Two final day medals wrapped up the Australian Cycling Team’s 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships campaign in the Netherlands, with the team's six medals equalling Germany, Great Britain and Italy for second most behind hosts the Netherlands (12 medals).
Each of the four members of the team celebrated on the podium during the Championships, with sizzling wins from Matt Glaetzer (sprint) and Cameron Meyer (points race) highlighting the performances.
Stephanie Morton (sprint) and Glaetzer (time trial) claimed silver, while Callum Scotson bookended his Championships with bronze medals in the scratch and in the Madison with Meyer.
Dual Madison world champion Cameron Meyer teamed with Callum Scotson to ensure Australia finished on the podium for the second straight year with the pair taking bronze in a punishing men’s Madison.
“To be on the podium in a Madison world championships isn’t an easy to do, it is one of the hardest events to back up a win, even just to back up a podium appearance,” said Meyer after claiming his sixth World Championship Madison medal.
“So for us to be consistent two years in a row, last year with silver and this year with bronze, it is another step in the right direction and it shows that we are around the mark.”
The major contenders kept their cards close to their chests in the opening laps of the 200-lap race, with Belgium, Spain, France and Italy figuring prominently in the first five sprints.
The first major move of the day came from Austria, with the duo of Andreas Graf and Andrew Muller taking a lap, and the twenty points, to move into the lead (30points) after fifty laps.
A deliberate move from Meyer and Scotson at the halfway mark saw them pounce on a lull in the action to claim two straight sprint maximums, and a lap on the field, which catapulted them into the joint lead with Austria on 30pts.
With 70 laps remaining, Germany’s Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt and Spain’s Albert Torres Barcelo and Sebastian Mora Vedri rocketed into the top two positions on 40 and 31 points respectively after taking a lap.
With the race beginning to splinter as the pace hovered at an excruciating pace just shy of sixty kilometres an hour, Australia and Belgium joined forces in the hunt at the front for a lap on the field. However sensing the imminent danger, the Germans and Spanish duos nullified any notion of an attack by keeping the teams within a bike length’s distance.
In a classy finish to their masterful race, Germany won two of the final four sprints to to all but secure their victory heading into the final sprint on 53points.
In an pulsating final few laps, Australia held off a late surge by Great Britain to hold onto bronze (37pts), just eight points behind Spain (45pts) who grabbed the silver medal.
“It was quick out there again tonight, there was a bit of a stand off in the first half of the race, all the favourites didn’t want to move too early knowing it was going to be a tough end to the race,” said Meyer. “We saw an opportunity and went for it.
“The actual moment to win the world title was there, we saw it, but unfortunately we didn’t quite have the legs. But Germany was super strong, so was Spain.”
With the Madison back on the program for Tokyo 2020, the bronze continues the pair’s strong campaign towards Olympic glory. Their season also including winning the prestigious London Six Day last October and Madison gold at the UCI World Cup in Poland in November.
“I think the bigger thing for us in that we are consistently on the podium, we are the most consistent country which is not easy in this event,” said Scotson, who won scratch bronze on day two.
“You always feel disappointed straight after a race, but I am sure we are going to take some really good points out of this race and hopefully we can edge closer to the top of the podium as we get closer to Tokyo,” who reflected on his and the team’s performance at the Championships.
“To achieve two medals myself, and our team here, everyone worked together well and the results showed how good the culture was over here.
“It is quite impressive for us to pull off so many medals for just the four of us. We are all really happy.”
Less than twenty-four hours after claiming his maiden sprint world title, Matthew Glaetzer was back on track with an eye on the time trial podium.
In November, Glaetzer became the first person to ride under one minute in the kilometre time trial at sea level with a sizzling 59.970secs ride at the World Cup in Manchester. The powerful South Australian then eclipsed this time with a scorching 59.759secs at the National Championships in Brisbane.
On the final day of the World Championships in Apeldoorn, Glaetzer rocketed to two blistering times to beat his world mark (59.733 in qualifying and 59.745 in the final).
However, this was good for silver in the event with Dutch hero Jeffrey Hoogland riding a wave of parochial hometown support to gold with two sizzling times to set a new world-mark (59.517, 59.459).
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Photo Casey Gibson
Adelaide’s Matthew Glaetzer is celebrating after storming to his maiden sprint world crown at the 2018 UCI Track World Championships in the Netherlands on Sunday morning Australian time.
