Anna Meares started competitive cycling at the age of 11 in 1994, following her older sister Kerrie Meares into the sport. The family were inspired to take up competitive cycling by Kathy Watt winning a cycling gold medal at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. With the family living in the small Queensland coal-mining town of Middlemount, it was more than two hours drive to the nearest cycling track at Mackay for the girls to train.
In May 2004 at the Time Trial World Titles in Melbourne Meares claimed the title of Women's World time trial champion, and won a silver for the sprint event. Also claimed first in the 2004 World Cup Time Trial in Sydney.