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World individual pursuit champ chases his Olympic dream

CHAMP: Jordan Kerby celebrates winning gold in the Men's Individual Pursuit Race Final UCI 2017 Track Cycling World Championships.
CHAMP: Jordan Kerby celebrates winning gold in the Men's Individual Pursuit Race Final UCI 2017 Track Cycling World Championships. ALEX HOFFORD

HE WAS Australia's shock world champion, and Fraser Coast product Jordan Kerby is in line for more honours.

The 25-year-old was named as an elite track finalist for the 2017 Cycling Australia Awards yesterday.

He, West Australian Cameron Meyer and South Australian Sam Welsford are nominated, with the winner to be announced at a gala dinner in Melbourne next Friday.

"I didn't really expect it as Australia has such a good calibre of track riders," Kerby told the Chronicle. "It's a privilege to be nominated."

Kerby shocked the world in April when he rode the third-fastest individual pursuit time, just 1.5 seconds outside the world record, on his way to a UCI Track Cycling World Championships gold medal in Hong Kong.

He beat 21-year-old Italian Filippo Ganna in 4min 17.068sec to win the final.

The seven months since that historic night in Hong Kong has changed Kerby's career focus.

The individual pursuit is no longer his primary event, he is now attempting to transform himself into a key team pursuit rider.

The reason was simple: there's no individual pursuit at the Olympics.

"If the goal is the Olympic Games, it has to be the team pursuit," the Xavier Catholic College graduate said. "If I go to the Commonwealth Games I will do both."

Kerby will have to compete against about 10 other hopefuls to earn his way to the Gold Coast event.

It is the main reason he relocated to Adelaide, the home of Cycling Australia's High Performance Unit.

He still trains about 20 riders at The Pedaler, in Brisbane, working remotely with his riders to help them achieve their goals.

In South Australia, he has spent much of his time "changing his physiology" to better adapt to the four-man pursuit in his chase of a future Olympic berth.

"Good team pursuit riders are generally bigger and more muscular than I am so the majority of it is changing my physiology," he said. "It's worked well so far."

He will test his new physique at the Oceania Track Championships at Cambridge, New Zealand, from November 20-23.

He is set to complete a full program, although his pet events - the team and individual pursuits - will be held on the first two days.

Kerby hopes to buck the trend of previous riders.

"History shows that as riders focus on team pursuit, they get a little slower in the individual pursuit," he said.

"I'll be able to tell you in two weeks."

Topics:  commonwealth games 2018 cycling fcsport gc2018