Experience important in cycling - Palmer
Tough competition at last week's Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Cup meet in Canada has convinced Jamaica's Caribbean champion Dahlia Palmer that she needs to race the best more often.
Competing in Milton at the second leg of the UCI World Cup series, Palmer saw the race readiness of her rivals as the edge they have over her at present. It's an edge she hopes to put in her favour.
In Milton, she raced in the women's keirin and advanced from Heat 1 to the repechage round. Confronted with experienced high-quality riders, she missed the finals. The former Green Island High School sprinter and netballer learnt a lot from her first World Cup competition.
"At the end of the day, it comes down to experience, so the more you race the better it is for you, especially against the world's best because over the weekend, it's not like they were faster than me or something like that," she assessed.
"It's just that they used experience against me," she emphasised.
In the keirin, Palmer had to contend with Lithuanian star Simona Krupeckaite, the 2009 500m time trial World Champion and world record holder, and 2010 Keirin World Champion, 2015 World keirin runner-up 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.
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 250-metre 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.
"I was actually lacking in racing because my last competition was in Mexico," she reflected of her effort in Milton.
Pleased that the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has partnered with the Jamaica Cycling Federation to enable her to do races in the World Cup, she noted: "That was at the Championships and from thereon, I hadn't raced until Milton, and after Milton, I won't be racing again until London, so that is where the lack of racing affects my performances. The other girls, although they might not be racing until London or Berlin, they have places they could actually go to race."
The World Cup moves from Milton to Berlin, Germany, on the weekend of November 30 to December 2. Palmer won't be there but will next see action in London, England, a fortnight later, starting on December 14.
The World Cup, which serves as a qualifier for the 2019 World Championships in Poland and for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, continues in January with stops in New Zealand and China. "For 2020, it might be right there," she said, "but it's a long way to 2020."
Palmer hopes to build on the financial support she has received from the JOA.
"If I could get companies in Jamaica to come on board, I would really appreciate that," she said. That would enable her to get more races under her belt. "That comes with financial support, because as I said, the majority of those races are on the next side of the world," she explained.
Palmer raced for Jamaica at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the women's sprint and has made significant progress since graduation from her civil engineering studies in 2016. That allowed her to concentrate fully on cycling.