King gets back on track after Games setback
Tahlay Christie. Pic: Simon Santi

WA track cyclist Bella King was one of the last riders to miss out on Commonwealth Games selection this year, but has already begun making the changes necessary to ensure she won’t be overlooked come the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

King, 22, won bronze for Australia in the team pursuit at this year’s world championships but narrowly missed out on the five-woman Glasgow squad when it was announced earlier this month.

She answered her omission by dominating the omnium at the International Track Series in Adelaide last week and will be one of the star attractions when she returns to Perth for Sunday’s winter grand prix at the Midvale SpeedDome.

King will move to Adelaide later this year, the home of Cycling Australia’s high performance unit, putting her medical degree on the backburner to give herself the best chance of qualifying for Rio.

WAIS cycling head coach Clay Worthington said King has “blossomed” as a competitor this year and backed her to achieve her Olympic dream.

“My prediction is she can do it, she can do it better that she thinks,” he said.

“I think there’s some key areas that if she investigates her preparation and her strengths versus her weaknesses and changes the way she prepares I think she’ll find she can be more competitive than she has been individually at both national and international level.

“Time will tell if I’m right or wrong but she’s embraced those ideas. She’s giving it a full crack and she’s fully invested.

“I think she has a great chance.”

Under-19 pair Tahlay Christie and Sam Welsford are two other WA riders coming off tremendous results in Adelaide last week who are set to compete in Sunday’s grand prix.

Christie, who required special dispensation to race in the category as a 15-year-old, continued her outstanding year by winning five of her six races.

Welsford won five of his seven races with the full national junior squad in attendance, a positive sign ahead of this year’s junior world championships in Korea.

The winter grand prix begins at the Midvale SpeedDome at 10am and features the 66th running of the historic Westral Wheelrace handicap.

The West Australian

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