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Luke Davison – “The track in Mexico was insanely fast”

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The last time we spoke to 23 year-old Aussie, Luke Davison he was burning up the kermises back in the spring.

But now that it’s winter he’s back on the track and just keeps on winning.

He was third in the omnium at the Manchester World Cup to new Belgian track flyer and Gent Six Day winner, Jasper De Buyst but turned the tables in the recent Mexico World Cup, relegating De Buyst to third and taking the honours.

We spoke to him as he made the long journey back from Central America about the event which either fascinates you or leaves you cold.

I have to admit, it’s sucking me in…

Remind us of the disciplines in the omnium, please Luke.

“The flying lap is followed by a points race and the first day is rounded out with the elimination.

“The second day consists of the pursuit, then scratch and finally Kilometre time trial.”

Luke Davison
Luke (r) with Tim Veldt and Jasper De Buyst. Photo©Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Which were your strongest events in Mexico?

“The timed events so far seem to be my most constant but there are obviously more variables and tactics employed in the bunch events.

“The flying lap is my favourite but you’ve got to be constantly good across the board throughout both days.”

And what needs work?

“I’d like to improve my pursuit and Kilo time significantly.

“I believe the framework is there leading into Worlds and some more specific training could pay dividends.

“I’ll have to be a little more diligent and aggressive in the elimination too – you can completely cancel out any improvement in the timed events with one bad bunch race.”

But you’re no stranger to the omnium – you were world junior champion, does the experience of that still help?

“I think racing since I was 11 definitely has its advantages.

“The junior Worlds are to this day the highlight of my track career as in Australia we place a lot of emphasis on them.

“To win three titles in one year was something I had never even dreamed of.

“Since then however, the omnium has changed significantly with all events full Olympic distance now and spread over two days with six events rather than one day and five events in my junior years.”

How do you train for all the disciplines?

“Every event is quite different and so there’s a different approach to the training targeted at improving that specific event.

“At the end of the day I believe racing is the most valuable training for bunch events as you can only mimic so much in a training environment.”

Luke Davison
Luke hammers the individual pursuit at the Manchester World Cup. Photo©Alex Livesey/Getty Images

How did the altitude of Mexico affect you?

“The first few days were quite an eye opener as your lungs seem to have almost been sliced in half.

“By race day I was moderately well adjusted and I think everyone was in the same boat.

“It’s clear in the times that you have to adjust your approach to tackling the pursuit and going into the red for too long in bunch races can spell the end of any podium.

“The omnium is a game of measuring your efforts and the altitude just added to this.”

De Buyst won in Manchester with you third, it must have been nice to reverse that; is he still the main rival for the Worlds?

“I’ve been very impressed with his abilities in bunch races to conserve and his consistency in the timed events.

“The aim in Manchester was the team pursuit and the omnium points race followed 10 minutes after the final.

“Needless to say third was quite a shock considering my position mid-omnium and how my legs felt.

“In saying that of course it’s nice to be standing on top of the podium – but I’ve had a very different emphasis for each World Cup.

“I’ll be very wary of De Buyst at the world titles but anything can happen with, Veldt, Clancy and possibly Gate all classy riders who are capable of being up there.”

Riding in Manchester means you don’t have to go to Mexico again for the third World Cup, having ridden two – that must be a relief?

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Mexico to be honest.

“The people are very welcoming and we were treated like rock stars.

“The track was insanely fast and to witness so many world records was something I’ll remember for some time to come.

“It will be nice to string a good block together now though and prepare with my team mates for the world titles without interruptions.”

Does your omnium success mean that your team pursuit ambitions are on ice?

“Not at all.

“I’m still very motivated for the team pursuit and I want to be a part of it as long as I’m competitive.

“The goal has always been the team pursuit and around that I have my own individual goals in the omnium.

“Training with such an enthusiastic and hungry group of guys motivates me push myself even more and I think at the moment it’s only complementing my omnium prospects.”

The madison in Mexico, well off the podium – perhaps not the ride you wanted?

“It was a good hit out before the national omnium champs but it was clear we weren’t even remotely in the hunt after the first two sprints.”

Current World Omnium Champion Aaron Gate rode the Amsterdam Six Day; is a Six something you’d like to try?

“I’ve been to Belgium once this year for a road block with the national team and I loved the racing and atmosphere.

“It’s another world and the Six Days are the pinnacle.

“I wouldn’t rule it out but currently I’m pretty focused on my team pursuit ambitions and making the squad for the Commonwealth Games.”

Luke Davison
Luke will be with Synergy Baku for next season. PhotoS©ynergy Baku Cycling

How much of a break did you get between the road and track seasons?

“I get a rest day a week! Does that count?

“It’s a very full-on calendar.”

How difficult do you find it to move from road to track and then back again?

“The cadence is one of the major differences.

“It does take some time to adjust but it’s to be expected when you lose some weight for the road and vice versa when adding a little extra power for the track season.”

The Synergy Baku for team 2014 – how did that come about?

“Jeremy Hunt was interested in developing me and it all took off at the Azerbaijan tour earlier this year.

“They have a great racing program and more importantly a good group of guys all hungry for success.”

Have you discussed your road programme yet and how do you dovetail it with your track commitments?

“Leading into Worlds and the Commonwealth Games it will be heavily track orientated.

“After those two events and in between them focuses I’ll be full on for the road.”

Will you take a day off from training on Xmas Day?

“I’ll probably still ride, but because I enjoy it – but not for training.

“A few mates like meeting up and just doing what we call a low pace east lap.

“In the end it always turns into a lap of the eastern suburbs and beaches at Moto GP pace!”

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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