2019 Omnium, Madison, Team Sprint and Team Pursuit National Championships
The Australian Cycling Team and Podium Potential Academy members will headline the start lists when four National Championships are decided this weekend in Melbourne.
With Tokyo 2020 less than 600 days away, Olympic events will take centre stage in Melbourne beginning with the Omnium Championships at DISC Velodrome on Friday 14, with the Madison, Team Sprint and Team Pursuit to feature in an action-packed night of racing at Melbourne Arena on Saturday 15 December.
Omnium / Team Pursuit / Madison
Australia’s team pursuit world record holders Samuel Welsford (WA), Alexander Porter (SA), plus Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien (VIC) will swap their green and gold Australian jerseys as they chase national glory in their respective state team colours.
The quartet will split for the team pursuit event, with Howard and O’Brien to lead defending champions Victoria against strong outfits from South Australia and Western Australia. In the women’s event, it will a close battle between NSW, Queensland and South Australia.
In the Madison, defending champion Porter will team with fellow South Australian Josh Harrison, dual world champion Howard will form an all-Victorian pairing with O’Brien, and 2017 champion Welsford will line up with Cameron Scott (NSW).
“The Madison will be fast, the night is incredible and the racing is always full gas. There are plenty of good combinations of teams, Porter and Harrison, and especially the locals in Kell (O’Brien) and Leigh (Howard) will be one of the teams to beat,” said Welsford, who will contest the Madison, omnium and team pursuit across the weekend. Welsford will be a favourite in Friday’s Omnium following his World Cup gold in Germany two weeks ago.
“The team pursuit and omnium have been a big focus of mine over the last few years now, and after winning omnium gold in Berlin last week, I am keen to bring back what I learned at the World Cup and take it into Nationals.”
Exciting Australian Cycling Team Podium Potential Academy pairings aiming to upset their more fancied opponents include Conor Leahy (WA) and Godfrey Slattery (VIC), plus dual junior world champion Luke Plapp (VIC) who will pair with Jarrad Drizners (SA).
In the women’s Madison, defending champions Macey Stewart (TAS) and Kristina Clonan (QLD) will take to opposite teams in 2018 when they pair with Academy members Josie Talbot (NSW) and Alex Martin-Wallace (QLD) respectively. Fellow Academy members Maeve Plouffe (SA) and Sam De Riter (VIC) will team up.
“It has been a tough few months, I have been training harder than ever before, have moved to Adelaide, so I am excited to see how I go this weekend after putting in so much hard work,” said Stewart, who joined the Australian Cycling Team in 2018. “Madison is my favourite event, one I am targetting over the next few years, and as defending champion I would like to back it up in 2019.
“I have a new partner for the Madison in Josie Talbot, Kristina and I are split for these Nationals, which I think will be a strong team and I am excited to see what we can do.”
Stewart and Clonan, plus Alexandra Manly (SA), will be three to watch in the women’s omnium.
The Team Sprint National Championships will be decided on Saturday night, with three-time world champion Kaarle McCulloch (NSW) and Holly Takos (SA) headlining the women’s field. In the men’s, 2018 Commonwealth Games medallist Patrick Constable (SA), Nathan Hart (ACT) and Jacob Schmid (VIC) will headline their respective state teams.
Academy riders in action include Caitlin Ward (SA), James Brister (SA), Tom Clarke (SA), Tom Cornish (NSW) and Matt Richardson (WA).
Victoria’s prestigious 121st Austral Wheelrace (for both juniors and seniors) will also showcase the Australian Cycling Team during the evening.
Tickets are still available online or at the door.
Australia’s 2019 summer of track cycling begins this week at DISC Velodrome in Melbourne with the two-day 2019 Para-cycling National Championships.
Australian Cycling Team members will be in action including reigning Paralympic and world champion David Nicholas (QLD) and dual World Championship medallist Emily Petricola (VIC).
Nicholas delivered yet again in 2018 as he surged to defend his C3 individual pursuit world title in March, while also collecting a podium during the Road World Cup series and four National crowns on the road and track.
“It has been a great season, I kept it pretty low key after Track Worlds as I came down with bug away that put me out of action for a while anyway, but it was good to be able to build up to Road Worlds.
