Track cycling star Shane Perkins has defended his integrity and backed Russian cycling as controversy continues about the country's anti-doping regime.
After winning two world titles and riding at the 2012 Olympics for Australia, Perkins switched allegiances to Russia when he was left out of the Rio Games squad.
Shane Perkins in 2016 after winning the Australian keirin title.Credit:John Veage
He will make his world championships debut as a Russian rider later this month in Poland.
The Six Day track event at Melbourne Arena, which runs from Thursday to Saturday, will be his last event before the worlds.
"My integrity is absolutely fine, I sleep well at night," Perkins said.
"A lot of people know the sort of person I am … people should know that just because I'm riding for another team, it doesn't mean I'm going to change my ethics.
"I'm not going to tarnish that reputation that I've built up."
Perkins also backed his new teammates as controversy continues to rage about doping in the Russian sports system.
"When I say to people 'I'm riding for Russia' they automatically look at me and think 'why have you done that – they're drug cheats,'" he said.
"The point is, it [doping] happens everywhere.
"Now I'm part of Russia and I know the athletes … I have confidence in the team that I'm in."
This week's Six Day will be the first time he has ridden at Melbourne Arena since the 2012 world championships, where he was a member of the Australian trio that won the team sprint gold medal.
He will ride in the team sprint again this month, his first world championships since 2015.
"Going to these worlds, it's going to show me basically what the level is now because it has been a while since I've been there," he said.
"I'm not expecting to be straight back up there again, but I'm not saying that I won't be, either … I have to be realistic too.
"Once I get there and get a bit of a sniff of it, I'm always good like that – it will be a good couple of years after these worlds."
Perkins said the Six Day, which is part of an international series, is as much about entertainment as it is competition.
"It's an awesome atmosphere … there will be a lot of fun. The sprinters are there to put up a good show."
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