Australian track cyclist Shane Perkins will go into today’s keirin competition buoyed by his bronze medal-winning effort at the velodrome last night.
Perkins revealed he had picked up a virus prior to Australia’s disappointing fourth-place result in the team sprint on Thursday and was delighted to have won individual bronze after beating Trinidad’s Njisane Phillip.
“It didn’t really knock too much off me,” he said of his illness.
“My form was still good. But each day after I got the virus my form was actually getting better, so today I actually felt the best I have for the week, for the Olympics. It showed in those races, tactically and physically.”
Jason Kenny showed that he had been the correct choice ahead of cycling legend Chris Hoy in the sprint for Britain when he beat Frenchman Gregory Bauge in two races to claim gold.
Perkins had earlier lost out on a chance to compete in the final when he lost twice to Bauge in the semis.
But he was determined not to slip out of the medals in his ride for bronze and scored a clean sweep against Phillip.
Perkins will take confidence from last night’s performances when he clashes with Hoy in today’s keirin.
“Waking up this morning and actually feeling good when I woke up, not crook and wanting to go back to sleep, gave me a bit of confidence in itself and then obviously the racing tonight showed me that the form’s there,” he said.
“Some of the guys to watch in the keirin didn’t actually ride the sprint. We’ll just go back and look at some of the videos in the past year and see what we’re up against tomorrow.
“I think having the races tonight and having a few wins under the belt is going give me the confidence tomorrow to go out there and do my best.”
Perkins, the 2011 keirin world champion, won his first encounter with Phillip, catching his opponent in a dash for the line to finish in 10.489sec and put himself in pole position for a medal.
In the second race, he took the initiative early and attacked Phillip, who was unable to respond. Perkins raced away to claim the race in 10.297sec.
After the disappointment of losing out in the team sprint, Perkins paid tribute to his teammates Scott Sunderland, from WA, and Matt Glaetzer for the role they had played in his individual success.
“I saw my teammates up there on the bend and it was great to be able to share something like this with them,” he said.
“I’ll get home tonight and obviously thank them for all their help and support as well. All of us training together, we’re all pushing each other so I’ve got them to thank as much as anyone.”
He said finishing outside the medals in the team sprint had been hard to take but he expected it would provide the spur for success further down the track.
“It hit us pretty hard,” he said. “We got the confidence from winning the world championship and then to come here and come fourth, it’s a bit of a blow.“You get the two extremes, which to me creates a challenge and I think that’s going to put us in good stead for the next few years.”
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