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
Australian Cycling Team #AusCyclingTeam
World Championships #Apeldoorn2018
WATCH LIVE on FOXSPORTS AUS
PHOTOS © CASEY GIBSON