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Carrigan back – and loving it

8 January 2007

Reigning Olympic road race champion Sara Carrigan has successfully returned to cycling after a year off, dispelling the uncertainty about her future in the sport after she contemplated retirement.

After her bronze medal in the time trial and her seventh placing in the road race at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, twenty-six-year-old Carrigan spent last season completing a year of her business degree and working.

“After the Commonwealth games I wasn’t enjoying cycling as much as I was,” said Carrigan.

“The training became more of an effort and I guess I became stale.”

Carrigan said that not having training in the front of her mind all the time enabled her to relax more.

“Just enjoying the nicer things in life – staying up late, spending time with friends – not having to plan for the next day’s training was good.

“I didn’t know what the year off would bring, but when I decided to take it off I didn’t have my heart in it and I knew that I couldn’t get to Beijing if I didn’t have my heart in it,” said Carrigan.

“I began riding again when it warmed up in September, and one day I just got it back, I can’t remember the exact moment. I’m now loving my training and the fire in the belly is definitely back.”

When asked about her desires for Beijing, there is an immense amount of excitement from Carrigan: “How awesome would that feel, to return to Beijing as the Olympic champion? That would be the ultimate.”

Gunnedah-born Carrigan is enormously enthusiastic about riding again and looking forward to a successful 2007 beginning with the Bay Classic in Victoria followed by the National Championships which begin on January 12.

“I definitely want to get a good year of training and racing in,” she said. “I’d like a podium [finish] at the World championships and some good results in the World Cup events.

“I think I’m a chance of winning some stages in some of the tour events, and I’m obviously aiming for a good finish at the Nationals,” said Carrigan.

It is ten years since Carrigan competed in her first Bay Classic as a 16-year-old and on the morning of the first race she is almost as apprehensive now as she was then.

“I’m not sure how I’m going to feel. I’m certainly going to give it a go today though,” she said.

Carrigan will face strong competition in the Bay Classic with Olympic silver medallist Katie Mactier and Commonwealth champions Natalie and Kate Bates also aiming to start 2007 with success.

Carrigan will be looking to continue her good form after winning her first outing back after her seven month break in the Gold Coast 30-minute race last December.

Joe Bromham

Return to Beijing Bound

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