Q&A With Nettie Edmondson on 2013/2014 Track Season

Thu 31 Oct 2013

Unlike the large majority of her teammates, Annette Edmondson races year round in two disciplines. She joined ORICA-AIS in early March after a hugely successful Track World Championships in Minsk, Belarus that saw her medal in each of her three events (omnium, points race, team pursuit). Edmondson’s first full road season included major victories in China and Belgium and a bronze medal in the team time trial at the Road World Championships in Florence, Italy.

Eight days after taking part in her team’s bronze medal ride, Edmondson was back on the bike in preparation for the 2013/2014 track season. With her sights set on securing a rainbow jersey at Track Worlds and a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, Edmondson begins another track season in Manchester, Great Britain this weekend. The first of three World Cups offer Edmondson the first opportunity in competition to gauge her fitness compared to the world’s best.

Before she heads to Manchester, Edmondson checked in between training sessions to answer a few questions about the upcoming track season. Read what she has to say – and then follow along when racing begins on Friday.

Q: What does your off-season look like?

My 'off-season' is normally during the road season, where I have a decent month-long break, race a few road races in the middle of the year, before gearing up for the track season. As I raced my first professional year on the road with Orica-AIS in 2013, as well as having my sights set on the upcoming track season, I didn't get an 'off-season'. Instead I shortened it to eight days off the bike in Europe after the team time trial at the Road World Champs. I’ll compete at the World Cup in Manchester this weekend, return to Australia for ten days where I’ll continue to train and then have a week of racing in New Zealand, then after New Zealand, I’ll take another week off as a second 'break'.

I’m not sure that you can call it an off-season this year.

Q: Can you explain the qualification process for the World Cups and World Championships for people who many not be familiar with how things have changed since last year?

Unfortunately, the UCI changed the qualification process to race at the Track World Championships. In the past, any rider could qualify his or her country, and the country could then choose which rider to take to the World Cups or World Championships. Now, a rider has to qualify themselves for the World Cups. Once a rider has qualified to race at a World Cup, they can qualify a spot for their country to race at the World Championships Another rider can take their place at the World Championships, however this rider must have raced at at least one World Cup in that particular event.

In the middle of the year, I had to race a track event in Italy with a couple of my teammates that would allow me to be eligible to race at a World Cup. There are three World Cups this year. Each country has to line up at all three in every single event. If you fail to qualify for the World Cups, you have no chance to race at the World Champs.

I’ll race the omnium and the team pursuit in Manchester.

Q: Can you discuss the team pursuit changes?

The team pursuit for women used to be three riders over 3km. Now, it’s four riders over 4km – just like the men’s event. This is quite cool because it gives us the opportunity to bring another woman to international races.

I’ve only done sessions in training, but I’ve really enjoyed the change so far. There’s more time to recover with the extra rider, which really suits me. I’m looking forward to having a crack at the 4km team pursuit for the first time in a race scenario at the first World Cup.

Q: How does early season road racing fit until all this?

We’re still discussing my plans for the road. We’re looking at racing a couple of road races before the Track World Champs in Cali. Road racing really helps with fitness. I’m keen to keep it up. If I don’t race, I’ll do road training blocks in combination with the track sessions.

The good thing about the early season road racing is that it’s high intensity and really beneficial. I’m looking at probably racing the Jayco Bay Crits with the team. We’re tossing around the idea of Tour of Qatar but it might be a bit too close to the Track World Champs for me.

Q: Ultimately what are your goals for track?

I’ve never been a World Champion on the track (or the road for that matter). I really want to win the gold in the omnium and the team pursuit. Those are my next two targets. I’m hoping to line up in two events and come back with two gold medals.

The next goal is to get to the Commonwealth Games and win a gold in an event. I’m not sure which one. There are only three events there, which don't include the omnium and team pursuit so I’ll need to switch my focus. I’m looking forward to the challenge of changing things up a bit.

Q: How realistic would you consider those goals?

At the 2013 Track World Champs this year, I came in second and got two thirds, so I medalled in all three of the events I raced. The year before, at Track Worlds in Melbourne in 2012, I got two silvers in my two events. I’ve been close each time but have never come away with the gold medal. This time I’m really hungry for it. That’s definitely what I’m looking to achieve.