a row, and if we were going down, we were down swinging. The odds were against us, but we made the gold medal round in the finals. We did the best with what we had on the day and came up with the silver medal by the smallest of margins, .009 of a second.

Scratch race: I had only 30 minutes between my team pursuit final and the start of the points race, so I didn’t have much time to think about strategy. The objective was the same as every race I enter: try and win the damn thing. Nettie [Edmondson] was the one to beat. I can’t outsprint her on the track, so if I was going to win, I’d need to find another way to do it. I took a lap with two other girls to put myself at the head of the bike race. To Nettie’s credit, she clawed her way back to overcome the deficit and claim the title. I was happy to be on the podium. I’ll have another crack at it next year!

Q: What went right? Where would you like to see improvements?

The form is there, and I’m already seeing personal improvements. My hard work is clearly paying off, and that’s motivating. I can improve tactically in the points race, but in terms of strategy in the pursuits, I’m happy with what I saw at Nationals.

Q: What result(s) are you most proud of from Nationals?

All of them. Each race gave me a reason to be proud and a memory to cherish. I’m thrilled with a personal best in the individual pursuit and satisfied with the bronze medal. In the team pursuit, we put up a courageous fight against an equally motivated team (Tasmania). I made a race out of the points race, and I’m proud of the way I gave Nettie a run for her money.

Q: You made a quick switch from track to hop on a plane to Qatar? How’s that transition been mentally? What are you expecting of yourself in Qatar?

It takes a few days to settle and readjust – especially when travel is involved. I arrived in Qatar a few days before competition, so it gives me a chance to refocus and reintegrate myself into the team.

I’m not sure what to expect, to be honest. Obviously we’re here to win, and that’s what I’m hoping for but I won’t really know how the road form is until I get into the race. I’m going to take it one day at a time and see if we can’t get a result!