BENDIGO cyclist Noel Sens will get his first taste of international coaching experience in Holland next week.
Sens will be an assistant coach for the Australian team at the European Cycling Championships for cyclists with a disability, which will be held from August 10 to 22.
The 47-year-old is familiar with the European championships having already raced at the event twice, winning a gold medal in the team track sprint in 2003 in what has been his best result at international level.
Sens will be an assistant coach to Kevin McIntosh, who is a former coach of the Bendigo and District Cycling Club and now living in Adelaide.
"I haven't coached at a national level before, so to coach internationally is a big thing straight off," Sens said yesterday.
"I will probably be doing a lot of the work - the national coach tends to sit back a bit and the assistant seems to do most of the work.
"The assistant has to prepare the athletes mentally and physically, warm them up, get all the equipment ready with the mechanics, do all the timing and train with the athletes," he said.
"I guess it will be a big responsibility, but I'm looking forward to it.
"You have to start somewhere I suppose, so you might as well be thrown into the deep end."
The championships will feature both track and road events.
The Australian team, which will feature just 12 riders instead of the usual 22, will leave for the championships on Monday.
Sens has been told he will keep his assistant coaches role with the Australian team through until the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing and he hopes to pass on the knowledge that he has gained from his coach, Lawrie Naughton.
"Lawrie has shown me a lot and, hopefully, I will go on to be a good coach like Lawrie has been to me and a lot of other cyclists."
Sens and fellow well-known Bendigo cyclist Tim Decker completed a level two coaching course in Sydney earlier this year.