Rockhampton’s Anna Meares with her gold medal after winning the sprint at the London 2012 Olympics.
Rockhampton’s Anna Meares with her gold medal after winning the sprint at the London 2012 Olympics. Phil Walter

Injury hinders Rocky cyclist Anna Meares' World Cup campaign

A BACK injury has forced former Rockhampton cyclist Anna Meares to withdraw from the World Cup in New Zealand. 

The Olympic champion had to withdraw from team sprint qualifying at the track cycling World Cup at Cambridge 

Overnight, Meares posted to Facebook to say she was okay and that injury was a part of sport. 

"Thanks for the many kind messages that have come through tonight," Meares said. 

Meares' coach Gary West said the champion cyclist picked up the injury two days ago when she tweaked her lower back in a start while training on the track.

"She's being treated - she's pretty good. She was on the track this morning (yesterday) where we did a little bit of work," West told NZ Newswire. 

"Anna's not getting any younger. We push her, and we push the other sprint athletes, to the edge a lot of the time, particularly in the gym.

"She has a big of a history with back complaints over the years - it's not uncommon in sprint cyclists."

West said getting Meares preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics was the main focus. 

"We're not going to take any risks; there's too much at stake," he said. 

"The big dance is in August next year so we'll just see how things transpire over the next 24 hours."

Fellow Australia cyclist Stephanie Morton replaced 32-year-old Meares in the sprint team and joined Kaarle McCulloch on the track yesterday. 

The pair sprinted around the two laps of the track in 32.852secs, posting the second fastest time, just slower than China 32.711secs.

It sets up another battle for gold against the world champion Chinese team after the two teams faced off in Cali in November.

While Meares is scheduled to race in the keirin event tomorrow, a decision has not yet been made on whether she will compete. 

West said Meares had improved significantly yesterday morning and may ride the keirin.

"If there is a risk, or we're not entirely happy, we don't take that risk," he said.



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