A YEAR after claiming victory when it was held as a demonstration event, Tasmanian cyclist Amy Cure is determined to get her hands on the inaugural national women's madison title.
Despite the event being controversially ditched from the Olympic program, it has been warmly welcomed on to Cycling Australia's women's schedule, to the delight of Launceston's former world champion and Tasmanian Institute of Sport coach Matt Gilmore.
``It's a brilliant step,'' he said.
``It adds an element of skill riders have missed out on and means we will ultimately get more skilful, well-rounded athletes because they've gone through the uncomfortable training of madison technique.''
Gilmore has seen the benefit of teaching such skills to Belinda Goss and has high hopes for the state's next generation of champions when both the omnium and madison nationals are held in Melbourne next week.
Cure, of West Pine, won last year's 100-lap event with West Australian Bella King but will this year team up with fellow Tasmanian junior world champion Georgia Baker, of Perth. World junior championship reps Lauren Perry, of Launceston, and Devonport's Macey Stewart will also be among the 10 teams.
``I think all the Tassie riders will go well,'' Gilmore said.
``Georgia has a real race sense, it comes naturally to her and she is able to position herself well in a bunch. While that doesn't come quite as naturally to Amy, she more than compensates with raw power.
``Macey and Lauren have taken to it like a duck to water and are going really well. They may lack a bit of horsepower in the second half of the race but I've learned from taking them to the junior worlds never to write them off.''James Robinson, of Launceston, and Hobart's Gerald Evans will also team up in the 40km men's event on Saturday, December 21.
Next Thursday and Friday will see the national omnium championships on the same DISC Velodrome track with Cure seeking to medal for the third year running and Baker returning to fitness from a viral infection.
Gilmore, who is also national omnium coach, said the 15-strong field was extremely competitive for an event made up of a flying lap, points race, elimination race, individual pursuit, scratch race and 500m time trial.