Cronulla cyclist is dual world champ ... at 65

Gaye Lynn, 65, regularly beats a lot of quality male competitors around the scenic Oatley Park cycling track.

No hard feelings. They are rather used to Lynn whizzing past them in St George Cycling Club races.

The rather modest cyclist, who only started in the sport five years ago, recently shocked the best European women riders more familiar with the hills of Italy to become a dual world champion.

A runner with Sutherland Athletics Club, Lynn eventually switched sports because of knee problems.

‘‘I found cycling was good fun and socially, a very attractive sport,’’ said the Cronulla champion this week.

‘‘My son was into mountain-biking.’’

But few would realise what a ‘‘natural’’ Lynn actually was on a racing bike, peddling around the track, until she started racing in competition.

She put it all together this year. 

In February, she set the world’s fastest time of 2 minutes 47.719 seconds for the 2km individual pursuit at the Dunc Gray Velodrome (masters women).

Then, her training switched to the road — in particular the Time Trial and Road Race, with her major goal, the World Masters Road Cycling Championships in Trento, Italy.

At the NSW Masters Road Titles held in Goulburn a few months ago, she won three gold medals for winning the Criterium, Road Race and Time Trial, the second-fastest for all females above 30 years.

Her good form continued at the World Masters Championships in Italy where, despite encountering rather foreign 18-kilometre climbs and a ‘‘15 per cent gradient,’’ she won the Masters 8 Time Trial and Road Race — and became a double world champion.

‘‘It was something I hadn’t been used to, so I was happy to win both,’’ she said of the hills.

Lynn was crowned triple national champion last week at the Australian Masters Road Championships in Goulburn, taking out the Time Trial, Criterium and Road Race.

Lynn is modest talking about her achievements, and much more comfortable referring to her son and daughter running in the 2013 New York marathon.

‘‘I was just lucky to find a sport I enjoyed in cycling,’’ she said of her switch. ‘‘It is a great sport.’’

And becoming a dual world champion? ‘‘Yeah, they were nice ... but they were only for the over 65 years division,’’ she said, almost dismissively.

However, her coach Jenny Triggs said: ‘‘Gaye is one awesome sportswoman. For a 65-year-old to achieve what Gaye has in 2013 is nothing short of remarkable.

‘‘Especially when you remember she only took up cycling late in life.’’

Kaarle McCulloch

Olympian Kaarle McCulloch is the only female NSW cyclist in the Australian team competing in the three-day World Cup Track series starting at the British National Cycling Centre, Manchester, this Friday.

The St George Cycling Club champion will compete against the world’s best track cyclists in a World Cup series across three rounds for points towards the World Championships in February in Cali, Colombia, and Olympic Games qualification.

Manchester will host the first round of the 2013-14 series, followed by Aguascalientes (Mexico), with the third and final round to be confirmed shortly. 

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL TEAM

Women: Georgia Baker (WA), Annette Edmondson (SA), Kaarle McCulloch (NSW), Stephanie Morton (SA), Rebecca Wiasak (ACT), Elissa Wundersitz (WA).

Men: Mitchell Bullen (NSW), Luke Davison (SA), Alexander Edmondson (SA), Daniel Ellis (ACT), Matthew Glaetzer (SA), Joshua Harrison (SA), Mitchell Mulhern (QLD), Miles Scotson (SA)

Jayco-AIS: Peter Lewis (NSW), Shane Perkins (VIC), Anna Meares (SA). 

From running to cycling: Gaye Lynn switched sports because of knee problems. Picture: Lisa McMahon

From running to cycling: Gaye Lynn switched sports because of knee problems. Picture: Lisa McMahon

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