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Perkins confident gold awaits in Rio

24 September 2015

CYCLING: Shane Perkins is back and ready to be better than ever as he goes in search of Olympic gold in Rio.

The London 2012 bronze medallist was struck down with a back injury in 2014 but all signs are pointing to the track speedster adding to his medal tally at next year’s Games.

The 28-year-old recently returned to Adelaide following a dominant run of victories in the Japanese Keirin series and has been hitting the gym hard as next month’s Oceania Championships draw closer.

“Last year was pretty tough for me with the back injury,” Perkins said.

“I’ve put my head down and bum up and concentrated on getting my back right again and funnily enough after all the rehab it is feeling better than ever.

“The weights at the gym have gone up, I’m the strongest I’ve been, the lightest I’ve been and I’m also hitting some great peak power numbers.”

While the body is feeling good, Perkins knows he needs to convert his work off the track to results on it.

“Everything is tracking well but it is one thing suggesting you are hitting all these numbers in training compared to putting them into action on the track.

“That is where I thrive. I’m a racer, that is what I love to do.

“I’m really excited that I’ve got myself in good shape for the Oceanias and after the injuries I’m eager to get back to a high level on the track.”

While many riders choose to rest their bodies when the off-season comes around Perkins chooses a different route.

The 2011 Keirin World Champion has been heading to Japan since 2009 to compete in a Kierin series that has ensured the sport he loves never gets too repetitive.  

“It’s very different from racing with all the best kit and the benefits of latest in aerodynamics.

“Over in Japan it’s like going back to where track cycling started, racing on outdoor tracks with a steel bike with spokey-doke wheels.

“It’s great to get over there and experience a different style of training. By the time I come back to the AIS in Adelaide the mind is fresher and I’m back ready to go, so it’s a great balance that I’ve got going.”

Perkins is now fully focused on achieving his dream of winning Olympic gold.

“It was a massive task to get over the hurdle of making my first Games in London and only once you’ve qualified can you shift your focus to performing.

“Now that I’ve been to a Games more of my focus will be winning that gold medal from the outset of the process.

“That is what this Olympics is going to be about. I’m going to be thinking about picking up the gold medal for Australia.”

And where will that gold medal be most likely won?

“Anytime I’m in a Keirin whether in Japan or in the indoor velodromes I feel comfortable out there.

“I don’t really have to think anymore, I just let things happen and it seems to be working really well.

“That is one I’ll be targeting as it suits me better with where I am at with my training.”

Having won Olympic bronze in the individual sprint and just missing out a second bronze in the team sprint, Perkins is not ruling out multiple medals in Rio.

“Obviously there is the sprint which I won bronze in at London.

“Then the other which is close to the heart is the team sprint as it is always great to get out there with your teammates and take on the rest of the world.

“That will be our first event in Rio and I’ll be targeting success in all three. You never know what can happen.”

While the end goal is there, the veteran of the team knows there is plenty work to do to make his second Olympic appearance.

“We have got a lot of young guys coming through that have certainly stepped up and they’re improving at a rate of knots.

“It’s certainly going to be a difficult task just to make the teams for the Oceanias, World Championships and Rio.

“It is a great feeling knowing that whoever makes it onto that plane for Rio is going to have a huge shot at winning a medal.”

While he is yet to compete in the host city of the 2016 Games, Perkins is certain that the South American city will put on one amazing show.

“It is going to loud and bright. There will be people with smiles everywhere and it will no doubt be a pretty fun experience for everyone.”

The Oceania Championships kick off on 8 October in Invercargill, New Zealand. 

Matt Bartolo
olympics.com.au

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