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Meares eyeing record fourth Olympics

  • Meares eyeing record fourth Olympics

She's already arguably Australia's greatest female cyclist and now Anna Meares is intent on cementing her status as the most enduring.

Meares' gold medal-winning start to the season at the Oceania championships at the weekend very much confirmed the 32-year-old is on track to become the first Australian woman cyclist to contest four Olympic Games.

Of her all incredible achievements, the 11-times world champion and dual Olympic gold medallist ranks her longevity alongside any of her countless triumphs.

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"No one's done four before, so I'm hugely proud," Meares told AAP on Tuesday.

"And I'm hugely proud of even attempting to do something like that.

"I think sometimes that can be lost with people who don't know or perhaps don't appreciate that - not just the longevity but still delivering."

A shooting star with her Olympic 500m time trial win in Athens in 2004, Meares made an extraordinary comeback from a broken neck to claim silver in the sprint in Beijing four years later before conquering her great British rival Victoria Pendleton to win the event in London in 2012.

But she is showing no signs of slowing down, refusing to reveal how much longer she'll carry on racing.

"I'm not in my twilight years. I'm still well and truly young at heart," Meares said.

"Things are actually in a really good place for me now."

Three times world champions, Meares combined with Kaarle McCulloch to win the team sprint at the Oceania championships and she also collected a bronze in the Keirin.

"I only raced two races, which is a reduced program from what I would normally ride, but I'm really pleased with it actually, just to dip the toe into the first competition of the season," Meares said.

Only 1992 Olympic road race champion Kathy Watt, also a silver medallist in the individual pursuit, could come close to challenging Meares as Australia's greatest female cyclist.

The veteran believes staying grounded is the key, being acutely aware that national selectors can only take two sprinters to Rio from a strong group also featuring McCulloch, Stephanie Morton and Caitlin Ward.

"There's nothing that says Anna Meares has a start at the Olympic Games," Meares said.

"There's competition. Nothing's guaranteed. If I want to go to Rio, I need to perform by putting my hand up.

"I don't have a pass, I don't have an easy run. I need to earn my position."

If, as expected, Meares qualifies for a fourth Olympics, the humble champion has two big goals.

She's just not sharing them.

"Because I've shared my goals in the past and it has added an element of judgment and pressure that I don't think is necessary," Meares said.

"This allows me the opportunity to be the only person to judge my level of success and that comes with the territory for me being as successful as I have for a long period of time."

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