BENDIGO teenager Alessia McCaig is continuing to reach new heights in her cycling career, being named in the Australian team for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The 19-year-old, now based at the national Podium Potential Academy in Adelaide, joins fellow debutante Kristina Clonan, 24, and 39-year-old Breanna Hargrave as part of a three-pronged women's track sprint team in England.
The Games are scheduled to run from July 28 to August 8, with the track cycling to be held at The Lee Valley Velopark, which was built for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
McCaig is one of 34 cyclists on the Australian team and one of 23 making their Games debut.
It will be the fourth time she has donned the Australian green and gold in an international competition.
She previously represented Australia at the 2019 Oceania Championships, when she won gold in the time trial and team sprint, and again in 2022.
In April, she competed against the world's best at the Nations Cup in Glasgow.
McCaig said she was rapt with her efforts in Scotland in what was her toughest level of competition to date.
"I got a PB (personal best) in one of my races and I was really happy with how I raced," she said.
"I didn't get too many results, but as a 19-year-old at world level, I thought I did pretty well.
"Our sprint team finished seventh, we were pretty happy with that. It was only our second competition together and only the third time we've ever ridden together.
"It's the same team going to Comm Games, so I am sure we can improve and do better."
McCaig was informed of her selection about three weeks ago, but had to remain silent until Thursday's official announcement.
"That was a bit difficult, but we all managed to keep it on the down-low," she said.
"It's really exciting - maybe the best day of my life so far.
"I am very grateful to be selected in the team; there are a lot of other people behind the scenes that have put in a lot of hard work. A lot of this is for them."
Bendigo-born, McCaig started riding at the Bendigo and District Cycling Club as a nine-year-old and qualified for her first Junior Track National Championships in 2017 at 14.
The 2018 championships proved to be a breakout; she won four gold and two silver and was crowned champions of champions rider.
She currently holds four Australian records; the under-17 sprint and team sprint and under-19 sprint and time trial.
Despite her elevation to the international ranks, McCaig has never forgotten her roots.
"Definitely not, I'm still always asking mum and dad how Bendigo is holding up and how people are when I call them," she said.
It's really exciting - maybe the best day of my life so far.- Alessia McCaig
McCaig, who has just completed the first semester of her health science degree in Adelaide and has designs on becoming a chiropractor, has identified a few goals she would like to chase in England.
"It would be so amazing to get on the podium with the girls in team sprint; I think we're pretty close," she said.
"But we'll need to be pulling everything together at the last minute.
"That's obviously an aim. And just to be happy with my own racing and to be able to come off the track and say I raced the best I possibly could.
"Whether that means a PB or not, a medal or not, I'm still going to be happy and super-grateful I've gotten the opportunity to go and experience something amazing."
McCaig's events will be held across the first four days of Games competition.
The Australians will be looking to back up an incredible performance at the last games on home soil on the Gold Coast in 2018, after claiming 14 golds and 23 medals overall in 26 events.
Of particular excitement will be having her parents Ree and Cameron, brother Connor and aunt Alison in England watching on as she competes.
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