World champion cruises into town

ON TRACK FOR SUCCESS: World champion track cyclist Alexander Porter was in Mount Gambier this week to take delivery of his new Subaru Impreza.

IT was a whirlwind ride for world-champion track cyclist Alexander Porter when he made the trip from Adelaide to Mount Gambier to take delivery of his new Subaru Impreza at the local dealership.

He turned up all smiles at Carlin and Gazzard yesterday and was more than happy to take time out to have a chat to The Border Watch.

That whirlwind scenario reads much like the 21-year-old’s success on the track, which all began in high school.

In a matter of a few years Porter had claimed a world championship in team pursuit in the Under 19 category in 2014.

From there he went on to claim back-to-back elite titles in the same discipline in 2016 and 2017.

Add to that a national title in in team pursuit, omnium and various other podium finishes across the range of track events and the list continues to grow.

Porter told The Border Watch his career was “going pretty well, I can’t complain”.

The rapid ride to the top began when undertaking a simple fitness program at high school.

“I got into cycling when I was in year 10 through school,” Porter said.

“The South Australian Sports Institute did a fitness test as part of our curriculum and through that they pick a few sports – it could be rowers, cyclists or volleyballers.

“Through that they said I could be a good cyclist.

“I had only ridden a general mountain bike every so often before then.

“I was playing footy at the time and had no interest in riding a bike until that came along, then I watched the Tour de France with my uncle and that was a bit of an inspiration.

“It sort of snowballed from there.”

While Porter said the sport was tough at the beginning, the results soon came.

Within in a short period of time he had become a world champion at the Under 19 level, which he said was an amazing feeling.

“That was pretty special, because at that point I had only been riding for about three years,” Porter said.

“I hadn’t ever really thought I would get a world title in that short period of time.

“It was a pretty remarkable feeling and definitely gave me a taste of what it was like and to want to push on to win an elite title.”

After another two years that dream became a reality, with his first elite world title achieved at London in 2016.

From there he backed that up with another title this year in Hong Kong.

According to Porter it is still hard to explain how that felt.

“The first one was unbelievable,” he said.

“Six months before that I didn’t expect to be in the team.

“Just to make the team I was stoked, then to actually go to the race and win a world title was an insane feeling.

“Even now it’s hard to explain the feeling I had winning it.

“Then to do it again the second year with a bit of a different team, but a few of the guys I had raced with before, to go back-to-back with them was special.”

Porter said his immediate focus was on the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year, before aiming for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

But he also has an interest in road cycling, which could see a change of format for the young champion in the future.

“I have always had an interest in road cycling,” he said.

“It was just at the time the best way to progress my cycling was through the track.

“Now I’ve started to get to a place in my career where I can look at the road.

“I had a pretty successful National Road Series this year, where I managed to pick up two medals.

“Now I’ve started to look a bit more at the road to see if post-Tokyo I could make a career of that, but at the moment I’m mainly focusing on the Commonwealth Games.”

Porter had some simple advice for any youngsters interested in cycling as a sport.

“The best thing I can say is at first, just stick with it,” he said.

“In my first year-and-a-half of being a bike rider, I was coming nearly last in every race, but was enjoying it.

“As long as you are enjoying it you are going to progress.

“If you told me six years ago I was going to be a two-time elite world champion on the track and looking to go to a Commonwealth Games and Olympics, I would have thought you were crazy.

“Just as long as you are having fun and stick with it, you don’t know where it will take you.

“Just enjoy the ride.”