Cycling talent a safe Brett

August 03, 2017

Brett Lancaster riding in the Tour De France.

Brett Lancaster was relaxing back in Shepparton in January 2012 after a forgettable year in 2011.

Brett Lancaster's family and friends went crazy after he won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics

Brett Lancaster was a fan favourite during the 2005 Herald Sun Tour when it passed through Shepparton.

Brett Lancaster with wife Ally after winning Gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The family of one of Shepparton’s most successful international athletes did not anticipate just how far his talent would take him.

Brett Lancaster was a fast teenager on a bike when his uncle suggested he make an appearance at his local cycling club.

‘‘That’s basically how it started, there was no identification,’’ Lancaster’s mother Kim said.

‘‘He wasn’t spotted anywhere, he just went down to the local club and they encouraged him.’’

At just 14, Lancaster quickly established himself at the club as a steady rider on the velodrome track and the open road.

With no knowledge of the cycling world, Kim said club members identified Lancaster’s potential.

‘‘We didn’t recognise it because we hadn’t had anything to do with cycling previously, but people who were in cycling picked his talent,’’ she said,

When he was 18, Lancaster left his family home to attend the Australian Institute of Sport.

It was from there the success began.

During the past 20 years Lancaster, 37, represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games, the Olympic Games, the World Championships and the Tour de France.

Lancaster first stepped onto the world stage at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Lancaster won gold in the team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games, as well as the team pursuit title at the 1998 world titles.

Following these two achievements, Lancaster caught the eye of Olympic selectors and joined the Olympic cycling team.

Lancaster made his Olympic debut on home soil in Sydney in 2000, going on to compete at another two Games — Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.

Following the Sydney Olympics, Lancaster was part of a world record time in the 2002 world championships team pursuit.

But it was at the Athens Olympics where Lancaster won a record-breaking team pursuit gold.

Lancaster went on to ride in the Tour de France six times and, in 2013, won the team time trial alongside his teammate Simon Gerrans, who donned the yellow leader’s jersey.

Outside of France, Lancaster competed in various feature races including the Giro d’Italia, the Tour of California and the Tour of Slovenia.

Kim said, looking at the longevity of her son’s career, it had been amazing to follow him and watch what he had achieved.

‘‘It’s pretty amazing really, you don’t expect that to happen,’’ she said.

In 2005, the Federal Government formally recognised Lancaster’s achievements with an Order of Australia Medal.

‘‘(His career) is quite amazing when you sit down and think about it,’’ Kim said.

Lancaster retired from cycling in 2015.

Last year he took on a role as a sports director with British cycling team Team Sky, where he remains today.

Just last month Lancaster was working with the team at the Tour de France.

Because of his role planning races and looking after riders, Kim said Lancaster did not get much time to ride for leisure.

‘‘He does a bit of mountain bike riding and a bit on the road if he can, but I think when he gets home it’s family time,’’ she said.

‘‘He’s got two children, so he tries to spend as much time with them (as he can). I don’t think there’s much time for riding now, but he still enjoys it when he can get on the bike.’’

Lancaster was home in January last year and his family is looking forward to seeing him at Christmas this year when he returns home in the lead-up to his sister’s wedding.

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