Cycling star Edmondson’s sights on Tokyo | Ralph Lauren

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Belief is driving Annette Edmondson’s pursuit of track cycling gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

Not belief that she can compete with the best – though the triple world champion justifiably has that conviction – but that the rescheduled Games will actually run as planned from late July.

Fresh doubts have been cast this month as Japan’s coronavirus crisis worsens, with record infections prompting the government to expand its state of emergency well beyond the Tokyo region.

“If you don’t believe something’s going to go ahead, you’re not going to push yourself,” Edmondson told AAP from her Adelaide base.

“We’re believing wholeheartedly that it’s going to go ahead and I’m sure that, by July, Tokyo will come up with a plan to make this work.

“But the priority is on the health and safety of everybody, so we’re not going to support it if they won’t be able to ensure that. Fingers crossed they can.”

Edmondson admits motivation was a battle at times last year as the global pandemic destroyed her international plans.

It delayed the 29-year-old’s third Olympics, following appearances in Rio de Janeiro and London, where she snared omnium bronze.

World Cup events were also rubbed off the calendar, and Edmondson instead featured in a far-less glamorous local Super Series at home in South Australia.

“I really struggled, to be honest,” Edmondson said.

“Because I’ve been around for so long, I do use the World Cups as motivation and you’re so exposed if you’re not ready for them, so that really helps you dig in at training.

“When that’s not there, it’s a big test.”

Mental examination passed, Edmondson is prioritising the team pursuit in Tokyo as Australia’s top cyclists look to improve on sub-par results at last year’s UCI track world championships, held just weeks before the pandemic wreaked havoc.

But first Edmondson will tackle fresh challenges on the road as the new season kicks into gear.

The 2021 schedule begins with Adelaide’s Festival of Cycling – a replacement for the cancelled Tour Down Under – where Edmondson will lead a Garmin-Australia national team featuring rising stars Maeve Plouffe, Neve Bradbury and Sarah Gigante.

“This will be our first national competition in a long time and also on home roads,” Edmondson said.

“A lot of us are based here in Adelaide now, so we know these roads quite well, and we’re really excited to see where we’re at and get a bit of racing in the legs.”

Edmondson will also compete in the road race for the first time at the Road Nationals, taking place in Ballarat next month, before turning her attention back to the track.


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