Nicholas will be aiming for his eighth consecutive pursuit crown and sixth straight win in the time trial, with the Queenslander’s sights also firmly set on March’s World Championships.
“My goals are obviously to defend my two nationals titles, but also to set a time in the kilo and pursuit to see where I am at in my preparations for the World Championships.”
Petricola will be looking to defend her C4 national pursuit crown, an event in which she shocked the para-cycling world in 2018 after breaking the world record in qualifying at the World Championships in March.
“When I look back at 2018 I'm pretty shocked at what a huge year it has been, in particular thinking back to the world champs and the results there, it all seems a bit surreal,” said Petricola, who claimed World Championship silver in both the pursuit and time trial.
While only having begun cycling a couple of years ago, Petricola was quickly selected to the Australian Cycling Team and has committed to the program by moving back to Melbourne after three years working in the United Arab Emirates.
“I have gone from training on my own all the time in the middle of the desert on a trainer most of the time, to be a part of the bigger machine of Cycling Australia and more locally, the VIS,” added Petricola, who will race both the time trial and pursuit this week on her home track at DISC before tackling FedUni RoadNats in January. “
"With so much change, I've certainly had to be a bit more resilient and persevere as I reestablish my life in Australia. But now that things are settling down a bit, I'm starting to find my rhythm and looking forward to getting some positive results over the coming months.”
Former world champions Alistair Donohoe (VIC), Kyle Bridgwood (QLD), Amanda Reid (NSW), Simone Kennedy (NSW), plus Jessica Gallagher (VIC) who will be piloted by Madison Janssen (VIC) in the Tandem events, will be in action.
The Para-cycling National Championships will be held in conjunction with the 2019 Omnium Championships.
#ParaTrackNats Quick Guide
"With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games less than 600 days away, Cycling Australia (CA) continues its Australian Cycling Team program support for Track, Para-cycling, BMX and Road athletes.
The Podium, Podium Ready and Podium Potential programs encompass 60 athletes (male and female) within the following disciplines: 20 Track, 12 Road, 6 BMX (Supercross and Freestyle), 22 Para-cycling.
“Our ‘What will it take to win’ performance plan creates a clear athlete pathway that is designed to maximise Australia's chances of Podium performances at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and at World Championships and Commonwealth Games ” said Simon Jones, Cycling Australia’s Performance Director and key driver of the Australian Cycling Team strategy.
Over the past twelve months, Australia celebrated half a dozen world titles and dozens of medals in Olympic and Paralympic events across the Track, Road, BMX and Para-cycling (Road and Track) disciplines.
In 2018, new athletes were welcomed into the program including dual para road world champion Emilie Miller, road world championship representatives Lucy Kennedy and Jack Haig, plus track athletes Macey Stewart and Kristina Clonan. Road cyclists Luke Durbridge, Callum Scotson and Rachel Neylan exited the program.
“The Australian Cycling Team’s athlete classification system is demonstrating its robustness in identifying and supporting the right blend of athletes with the skill, experience, capability and potential to be the world’s best,” Jones added.
“We have also committed significant resources to the athlete pathway, which is vital to our future success.
“In November we saw that commitment come to life with the commencement of the Podium Potential Track Academy which features 13 Endurance and Sprint athletes who have begun training in close proximity to the Australian Cycling Team in Adelaide.
“The Academy will provide these young riders with both a cycling and personal development experience that’s targeting the 2024 Olympic cycle.
The Australian Cycling Team grabbed four gold and two silver medals at the third round of the UCI Track World Cup in Berlin, Germany at the weekend.
World record holders Samuel Welsford, Alexander Porter, Leigh Howard and Kelland O'Brien, plus Cameron Scott claimed team pursuit gold, reigning world champion Matthew Glaetzer continued his unbeaten run in the sprint, Stephanie Morton claimed her first individual gold of the season, while Sam Welsford took omnium gold.
It continues the team’s strong start to the six-event World Cup series which began in October. The team topped the medal tally in Paris with eight medals including three gold, three silver and two bronze before adding four medals, including two gold at round two in Canada.
"This World Cup was another good benchmark for the Australian Cycling Team and shows we are progressing well and currently on track," said Simon Jones, Performance Director, Cycling Australia. "There is still a lot of work to do, but it’s good to score UCI points and be competing well."
