Palmer rides into London

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Hu­bert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

CARIBBEAN CY­CLING cham­pion Dahlia Palmer is ex­cited, as she puts the pol­ish in her prepa­ra­tions for the London leg of her sport’s World Cup. Palmer, whose first taste of the World Cup was in Oc­to­ber, says she has learnt from that ex­pe­ri­ence. De­spite the buzz she al­ways gets when rac­ing, as time draws nigh, she says it is im­por­tant to keep calm.

Palmer leaves her train­ing base in Trinidad and Tobago for London next Wed­nes­day, as the London leg of the World Cup will be con­tested from De­cem­ber 14-16.

Asked if she was ex­cited about the prospect of rac­ing the world’s best again, she smiled, “Yes, I am, I’m al­ways ex­cited for rac­ing. When it comes to rac­ing, you have to al­ways re­main calm and fo­cused,” added the Green Is­land grad­u­ate.

“You can’t be too hy­per or over­con­fi­dent go­ing into the race, be­cause you try to elim­i­nate as much mis­takes as pos­si­ble.”

In Oc­to­ber, Palmer had her first taste of World Cup rac­ing in Mil­ton, Canada, where she raced in the women’s keirin and ad­vanced from

Heat 1 to the repechage round. Con­fronted with ex­pe­ri­enced high­qual­ity rid­ers, she missed the fi­nals.

In the keirin at the Mil­ton leg of the World Cup, Palmer faced Lithua­nian star Si­mona Kru­peck­aite, the 2009 500m time trial World Cham­pion and world record holder, and 2010 Keirin World Cham­pion, 2015 World keirin run­nerup Shanne Braspen­nincx of Hol­land and sec­ond keirin 2015 World Track Cham­pi­onships and Amer­ica’s Mada­lyn Godby, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Pan Amer­i­can Track Cy­cling Cham­pi­onships in the team sprint.

Palmer’s World Cup ven­ture has been made pos­si­ble by a part­ner­ship be­tween the Ja­maica Olympic As­so­ci­a­tion and the Ja­maica Cy­cling Fed­er­a­tion, and the Mil­ton races have prompted an evo­lu­tion of how she trains.

“The gym is just like be­ing on the bike and then in-be­tween, we’ll have the road rides, but there have been ad­just­ments in the gym and on the track,” she said.

With tar­gets that in­clude qual­i­fy­ing for the 2019 World Cham­pi­onships and the 2020 Olympics, Palmer is in for the long ride. The Mil­ton ex­pe­ri­ence was help­ful.

“It’s a learn­ing process, and we learnt from a few mis­takes and also weak spots, which we come to­gether, go back to the draw­ing board and worked on, which is re­ac­tion-wise about rac­ing, and so far, ev­ery­thing is fall­ing in place.”

In Mil­ton, her mere pres­ence cre­ated rip­ples. “No­body ever knew about this young lady from the small is­land of Ja­maica but she’s there in the World Cup”, she re­called.

Palmer isn’t over­awed by her com­pe­ti­tion. “I think I am ca­pa­ble of do­ing things just as much as what they’re do­ing just the same”, she de­ter­mined.

BEST PERFORMACE

In London, Palmer will be rac­ing to do her very best.

“Get­ting a medal is al­ways the ul­ti­mate goal, but at this point in time, my best per­for­mance, I will al­ways put my best per­for­mance for­ward,” she said. “Rac­ing in London is al­ways to gain as much ex­pe­ri­ence as pos­si­ble, be­cause every day is just a learn­ing process, and at least to try to bet­ter my past per­for­mance which was in Mil­ton, and keep striv­ing for higher goals.”

The Ja­maican has made progress since she re­turned to rid­ing full-time after grad­u­at­ing from the Univer­sity of Trinidad and Tobago, and in Septem­ber, she distin­guished her­self at the Caribbean Cham­pi­onships in Mex­ico. She took the 250me­tre sprint in the new Ja­maican na­tional record time of 11.14 sec­onds and also won the B fi­nal in the Keirin pace event. In Mex­ico, she earned her­self third place in the 500-me­tre sprint match race.

PALMER

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