FORMER team pursuit world champion Sarah Kent makes her comeback to elite cycling in the Tour of the Goldfields in Ballarat on Friday.
The last leg of the 2013 National Road Series will be her first event in almost 18 months.
Kent, 23, will combine with fellow West Australians Cassia Higgs, Jessica Huston and Rebecca Mackey in the Ballarat Regional Tourism team for the three-day tour.
“This will be a bit of a test to see where I’m at, being my first race back in 16 months,” Kent said.
“Given I’ve only been back training for six weeks, it’s about getting back out there and getting a feel for it again.”
Kent walked away from the competitive side of the sport after narrowly missing selection for the track endurance team for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
She did not completely give up her passion for cycling though.
Kent this year became an ambassador for the World Bicycling Relief charity organisation, a role that saw her cover more than 1500 kilometres across Africa to raise money to purchase bikes for children in disadvantaged communities.
“I still feel the disappointment of missing the Games and I do still have those (Olympic) goals, but for now I’m enjoying being back and riding with my friends,” she said.
Kent said Africa gave her something else to focus on.
“It gave me a chance to give back. It was the best trip I’ve ever done and I’ll definitely be going back.”
While Kent’s immediate focus is squarely on road despite an impending track season, she admits the team pursuit remains a burning passion and will not rule out a return to the boards in the future.
“Every time I think of the team pursuit, I miss it, and it will always be a huge part of me, but there is so much talent now, so I’d be getting a bit ahead of myself to think I’d be able to get back to the track for this season,” said Kent, who claimed both senior and junior world titles.
“But I’ll weigh up my options to see when might be a good time to get back on the track, and to work with Gary Sutton again, would be a dream come true,” she said.