Cheatley confident of Olympic berth

By David Ogilvie

Life isn't going to get any easier for Wanganui professional cyclist Catherine Cheatley.
After riding 45 professional races in the past four months, Cheatley is home for a break - before taking on worldwide opposition to gain just one of 18 starting places in the 2008 Olympic Games track points race in Beijing.
To reach this mark, she will have to ride - and finish well enough placed in - a series of world championship and Olympic qualifying events through the New Zealand summer.
And if she qualifies New Zealand for a starting spot, she still has to gain selection ahead of a strong rival in Jo Kiesanowski, who specialises in the same events as Cheatley.
You think that's tough? New Zealand's women sprinters have to be one of just 12 Beijing qualifiers, and the pursuit riders have to aim for a spot in a field of even less.
But Cheatley, back in her home town after her first professional overseas cycling campaign which netted a world championship points race bronze on April 1, and a highly successful road season with the United States-based Cheerwine team, is confident she can crack the Games team.
Her next task is to sit down with coach Ron Cheatley and sort out a programme which would get her to the Games in the best possible condition to perform - but the hard work starts as soon as November, where the Oceania Games are a world championship qualifier.
That's followed by World Cups in Sydney and Beijing with 10 days, which are Olympic qualifiers, and maybe other cups if necessary topped off by the March world championships, which are also a Games qualifier.
It's really a confusing process," Cheatley said yesterday.
"We have to sit down and study bit and make sure we fully understand the right way to qualifying.
"Qualifying will be the hardest thing."
Cheatley says she's also keen on the road race, which is a full week before the points race at the Olympics.
"I'll be giving selection for the road race a big crack as well, after the way I've ridden this year.

The way the programme is I can do both but doing that qualifying is the hardest thing."
Cheatley aims to return to the United States next year for another campaign, with Cheerwine and several other teams after her services.
PICTURED: Happy at home with Catherine Cheatley arrives back with: (right) a world championship track bronze medal and (left) a bottle of Cheerwine, a team symbol.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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