Still smarting from a Beijing “flogging”, Anna Meares has lamented the attitude of several champion British cyclists who have withdrawn from the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Meares has been supportive of teammate Travis Mayer’s decision to pull out over health and security fears.
However, the world champion said it was “disappointing” that champion Brits Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift and Russell Downing had opted not to travel to India.
“Like with Travis, it is their (Brits’) prerogative not to be here. It is disappointing that the reason they gave was because the European championships were too close (a month after the Games),” the reigning world champion said on Wednesday.
“We want to win and win against the best in the world and currently those guys are the best in the world.
“I can’t speak for the Brits and the attitude they have taken to these Commonwealth Games but they are important to me, important to the Australian people and that’s why I am here.
“I think you have to take them for what they are, and that is the spirit of great competition, friendliness and bringing nations together – I like being a part of this.”
The missing Brits’ excuse didn’t appear to hold water with Meares who will leave with the Australian team immediately after the Delhi competition to prepare for next month’s Oceania Games in Adelaide.
“We are competing at the Oceania Games five or six weeks after this so…” Meares said.
But she added: “Australians are a lot more accustomed to travelling around the world than the Europeans – it is second nature to us.”
Meares said the powerful Australian cycling team – boasting seven world champions – had looked forward to exacting some revenge on the Brits in Delhi after being ambushed at the Beijing Olympics.
The Queenslander did her best to stem the British invasion in 2008, miraculously coming back from a broken neck to claim silver in China.
The British no show in Delhi now sets the stage for an epic meeting at the 2012 London Olympics.
“There is definitely some unfinished business at London,” said Meares, who is the red-hot favourite in the sprint and 500m time trial.
“I think as Australians and the spirit we encompass, when we get knocked down we pick ourselves back up again.
“We got a flogging in Beijing to be honest – eight out of the 10 gold medals went to Britain, but that is starting to swing.
“If you follow our sport Australia has been the No.1 team at the last couple of years at the world championships.
“That’s not to say we have the measure of the British by any means.
“You can imagine what it is like to compete at a home Olympic Games – they are going to have that home turf advantage.”