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O'Shea revels in omnium
Roger Vaughan
09:34 AEST Fri Aug 3 2012

Glenn O'Shea can understand the track cycling purists gnashing their teeth.

But the omnium's inclusion as an Olympic sport has fallen into his lap.

O'Shea won the senior world title in the six-discipline event for the first time earlier this year and he is one of the strong favourites for the two-day event starting on Saturday.

The omnium features standard track events - the individual pursuit, points race, flying 200m, elimination, scratch race and time trial.

Riders score points for where they finish in each event and the competitor with the lowest score wins.

It joined the Olympics as part of the controversial overhaul of the track cycling program after the Beijing Games.

While the revamp achieved gender parity in medals, it came at the expense of popular events such as the 4000m individual pursuit.

"It's a hard one - when they took the events out, I was actually disappointed," O'Shea said.

"Then I looked at the flip side and thought 'this could be a real positive', and it has been.

"There are a few traditionalists who've said they shouldn't have done it, but the omnium is still a great event and it showcases a lot of different aspects of track cycling."

The omnium also plays to O'Shea's strengths as an all-round track rider, particularly since it was modified from five to six events and became more biased towards endurance riders.

"Making it a little more endurance-based has suited me right down to the ground," he said.

Still, winning the world title means, in his own words, "a target on my head".

"We've done our research and there are 10 different people who can win a gold medal," he said.

Making the Olympics itself has been a triumph for O'Shea, who struggled with ill health through 2009-10 and then temporarily retired from the sport.

O'Shea famously decided it was time to return to cycling when he had to give up selling used cars because he was too nice.

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