A PORT Macquarie cyclist has taken another significant step forward in her quest to appear at the top level.
Alani Cockshutt surprised herself last month with a top 10 finish at the national titles which led to her selection with a women's team StepFWD Suzuki for the upcoming National Road Series.
"The selectors had been looking at me for a while and my top 10 result at nationals tipped it over," she said.
"You can't get into an NRS team until under-19s anyway so that was my first chance to race in it and I got there.
"I knew that I'd done the training, but there's always the thought of whether everyone else has done more."
Previously, she would have had lead-up races to check her progress however the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to that.
While the 17-year-old was thrilled to become part of a national team she was more impressed by their focus on things outside of the track.
"They value me doing the charity work and things like the Everest so it's not all about the results," Cockshutt said.
"You can't get into an NRS team until under-19s anyway so that was my first chance to do it and I got there."- Port Macquarie cyclist Alani Cockshutt
"They're good with working school and training into the program as well so that's good being in year 12."
Selection in the team also provides the teenager with the opportunity to become professional in the future.
"What I really liked about getting the offer is that in the later years it's a pathway to go pro and then go to Europe," she said.
"The European teams look at the Australian teams more than if you're not in a team so it's a step forward in the long process of becoming a pro.
"When I heard I was in it I was shocked."
Cockshutt said her main focus in coming years would be on climbing the ranks in Australian cycling with an eye on a podium finish.
"Hopefully I can work for the rest of this year to get to that," she said.
"The Olympics are next level because they don't select many cyclists for Australia."- Alani Cockshutt
"After that becoming a pro is my ultimate goal, but I've got to see how it goes and take every opportunity that I can get."
The Paris 2024 Olympic Games might be a bridge too far, but future Tour de France events or the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 2028 could be achievable goals.
"The Olympics are next level because they don't select many cyclists for Australia," she said.
"There are usually only around four cyclists depending on what year it is and where it is, but the top goal would definitely be to go to the Olympics."
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