Nine-time world champion Cameron Meyer headlines a powerful Australian squad for the Tissot UCI Track World Cup in Cambridge and he has a New Zealand duo in his sights.

After skipping the last round in Hong Kong, Australia has sent a decorated group of riders across the Tasman to chase Olympic qualifying points.

None are more illustrious than Meyer, who has been lured back to the track after temporarily walking away from the sport. The re-introduction of the madison to the Olympic programme for Tokyo is the reason that the Western Australian is back on his bike.

“It’s a box I haven’t ticked yet. I’ve ticked nearly everything I can on the track except an Olympic medal,” Meyer said.

Meyer, 31, competed at the 2008 Games, the last time the madison was at the Olympics, having been inspired by watching fellow countrymen Graeme Brown and Stuart O’Grady win gold in Athens four years earlier.

“I watched that video of them winning the madison over and over again and that inspired me to be an Olympian and try and be a track Olympian.

“There’s something about the madison that requires speed, skill, endurance; everything you can think of. It’s the longest event, which I like coming from an aerobic base, coming from the road base and there’s something special about it. Yes you’ve got to be explosive and have that speed but there’s still that element that if you’re not fit enough you don’t survive.”

Meyer will partner team pursuit world champion Kelland O’Brien at the Avantidrome in Cambridge and they’re chasing New Zealand who sit at the top of the men’s madison world rankings.

“They’re a great combination Aaron Gate and Campbell Stewart. They’d probably be the benchmark” Meyer said.

“They’re super-strong and they’re super-fast so they are a very hard combination to beat. They’ve won world cups, they’re deserved of having a good reputation and they’ll be there or thereabouts at the Olympic Games I’m sure.”

But first Meyer is eyeing the opportunity to get the better of Gate and Stewart in Cambridge.

“I’m looking forward to challenging them here at their home World Cup and I’m sure when we get to Brisbane they’ll be wanting to knock us off over in Brisbane. It should be a good battle. It always is between the two countries.”

The men’s madison is on Sunday, the final day of the Tissot UCI World Cup in Cambridge.

Photo: Guy Swarbrick

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