Team USN will be in action this weekend at the UCI Track World Cup in Manchester. As Glasgow 2014 grows closer, the months leading up to the games become more important for rider’s aiming to be part of Team Wales next summer.
Team USN athlete, Lewis Oliva is looking to secure a place in the squad competing in the Sprint events for his country. Part of the British Cycling Podium Programme, Oliva is based in Manchester but will compete in the UCI Track World Cup Series with Wales’ track cycling team, Team USN.
As part of the new UCI track programme, Oliva had to qualify for the World Cup races, competing in Fiorenzuola, Italy and the Dutch Summer Trophy during the summer and will open his World Cup season in Manchester. He admits his performance at the British National Track Championships was hit and miss due to on going injuries. His bronze in the Keirin came as a surprise, but has boosted his confidence going into the winter. He narrowly missed out on the podium at Revolution round one, with fourth in the Keirin and Sprint but is looking forward to getting stuck in with Team USN.
“This winter will be a hotly contested series. It will be more competitive, a lot of European countries are sending full squads to Manchester; hopefully I can sneak in a few results. The Revolution was good preparation, there was some strong competition.
The keirin is the event that I enjoy the most. A lot of it depends on where you are drawn, but you have to be able to get your head into the race. You need to read what is happening and suss out the competition. On top of that, you also need speed and tactics. It’s very much a case of he who dares, wins.
Sprint events are more gladiatorial. It relies more on speed, but tactics are now becoming more important. Once you have qualified in the top 16, it is a case of anyone could win as the international standard is now so high. I’m learning a lot from being exposed to high level of competition.”
Oliva is working towards selection for Team Wales, with all his training focussing on the Games next summer.
“The experience with Welsh Cycling through Team USN fits into the plan. Exposure to world class competition is needed, and being in a pressured environment at World Cups is the only way to truly test yourself against the best guys in world. Lots of the Commonwealth nations compete in the Series, so it will be a good indicator of where they are.”
The Men’s Keirin takes place on Saturday, with the Sprint following on Sunday.
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