Crowded schedule rules Scully out of world champs

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 03/02/2012
Scully
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
CLASS ACT: Tom Scully takes out the points race at the Oceania Championships in Invercargill in November.

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Cycling Southland's Tom Scully will not be available for the world track championships in Melbourne in April due to his commitments with World Tour team Garmin Barracuda's under-23 development squad.

The Cromwell native won the points race and teamed up with Jason Allen to take out the madison at last year's Oceania Championships to qualify in both events for Melbourne, but will not be able to work a track programme into his road calendar.

"In the last few weeks the mind has been in overdrive trying to see if we can make both fit, but unfortunately the road team has put their foot down and said they want me there at the beginning of March," Scully said.

"Those are some pretty good options – having the national track team and a good pro team like this both wanting you – but it's one way or the other this time around."

It will be Scully's second season racing for the United States-based team which will ride under the Chipolte First Solar banner.

Some extra funding will allow the team to head to France where Scully will spend significant time in Toulouse competing mainly in UCI category 2.1 and 2.2 races similar to the New Zealand Cycle Classic.

"We can learn to race at a younger age so that when we step up to the pro team we know how to race rather than just be expected to know what is going on. It was pretty challenging last year, being my first on the team and learning how it all works, but my goal was to get another start, which was successful."

A potentially career-ending race crash in Ireland in 2010 cost Scully any chance of competing at the Delhi Commonwealth Games and ruined his hopes of contending for a place at the London Olympics.

"It would have been great to go down that pathway but these things happen. I've come to terms with the fact that it's not going to happen for me this time around, but only being 22 there's plenty of time on my side with things like the Commonwealth Games in a couple of years' time and Rio's not too far away either."

Scully's favoured events, the points and scratch races, were taken out of the Olympic programme after Beijing in 2008 but there is talk they may be reinstated in time for Rio in 2016.

Regardless, his Olympic ambitions lie in other events.

"It was going to be an uphill battle to make the team pursuit or get the omnium spot [for London]. By the time I get down that track at Rio I'd like to be focusing on the team pursuit or the omnium rather than non-Olympic events."

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Scully will again team up with Allen for the two-man madison at this weekend's elite track championships in Invercargill, scheduled for Monday night, along with the scratch and points races.

Cycling Southland will look to make a strong start to both this three-day event and the national age group championships later this month after winning the national points series for the past four years.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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