Cycling coach Decker sidelined by surgery

Roger Vaughan

Australia's powerful track cycling squad have suffered a new blow, with coach Tim Decker out of action for several weeks after emergency brain surgery.

It follows the shock news last month that sprinter Matthew Glaetzer needed surgery for thyroid cancer.

But the sprint ace is a confirmed starter for the key World Cup rounds over the next two weekends in New Zealand and then Brisbane.

The two-time world champion will be managed through the events and there are no concerns about Glaetzer racing.

Immediately after the Brisbane round on December 13-15 he will renew cancer treatment with a course of radioactive iodine tablets.

The two-time Olympian remains focussed on his preparations for the Tokyo Games.

While the news is positive about Glaetzer, the powerful men's and women's team pursuit squads are now without their coach Decker until some time in the new year.

Decker underwent surgery last Monday to repair a brain bleed.

Still a keen cyclist, he crashed in a group ride on September 25 and was knocked unconscious, with the brain bleed understood to have stemmed from that accident.

Five years ago, nearly to the day, Decker also needed brain surgery after another bike crash.

As part of the recovery from this latest scare, Decker cannot ride or drive for three months.

Australia are reigning world champions in the men's and women's team pursuits, with the men also breaking their own world record in February at the world titles.

Most of the riders in those world championship lineups will race at the New Zealand and Brisbane World Cup rounds.

The Australian squad for the two World Cups will feature 10 reigning world champions.

The World Cups carry qualifying points for the Tokyo Olympics, with Brisbane also the last home event for the Australian track squad ahead of the February world championships in Berlin.