• Australia's Sam Welsford leads his team in the Men's Team Pursuit during day 1 of the 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Revolve24 Australia is one of the few events in the cycling world proceeding at the moment, with Olympians and endurance enthusiasts set to start the South Australian event on March 21.
By
Jamie Finch-Penninger

16 Mar 2020 - 10:11 AM  UPDATED 16 Mar 2020 - 10:20 AM

The Australian team pursuit squad has been the latest entrants announced for the 24-hour endurance event staged around the Bend Motorsport Park in Tailem Bend.

The squad will use the event as a shake-up in preparation heading into the Olympics, with coach and participant in the previous two editions, Tim Decker, watching on from the pits after clocking 1648 kilometres over 48 hours of riding.

Sam Welsford, Kelland O’Brien, Leigh Howard, Alex Porter, Cameron Scott and Luke Plapp are listed to ride the event in the relay category. The current Olympic hopefuls will be joined by Olympic legends of the past.

Tim O’Shannessey (Atlanta, 1996), Graeme Brown (Athens, 2004), Steve McGlede (Seoul, 1988, Atlanta, 1996), Darren Harry (Syndey, 2000), Darryn Hill (Sydney, 2000) and Wayne McCarney (Seoul, 1988) will take to the start line at The Bend under the guidance of Race Director and former Olympian himself, Stuart O’Grady. All took home medals from their participation in the Games.

Race organiser David Fell spoke of the excitement of having top-tier athletes provide that litle extra boost of star power.

"I get quite excited about this," said Fell. "Having Olympians of yesteryear - as well as Olympians of the present and future - on the track is brilliant.

"We'll also have a display of Olympic memorabilia in the welcome centre at registration. I get quite excited by the fact that we'll have some of the highest quality riders in the world present."

Longer endurance efforts have experienced somewhat of a resurgence in recent years, with more interest paid to races like the Race across America (RAAM) and the short-lived Australian transcontinental race, Indipac. While Revolve24 is removed from these ultra-endurance events, it offers a way to transition to that form of competition.

"First and foremost, it's a qualifier for Race across America (RAAM), the only Australian qualifier," said Fell. "So, if you want to ride from coast to coast in what is renowned as the hardest race in the world then Revolve24 is the race to do.

"We're a bit of a stepping stone for those ultra-endurance athletes. We're seeing a real expansion in the solo 24-hour category, we've got 40 riders now."

Sabine "The Bean' Bird is the highest-profile of the solo riders, coming off two wins in the women's category in the past two editions of Revolve24 and her participation in RAAM in 2019.

Apart from Olympic stars and the ridiculous athletes that tackle the ultra-endurance races, there are a range of others taking on The Bend Motorsport Park.

"We've got a beautiful range of people," said Fell, "with the relay, the 6-hour challenge, the 12-hour challenge and everyone from those training for RAAM to people riding for charity competing.

"What I do like about endurance cycling is that everyone is there for each other. If there's a problem out on track, you'll see people stop and offer help and in the pits, everyone is helping everyone else out.

"It's a very friendly supportive environment. It's something bigger than me versus you, it's both of us against this big physical challenge."

With riders coming from around Australia and boasting career highlights from the Olympics of Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, Rio and possibly even Tokyo, there's plenty of interest in the upcoming third edition of Revolve24.

Entries are open until March 19.