The Australian Cycling Team claimed three gold, three silver and two bronze at the final 2018/19 UCI World Cup round held at the Hong Kong Velodrome highlighted by dual gold to Thomas Clarke, 23, in the sprint and team sprint with teenagers James Brister, 19, and Matthew Richardson, 19, plus omnium gold to Cameron Meyer.
Forty-eight hours after teaming winning gold in the team sprint, Podium Potential Academy members Thomas Clarke, 23, and James Brister, 19, faced off for gold in the individual sprint.
Fifth fastest qualifier Brister (9.925) and seventh fastest Clarke (9.979) made their way unscathed through the rounds, with teenage Brister accounting for three-time sprint world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Theo Bos (NED) in the quarterfinals in straight heats. Clarke took care of Nicholas Paul (TTO) also in two rides.
Brister and Clarke then set up the all Aussie final with two strong straight-heat semifinal victories over Chao Xu (CHN) and Quentin Caleyron (FRA) respectively.
In the final, Clarke proved too good on the day for his younger opponent in straight heats. The win made it five gold from six events in the men’s sprint across the World Cup season after Matthew Glaetzer won the first three rounds and Nathan Hart collected gold in round five.
“Honestly I don’t think it has sunk in, I still can’t believe it. I woke up this morning with no expectations apart form coming here qualifying the best I can and having a race,” said Clarke, who also won team sprint silver last week in New Zealand in round five of the World Cup.
“I took it one race at a time, had a few close calls to make it through and then couldn’t believe it when James and I both made the gold medal ride off.
“At that point, either way, however it finished I was just proud of our team and what we have achieved this week.”
In a heartbreaking end the men’s 30km Madison, Sam Welsford and Kelland O’Brien were edged into the silver medal position by New Zealand in the final sprint of the 120-lap race.
The Aussie pair set the pace early, claiming the race lead after the second sprint. However, France and New Zealand surged to take the lead over the Australians at the halfway mark.
With dual Madison world champion Cameron Meyer calling the shots from the sidelines, the Australians pounced inside the final forty laps to take a lap on the field, and with the twenty bonus points, they regained the race lead.
A litany of attacks ensued in an animated final thirty laps, with New Zealand stealing the win on the final sprint, leapfrogging the Australians onto the top step of the podium.
“It was pretty hard out there, we knew we had to be on our game,” said Welsford. “We knew we had to score early and take a late lap if we needed and we did that. But we just got caught behind a few riders and missed out on that final sprint.”
Alexandra Manly staged an epic comeback inside the final twenty laps of the points race to win bronze in women’s omnium.
It wasn’t an ideal start to the four-event omnium for Manly after finishing fifteenth in the scratch race. However second in the tempo and fifth in the elimination placed her in sight of the podium heading into her favourite event, the 80-lap points race.
Trailing third place by nineteen points, Manly took a solo lap inside the final twenty laps which launched her into third and onto the podium.
“I had a bad scratch race, so I knew I had to have a good points race and use my strengths,” said Manly. “With twenty laps to go I knew it was my last opportunity, so I went as deep as I could because I knew if I did I was guaranteed to win a medal. It was a major fight, but I got there.”
The result continues Manly’s return to competition after breaking her shoulder late in 2018.
“For me, it was important for my confidence as it has been two months of solid training, so it was nice to get used to the bunch again and it was pretty nice to come away with the medal.”
Teenage debutant Alexandra Martin-Wallace shone in the scratch race, coming over the top of a fast finishing bunch to win silver.
“I am really happy, certainly wasn’t expecting a medal going into the event,” said Martin-Wallace after her third event of her maiden World Cup. Martin-Wallace finished fifth in the team pursuit on day one and with Maeve Plouffe, was stoic in an intense Madison contest on day two. “I was so nervous, my goal was to just get as much experience as I could, got some wise words before the race from my coach Rohan Wight, and I am just over the moon with the result.”
