O'Brien gears up for top debut at Commonwealth Games
CYCLING: Australian Cycling Academy teenager Kelland O'Brien says preparations towards achieving "something special” on the Commonwealth Games stage are well on track.
The 19-year-old joined ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast teammate Sam Welsford to claim a dominant victory during a prominent madison event in Bendigo last week.
It was the first time he had won the race, after finishing second and third in his previous two attempts.
O'Brien and Welsford weren't the only ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast cyclists to perform well during the 200-lap event with Leigh Howard and Cameron Scott sprinting into second spot.
O'Brien, along with Welsford and Howard, are set to debut at the Gold Coast in April and the teenager said the event had formed an integral part of preparations.
"It (win) didn't really sink in straight away but it has now and I'm really proud of taking the win out at Bendigo this year,” O'Brien said.
"I think it's a really awesome race and you can bounce out of it really well.
"Given that it was three or four weeks before the Commonwealth Games it was perfect timing for us too and we can carry a little bit of confidence with how we rode together and how we're feeling so it was a really important race.”
With the Bendigo meet now behind him, and the Games fast-approaching, O'Brien said the Australian team were working hard to fine-tune fitness and skill levels.
"We're just head down, bum up and training really had,” he said.
O'Brien, who lives and trains in Adelaide, is certainly no stranger to international success, being the reigning world champion in team pursuit.
However, he said a debut on the Gold Coast would be an entirely different atmosphere.
"It took a while for it to sink in that I was going to go to a Commonwealth Games and especially with it being at home in Australia,” he said.
"I'm really excited and it's such an awesome opportunity getting to go there with such an awesome group of mates.
"We're a really good team and we're all looking forward to going together and doing something special.”