Howard and O’Brien hoping for London crown
26 September 2018
Australian Leigh Howard will head to Phynova Six Day London hoping to follow in the footsteps of last year’s victors, compatriots Cameron Meyer and Callum Scotson.
The Commonwealth champion will compete at Lee Valley Velodrome for the first time in his career alongside partner and fellow Gold Coast gold medallist Kelland O’Brien.
After the 28-year-old smashed the world record en route to team pursuit gold at his home Games, Howard cannot wait to get back on track.
“I’m really excited for the series, it’s good to have another goal to focus on with a whole series instead of just being one thing,” said the three-time World champion.
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“It will be good to get back to England too, I haven’t raced there for quite a while and I’ve never raced on the London track, so that will be a first for me.
“Racing in England is similar in a way to Australia, you do notice the difference in crowd – obviously when you race in front of a home crowd they’re all on your side, and vice versa when you race in other countries.
“I think wherever you go in the world the cycling fans always cheer you no matter which country you’re from though, in that sense it’s one of the reasons why people love cycling so much.
“It’s not like going to a football match where you get things thrown at you! It’s a fantastic atmosphere.
“I’ve got a really good, young, motivated partner in Kell O’Brien, he’s crazy motivated for this sort of stuff, so it’ll be good to have him by my side.”
Howard’s partner Kell O’Brien
Howard formed part of the Australian quartet that reclaimed the team pursuit world record for the first time since 2004 with a breathtaking gold medal ride of 3m 49.8s.
Reflecting on an incredible home Commonwealth Games that saw Australia secure track cycling bragging rights over their British cousins, the Geelong-born rider has predicted a bright future for the Australian squad.
“It was pretty amazing winning the gold on the Gold Coast in front of the home crowd, my family were there and it’s not always that they get to come so that was pretty amazing,” he said.
“We knew going in that we would go close, we’d set some good times in training and everything was looking good. To actually pull it off was huge.
“But it’s huge for Australian cycling for him to be coming through, he’s 20 and he’s already riding round in a 3.49m, so to see what he can do in two, three, five years’ time is going to be pretty special to watch.
“All of the young guys are good, I’m the oldest by far, it’s exciting for the future that’s for sure.
“I try to give them tips from time to time but to be honest they’re just as good – if not better than me – on their day.”
While there will be stiff competition for the duo at the Lee Valley Velo Park in October, Howard hasn’t shied away from expressing his Six Day Series intentions in search of another major prize in 2018.
“I’d definitely be disappointed if I didn’t finish on the podium in London, saying that, I want to go there and be on the top step.
“I’ve spoken with Kell and we both want to go there and win. It’s probably one the hardest Six Day’s there is, it’s not going to be easy, we’ve got pretty high expectations of ourselves.”
Tickets for Six Day London 2018 start from £20.40 and are available now – here