WINNER: Sam Welsford, right, celebrates winning gold, alongside Leigh Howard, after the men's 15km scratch race final at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Anna Meares Velodrome.
WINNER: Sam Welsford, right, celebrates winning gold, alongside Leigh Howard, after the men's 15km scratch race final at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Anna Meares Velodrome. Matt King

Welsford aims for Tokyo, with one eye on madison event

CYCLING: Newly-crowned Commonwealth Games scratch racing gold medallist Sam Welsford has his sights on Tokyo 2020 and says he'd relish the opportunity to compete in the madison in its return to the Olympics.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a stunning campaign at the Gold Coast.

He was part of Australia's world-record breaking team pursuit squad on Thursday, before producing a blistering ride in the 15km race on Saturday.

Welsford, a member of the Australian Cycling Academy - Ride Sunshine Coast team, flashed home to finish ahead of New Zealand's Campbell Stewart and England's Chris Latham.

It had appeared as though Englishman Ethan Hayter had stolen a race-winning gap on the bunch but he was mowed down in the final lap.

"I just put my head down. I knew I had to work pretty hard about two laps out to try and get that guy back for the finish and lucky enough I got him in the last half lap,” Welsford said.

Australia's Cameron Meyer and ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast's Leigh Howard helped make it an up-tempo race for Welsford to capitalise on.

He's aiming for big things at the Olympics.

"Tokyo's the end goal and I really want to hope to get there and try and go one better from Rio,” he said.

He was part of Australia's silver-medal winning team pursuit squad there.

"To come second by 0.6 of a second is pretty heartbreaking but it's also really motivating for myself and all the guys want it just as bad so each training session from Rio has been all about moving forward and trying to get close to that gold medal at the Olympics,” he said.

But that's not the only event on his radar in Japan.

"I've had a bit of an omnium focus for a bit throughout my racing but who knows?” he said.

"It would be awesome to do the madison at the Olympics...

"But the team pursuit will be our (main) focus and the bunch racing will be our second focus.”

The madison, a relay event for two riders per team, has not featured at an Olympics since Beijing in 2008.

Meyer and Callum Scotson were Australia's representatives in the madison at the world championships last year, bagging silver.

Welsford combined with Jordan Kerby to claim second place at the national championships last year, behind Rohan Wight and Alex Porter.


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