Wheels back in motion for SASI rising star

While COVID-19 has forced the cancellation and/or postponement of most cycling events across Australia since March, that won’t stop a national race from going ahead this October long weekend.

Alli Anderson

While COVID-19 has forced the cancellation and/or postponement of most cycling events across Australia since March, that won’t stop a national race from going ahead this October long weekend.

The ‘Virtual Track National Challenge’, a Cycling Australia initiative, will bring the country’s track cyclists together in a series of challenges held in their home states.

Amongst the competitors will be South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) rising star Alli Anderson, who will be competing in the individual and team pursuit at the Adelaide Super-Drome.

The 17-year-old who hails from Alice Springs, recently joined SASI’s cycling program and is already reaping the benefits of being surrounded by experienced and knowledgeable professionals.

“Being very new to SASI, they have already helped me immensely and given me opportunities I have never had before,” Anderson said.

“There are no girls that ride where I’m from so being surrounded by those who have similar goals and aspirations is extremely encouraging.

“I have not yet moved to Adelaide permanently but wish to at the end of next year which is exciting; but I have moved clubs and am down here in Adelaide more often which is awesome.

“Having the chance to train with a team and have a stable support unit behind me has helped me grow both as an athlete and a person and I am very thankful for that.”

This weekend’s event will be a chance to impress national team selectors for the 2021 Junior Track World Championships, and state team selectors for December’s 2020 Track National Championships in Brisbane.

Alli is hopeful she can pull off an impressive performance on the track in order to take the next step in her cycling career.

“I would love to represent the country as I’m sure almost any athlete would but there is definitely a long way to go and I am excited to see how far I can go,” Anderson said.

SASI Head Cycling Coach and Olympic gold medallist Brett Aitken has been working closely with Alli to prepare her for the races taking place over the coming months and he sees plenty of potential in this talented teenager.

“As a Northern Territory based cyclist, we have been tracking Alli’s progression over the past 12-18 months where she has been performing impressively at national junior events,” Aitken said.

“She has one of those laid back friendly attitudes that everybody likes in our training environment and has transitioned into our squad very easily within days of being here for this competition.

“While her personality is very unassuming and modest, she has a killer instinct when it comes to racing which makes her a formidable force on both the track and road in cycling and we’re excited to watch her progression.”

Results from this weekend will be published live online at each velodrome where the state and territory winners will be determined and announced. A nationalised live timing app will centralise the results as they happen throughout the country.