Australian world champion disappointed to miss chance for Beijing revenge

Australian world champion track cyclist Anna Meares has expressed her disappointment about the absence of some of the British cyclists from the Commonwealth Games.

Perhaps still smarting from being at the receiving end of the GB cyclists’ great haul of China at the Beijing Olympics, Meares said she supported her teammate Travis Mayer's decision to pull out because of health and security fears.

But she told the Sydney Morning Herald that she was disappointed that Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift and Russell Downing had chosen not to travel to India.

She said, “Like with Travis, it is their prerogative not to be here. It is disappointing that the reason they gave was because the European championships were too close (a month after the Games).

“We want to win and win against the best in the world and currently those guys are the best in the world.

“I can't speak for the Brits and the attitude they have taken to these Commonwealth Games but they are important to me, important to the Australian people and that's why I am here.

“I think you have to take them for what they are, and that is the spirit of great competition, friendliness and bringing nations together - I like being a part of this.”

Meares will leave with the Australian team immediately after the Games to prepare for next month's Oceania Games in Adelaide. “We are competing at the Oceania Games five or six weeks after this so...” Meares said.

But she added: “Australians are a lot more accustomed to travelling around the world than the Europeans - it is second nature to us.”

The British no show in Delhi sets the stage for a showdown at the 2012 London Olympics. Meares said, "There is definitely some unfinished business at London. I think as Australians and the spirit we encompass, when we get knocked down we pick ourselves back up again.

"We got a flogging in Beijing to be honest – eight out of the 10 gold medals went to Britain, but that is starting to swing. If you follow our sport Australia has been the No.1 team at the last couple of years at the world championships.

“That's not to say we have the measure of the British by any means. You can imagine what it is like to compete at a home Olympic Games – they are going to have that home turf advantage.”

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine (www.simpsonmagazine.cc).