Macey Stewart locked in for Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series

COMING BACK: Macey Stewart will compete in four of the Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series events. Picture: Simon Sturzaker
COMING BACK: Macey Stewart will compete in four of the Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series events. Picture: Simon Sturzaker

The strength of the women's cycling fields for the Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series continues to grow with a North-West Coast star locked in to compete.

Devonport's Macey Stewart, who has spent the year as a part of the Australian Cycling Team in preparation for a possible tilt at the Tokyo Olympics, will return to race at the Launceston, Latrobe, Devonport and Burnie carnivals.

The 23-year-old said it was an easy decision to put her hand up to come back to Tasmania and compete after a childhood spent racing at the carnivals.

"It's goes back too far I can't even remember. My first carnivals would have been about 14 years ago now," she said

"I can remember photos of myself in all my brothers 'hand me downs' when I was in my fifth year of under 13s."

"One year my brother and I won the under 15 and under 17 wheel races at Devonport, our home carnival, so that was pretty cool."

2019 has been a huge year for the former world junior champion following her selection in the exclusive Australian Cycling Team in the women's endurance team, competing in Belgium and Scotland as she looked increase her chances of being selected for next year's Olympics.

Stewart said the selection in the Australia squad this year allowed her step up to the next level.

"2019 has been a huge year of growth for me, physically and mentally.

"I've really stepped up to another level professionally because I've been around the best riders in the world every single day. Pretty cool that they double up as my best friends.

"A year highlight would be the races I did with the girls in Belgium before I got injured. I proved to myself that I had stepped up to another level, and the team rode so well together, we were so pumped."

The recent announcement of an increase to women's prize money at the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals, with the Burnie Gift and Burnie Wheel winners to receive the same as the men, was enough to ensure Stewart wasn't going to miss out.

"Really stoked with this. It's about time, in this day and age, that everything becomes equal.

"It's a big motivation for me and my fellow female competitors to put on a show.

"There's more on the line so you can guarantee the competition will be hot."

Stewart highlighted the Devonport and Burnie wheel races as the titles she wanted to win most.

"I always love my home (Devonport) wheel race, especially when last year I was on the ride of my life and got a puncture, but the prize money at Burnie is motivation that's hard to beat this year.

"I'd also like to win the scratch races to prove where I am at physically, which you can't always see in handicapped racing."

Stewart will be amongst the back markers this year, a challenge she was ready for.

"I've been at that back for a lot of years now and it is always an unknown before the start if you have a chance to win or not.

"It can be daunting looking all the way around the track to the people you are chasing.

"You just have to be prepared to give it absolutely everything and hope it's enough."

Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series schedule

Rosebery: December 21

Launceston: December 27

Latrobe: December 28

Devonport: December 29-30

Burnie: December 31

Hobart: January 5

St Helens: January 18

This story Stewart locked in for carnival series first appeared on The Advocate.