Podium Potential Academy member Caitlin Ward continued her strong weekend form with seventh overall in the women’s keirin. In her first World Cup event in three years, Ward also collected a competition personal best 11.022seconds in the flying 200m and eighth in the women’s sprint.
The UCI Track World Cup in Hong Kong was the sixth and final for the 2018/19 season.
The 2019 UCI Track World Championships will be held in Poland from February 27.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Track competition will take place at the Anna Meares Velodrome (Brisbane) from Thursday 5 to Sunday 8 April.
It will feature 20 events - eight endurance, eight sprint and four para-cycling - with the eight track endurance events to include the points race and scratch race, and the team and individual pursuits. The team pursuit is set to make its Commonwealth Games debut for women.
The 2018 Games is likely to provide a milestone for team, with Australia having won 96 Commonwealth Games cycling gold medals.
A six-member women’s endurance squad with a rich blend of World Championship, Olympic and Commonwealth Games experience will line up for Australia at the Games.
Reigning Games scratch race champion Annette Edmondson, 26 (SA) is back on the track for her second Games, with the dual world champion eyeing a spot in Australia’s team pursuit quartet for the event’s debut.
Edmondson’s 2015 team pursuit world champion teammates Amy Cure, 25 (TAS) and Ashlee Ankudinoff, 27 (NSW) will provide tremendous experience and multiple options for all four events.
Cure, a dual 2014 Games medallist and 2014 points race world champion, is fresh from two national championship crowns in the scratch and points races. Ankudinoff, Australia’s only dual world champion in the team pursuit, boasts two World Championship medals in the individual format.
Dual individual pursuit world champion Rebecca Wiasak, 33 (ACT), who narrowly missed selection to the 2014 Commonwealth and 2016 Olympic teams, will make her major Games debut.
2016 Olympian Georgia Baker, 23 (TAS) overcame heart surgery in November to make her first Games team, while Alexandra Manly, 22 (SA) will also make her debut. Manly, with Cure, Ankudinoff and Wiasak claimed silver at the 2017 World Championships, less than half a second behind world champions USA.
The seven-member men’s endurance squad might feature six Games debutants, but the team enjoys a wealth of experience, collectively boasting 19 rainbow jerseys and countless options for the pursuit and bunch races.
Triple 2010 Games gold medallist Cameron Meyer, 30 (WA) returns to the Australian team and enters fresh from claiming the points race world crown last month, his ninth career rainbow jersey.
Like his fellow Perth native, Olympic team pursuit silver medallist and reigning individual pursuit national champion Samuel Welsford, 22 (WA) will be a threat in any race, as will three-time world champion Leigh Howard, 28 (VIC) who receives his first Games nod.
Hometown fans will be eager to see Jordan Kerby, 25 (QLD) in action, with the 2017 individual pursuit world champion rocketing to cult hero status after riding to the third fastest time in history just months after returning to track cycling.
Rounding out the side is 2017 world champions Alexander Porter, 21 (SA), Nicholas Yallouris, 24 (NSW), plus Kelland O’Brien, 19 (VIC) - the youngest member of Australia’s 36-member cycling team.
While the men’s, and women’s, track endurance teams bypassed March’s World Championships a part of the Australia Cycling Team strategy to focus on the Games, the quartet of O'Brien, Yallouris, Kerby and Howard soared to Oceania gold last November in 3min 52.421secs - one of the top ten fastest pursuit times in history.
The focus for both squads lies firmly with the team pursuit on day one, with the exact line up for each of the four events, to be confirmed closer to the competition start date.
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Photos © Kevin Anderson, and Cycling Australia.
Commonwealth Games Australia is pleased to announce a strong 36-member team to contest the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Reigning Commonwealth Games champions Stephanie Morton, Matthew Glaetzer and Annette Edmondson headline the track selections, in addition to the return of 2010 Gold medallists Cameron Meyer and Kaarle McCulloch.
Reigning road national champions Alexander Edmondson and Shannon Malseed, triple world championship medallist Katrin Garfoot and 2006 Commonwealth Games road race gold medallist Mathew Hayman feature in the road selections.
