‘s Leigh Howard will be back on the track at the Commonwealth Games.A return to the track for Leigh Howard will bring with it a heightened degree of scrutiny as ‘s cycling team eyes Tokyo 2020.
But that pressure is welcomed by the three-time world champion, who was going through the motions on the road and knew he needed to test himself again.
Howard pulled the pin on his road commitments last year after dipping his toe in at the 2017 world championships and walking away with team pursuit gold.
The 28-year-old’s next test will come at the Commonwealth Games at Brisbane’s Anna Meares Velodrome from Thursday.
The team pursuit will be his focus, while the former madison star will also aim to keep that event on his itinerary ahead of the Olympics.
“I didn’t want to think that I had never dug my heels in and had a proper crack (at the Olympics),” he told AAP from the team’s Brisbane base on Monday.
“I had achieved some things … not everything I wanted to on the road, but the Olympics was always nagging at me.”
The men’s track endurance squad is replete with rainbow jerseys, with reigning team pursuit world champions Samuel Welsford, Kelland O’Brien, Alexander Porter, Nicholas Yallouris and Howard all in good form.
Individual pursuit world champion Jordan Kerby and nine-time world champion Cameron Meyer round out the line-up, with Meyer also due to compete in the road race.
returned just two medals on the track at Rio as Great Britain emerged as the new powerhouse.
After a program overhaul ‘s expectations are much higher for Tokyo and, according to Howard, realistically so.
“All eyes are on us; we’ve been below average at the last couple but I’ve got to say the whole team is hungrier than ever to get back on the top step,” he said.
“There’s been a huge shift and it’s bloody exciting.”