Forty-eight hours after soaring to the team pursuit world title, Sydney’s Ashlee Ankudinoff produced a stirring victory in the individual pursuit.
“It is pretty surreal, normally I have been up on the top step with some teammates- that was a very special moment” said Ankudinoff, who shared the podium with Amy Cure (TAS), Annette Edmondson (SA) and Georgia Baker (TAS) after winning the team pursuit event on Wednesday. “I have wanted this individual pursuit world title for a very long time, and I am speechless at the moment.
“I am sure it will sink in the next couple of days, for the moment I am just soaking it all up because it is a moment I never want to forget.”
A two-time World Championship medallist in the three-kilometre individual race against the clock, Ankudinoff scorched the track with a new Australian record of 3:25.921 in her Saturday afternoon qualifying ride.
In the evening’s final against Lisa Brennauer (GER), Ankudinoff lead at every time check of the 12-lap race to produce a near carbon copy of her qualifying ride with a time of 3:25.971, averaging 51.67km/h
“Jason just put me on a schedule, and I went out and did my thing,” Ankudinoff said. “I just really broke the ride down, made sure I executed all my skills, and I knew if I did that correctly, I knew I could do something special.”
The win is a crowning achievement for the veteran Ankudinoff who claimed the 2008 junior world title in the event before making her elite national team debut one year later at the same Pruszkow Velodrome in Poland. Earlier this week she became the only Australian to have won three team pursuit world titles before finally grabbing individual glory.
“It is a long time- ten years- some people will ask what keeps me going because I have been in the sport for quite a long time at the top level,” the 2016 Olympian said. “But I am in a great environment, I have a great group of girls, and I work with great people, and that motivates me to reach my goals.
“This is very special, but I haven’t reached all my goals yet, and the ultimate is gold in Tokyo 2020 and that is what I am aiming for.”
While happy to celebrate her individual glory, Ankudinoff was quick to praise the Australian Cycling Team staff.
“I knew we would do something special this week; I think all the results here stems from behind the scenes hard work. I think we have the easy job as riders going out there on the track just doing our thing.
“A lot of behind the scenes work happens and credit to all the support staff here and back at home. It is a privilege to work with them.