Glaetzer's electrifying speed tore through the field, with the 25-year-old claiming the Australian Cycling Team’s first gold in the men’s blue riband event in sixteen years (Sean Eadie 2002).
“I have been wanting to pull that jersey on for so long, so to see the Australian flag raised above me was such a special moment,” said a relieved Glaetzer, 25, who had earned five top-six finishes at the World Championships since 2013, including the 2016 silver medal. Glaetzer also finished just outside the medals at both the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (fourth) and the 2014 Commonwealth Games (fifth).
“I have finally backed up the speed, finally put the money where the legs are so to speak.
“We have worked so hard as a team for this and it was great to see a reward for it.”
Glaetzer opened his sprint campaign on Friday in scorching style (9.677) with the second fastest flying 200m qualifying ride of the day, just three-thousandths behind Jeffrey Hoogland (NED-9.674).
Glaetzer's undefeated reign began with Rayan Helal (FRA) in the round 1/8, before a clinical dispatching of reigning champion Denis Dmitriev (RUS), who had reached the podium in each of the past five World Championships, in the quarterfinals.
In the semi-final, Glaetzer sent France’s Sebastian Vigier packing in two straight heats before showing his class against Great Britain’s youngster Jack Carlin, 20, in an exciting final.
“I had a fantastic race meet, each race was quite good, didn’t really mess up at all,” an honest Glaetzer revealed. “I normally make mistakes and get caught out, one mistake is all it costs at this level. But this time I didn’t and that was the key.
“I kept myself in a really good mindset, every single round I treated like the final. And I was so focussed on taking it one race at a time and all of a sudden I am in a final.
“So I had to block the thoughts out of winning it and keep focussed on what I had to do to win it.
“Just ripped it in my last two rides, gave it everything I had and I am the world champ!”
Immediately post race, Glaetzer paid tribute to former Australian Cycling Team Head Sprint Coach Gary West who lost his battle with MND in August last year.
“I can imagine how happy and emotional he would be right now,” said Glaetzer. “He put so much time and effort into me, he was so passionate about the sport and put so much of his life into his athletes and my thoughts go out to the West family today.
“He is a big part of this achievement today.”
Glaetzer’s 2018 World Championship campaign concludes on Sunday in the time trial. In Manchester in November, Glaetzer became the first person to clock a sub one-minute ride (59.970) in the kilometre time trial at sea level, before he again eclipsed this mark with a scorching 59.759secs at the Nationals in Brisbane in February.
TO COME FOR AUSTRALIAN CYCLING TEAM - DAY 5 SCHEDULE
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PHOTOS © CASEY GIBSON
Cycling Australia is pleased to announce an experienced four-rider team for the 2018 UCI Track World Championships to be held in Apeldoorn, Netherlands from February 28 - March 4 2018.
In line with the CA High Performance Strategy, the Commonwealth Games has been set as the benchmark event of the year, rather than Track Worlds, and this is reflected in the smaller than usual team for the event.
This is a one-off strategy for 2018, as the 2019/2020 Track Worlds will be part of Olympic qualification.
Dual 2017 silver medallist Stephanie Morton (SA) will line up in the sprint, keirin and 500m time trial looking to pull on the rainbow jersey following success at the opening round of the Tissot UCI Track World Cup and Oceania Track Championships.
2012 team sprint world champion and 2016 sprint silver medallist Matthew Glaetzer (SA) will tackle the sprint and keirin. As well as lining up in the 1km time trial, an event he became the first person to ride under one minute at sea level at the Manchester Track World Cup in November.
In endurance events eight-time world champion Cameron Meyer (WA) will defend his points race title while also partnering Callum Scotson (SA) in the Madison, as they look to improve on silver from a year ago. Scotson will also compete in the scratch race.
The four selected athletes competed in the first two UCI World Cups in Poland and Manchester targeting Olympic events, with Glaetzer winning men's sprint in Poland, Meyer and Scotson winning the men's Madison and Morton winning silver in the sprint and bronze in the keirin, and will head into the World Championships with confidence.
With the focus on the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games the team has been carefullly selected with individual and team long term goals in mind, and in alignment with Cycling Australia's 2020 strategy.
Australian Cycling Team for 2018 Track World Championships – Apeldoorn, Netherlands, Feb 28 - March 4 2018.