Andy Blair aims for top 10 in Commonwealth Games debut

Queanbeyan mountain bike rider Andrew Blair finishes first across the line in the Port to Port mountain bike race on June 1. Photo: Ryan Osland.

Queanbeyan mountain bike rider Andrew Blair finishes first across the line in the Port to Port mountain bike race on June 1. Photo: Ryan Osland.

WHILE it may be the only chance Queanbeyan mountain bike racer Andrew Blair has at Commonwealth Games glory, training partner and good friend Shaun Lewis says he is honoured to have convinced him to go for selection.

At 35 years of age, it will be Blair's first, and likely last chance to impress the world on the second biggest stage next to the Olympics, and Lewis believes he has trained hard enough this year to even finish in the top ten overall.

"I told him he was just one good ride away from it, and he did that ride when it counted," Lewis told The Queanbeyan Age.

Blair confirmed Lewis' comment too.

"Top ten would be pretty good, but I'll know if I've had a good ride after the race," he said.

His "one good ride" happened at the Cairns world championship round in April, where he finished 28th overall, but rode with a good enough time to secure one of three cross-country team spots for Australia.

Lewis said it was a "sensational" feeling knowing his closest training partner and good friend was now a Commonwealth Games athlete, and training beside him from now on would be an honour.

"It gives the sport a whole lot more respect when someone gets to that level, and when someone that you know and someone that you train with gets to that top level," he said.

According to Lewis, despite Blair having rode for 20 years now, his ability has improved even further over the last six years, where Blair has competed at numerous national, Oceania and world championship events, and he said this was the reason he persuaded Blair to go one step further this year.

"With only three spots for grabs and thinking about other riders in Australia, I knew Andy could make the team, and so it was just about encouraging him to go through selection races," he said.

Meanwhile, Blair's preparation has been hampered by his bike not making two flights.

He arrived in Glasgow on Monday after warming up in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

"I haven't had a look at the [Glasgow] course yet, but I will get there as soon as my bike arrives," he said.

"The races in South Africa have been good preparation. I feel like I have benefited from getting some race fitness and getting out of the cold for a few weeks has been good for training."

Blair will be supported in Glasgow by his mother and father, and his best friend who lives in London.

His race is at 11pm local time on July 29.

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