World record holders Samuel Welsford, Alexander Porter, Leigh Howard and Kelland O'Brien, lined up in the team pursuit for the first time since April’s Commonwealth Games where they stunned the world with the first sub three minute-fifty second ride in the event’s history.
In Berlin, the quartet topped qualifying (3:53.426), and with Cameron Scott coming into the team for the first round and progressed to the final with a strong win (3:53.033) over rivals and Olympic champions Great Britain.
With Howard returning for Scott for the final, the world’s fastest team held off a challenge from a strong Danish outfit (3:54.703) to take the gold in a superb time of 3 minutes 51.210 seconds.
“It was great to line up again with the boys,” said Welsford. “We gel so well and to come back together and post a good time is a good sign we are on the right path.”
It was a successful weekend for Welsford who claimed dual gold in Germany with a come-from-behind victory in the final race of the four-race omnium.
“The omnium was a bit of a surprise; I haven't raced one at the world level since the World Championships in 2017, so to come away with the win was surreal. It came down to the last points race and luckily enough, I had good legs to take it out.”
In the women’s team pursuit, Amy Cure and Annette Edmondson rejoined the squad for the first time since April’s Commonwealth Games, and with Ashlee Ankudinoff and Georgia Baker, won silver.
Fastest qualifiers (4:19.073), the quartet moved to the final (4:18.083) by defeating Canada in the first round. In a heartbreaking final, the Australian quartet led for the first fifteen of sixteen laps, before the Great Britain outfit (4:16.153) caught their traditional rivals (4:16.413) inside the last half lap to take the gold.
Stephanie Morton topped sprint qualifying with her first career sub 10.5 second ride in the flying 200m (10.484seconds) before riding away to her first individual gold at World Cup level.
After knocking out Katy Marchant (GBR) and Daria Shmeleva (RUS), Morton took gold in two straight rides over Anastasiia Voinova (RUS) in the final to complete an undefeated campaign.
“After a few silvers, to finally turn it around and get my first sprint win at a World Cup, it is unreal,” said Morton, who collected five medals from six events across the first two rounds of the 2018/19 season in October.
“With Matt and me in a heavy training block at the moment, I went into the day relaxed with no pressure on myself and was prepared for a big "shut up legs" kind of day.
“So when I looked up and saw the time of 10.4, I was speechless, and anyone who knows me knows that is very rare!
“I knew backing up was going to be tough with training in the legs so I took it one race at a time, focusing on the skill or tactic that Ross (Edgar) and I wanted to work on, knowing that crossing the line first would be the bonus.”
Reigning world champion Matthew Glaetzer’s unbeaten run in the sprint this World Cup season remains intact with his third gold medal.
Third fastest in qualifying (9.659secs), Glaetzer moved through to the quarterfinals with ease where he defeated Denis Dmitriev (RUS), before knocking Rayan Helal (FRA) out in the semi-finals. Glaetzer’s World Cup sprint reign continued as he took gold in two straight rides over Matthijs Buchli (NED) who had edged the Australian for keirin gold the previous night.
“Today was one of the hardest sprint competitions I have done,” said Glaetzer, who revealed he is in the middle of a training block. “The semi-final went to the best of three after I didn't execute my race plan properly, but I fixed it for the decider which took a lot out of me. It was at this point that I was wrecked and joked to Ross Edgar that I would try and keep up with Buchli in the final and not get dropped!
“We had our first race for gold, and when I was able to roll him up the front straight, it showed I still had just enough legs left to get the job done, so I made sure I didn't go to the best of three again!”
In other results, young guns Kelland O’Brien and Cameron Scott claimed fifth in the Madison, while Annette Edmondson was fourth in the omnium, and Ashlee Ankudinoff and Amy Cure finished sixth in the women’s Madison.
Morton and Glaetzer will now move on to the UCI Track World Cup's fourth round to be held in London from December 14.
All other members of the Australian Cycling Team will be back in action on home soil at the 2019 Cycling Australia Track National Championships which begin in Melbourne on Thursday 13 December at DISC Velodrome with the Para-cycling Nationals.
The Omnium Nationals cap the week on Friday 14 December, with Melbourne Arena to host a massive night of racing on Saturday 15 December headlined by the Madison, Team Sprint and Team Pursuit Nationals. >>> tracknationals.org.au