The team will vie for 26 gold medals - track (16), para-cycling track (4), road (4), and mountain bike (2) competitions in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast from 4-15 April.
Australian Team Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti welcomed the athletes on to the Australian Team.
“We enjoyed strong success at Glasgow 2014 from the Cycling team, so with the depth and experience we have in this team we look forward to more success at Gold Coast 2018,” he said.
“The cycling program is an incredibly exciting one for fans, with competition at the new Anna Meares Velodrome, road cycling events that are free and open to all spectators and mountain biking at the Nerang trails.
“With many of these athletes spending a lot of time abroad, Gold Coast 2018 provides a unique chance for these athletes to compete in front of a home crowd,” Moneghetti said.
With the announcement of the 36 cyclists today, the Australian Team currently numbers 222, or just under half the anticipated total of 470 athletes.
The men’s track endurance squad is replete with rainbow jerseys, with reigning team pursuit world champions Samuel Welsford, Kelland O’Brien, Leigh Howard, Alexander Porter and Nicholas Yallouris, plus individual pursuit world champion Jordan Kerby; named in their first Games’ team.
Three-time world champion Leigh Howard will also debut, with eight-time world champion and triple 2010 Games Gold medallist Cameron Meyer rounding out the strong line up.
Defending scratch race Gold medallist and dual world champion Annette Edmondson, dual 2014 Games medallist and world champion Amy Cure and 2010 representative Ashlee Ankudinoff will lead the women’s endurance squad.
Dual world champion Rebecca Wiasak, Rio Olympian Georgia Baker and rising star Alexandra Manly all receive their first Commonwealth Games’ selections.
“It’s really not that often someone gets to represent their country in a home Commonwealth Games in their career, so for me, it’s something very special that I’ll never forget,” said Cure, a dual medallist from 2014.
“(I am) super excited to have the team pursuit on the calendar at the Games. I’m really excited to see what the team can achieve; as one of our three Olympic events, it’s great to get another opportunity to race this race in front of big crowds.”
Australia’s sprint crew is awash with Commonwealth Gold with defending sprint champion Stephanie Morton to form a formidable women’s sprint duo with 2010 team sprint champion Kaarle McCulloch.
2014 keirin Gold medallist Matthew Glaetzer will spearhead an impressive men’s sprint quartet with Rio Olympians Nathan Hart and Patrick Constable, and Jacob Schmid.
A host of Australia’s WorldTour elite highlight the road selections, with reigning national champion Alexander Edmondson, 2006 Commonwealth Games road race Gold medallist Mathew Hayman, Steele Von Hoff, Mitchell Docker, Callum Scotson and Meyer, forming a versatile six-member men’s road squad.
“I have very fond memories of the 2014 Commonwealth Games from Glasgow, so I am really excited about lining up in the road race in 2018,” said Edmondson, who won Gold and Silver in the pursuit events on the track four years ago.
“Of course being a home games there’s a bit of added pressure, but we are going to have a home crowd cheering us on which is going to be huge.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity of racing in the green and gold on home soil!”
Triple world championship medallist and 2014 Commonwealth Bronze medallist Katrin Garfoot will head the six-member women’s team with reigning road national champion Shannon Malseed, dual national road champion Gracie Elvin and 2010 Games Bronze medallist Chloe Hosking, who gains a third team selection.
2010 team member Tiffany Cromwell returns while Sarah Roy makes her debut.
“It's a bit of a pinch yourself moment,” said Hosking who becomes just the third Australian female cycling behind Anna Meares and Kathy Watt to be named to contest three Commonwealth Games.
“To think I represented Australia at 20 in Delhi and I'm still racing and still getting stronger and still pulling on the green and gold. I would never have dreamt this growing up.”
The Tandem Para-cycling selections are led by 2016 world champions Jessica Gallagher and Pilot Madison Janssen, while Bradley Henderson will make his debut with Pilot Thomas Clarke who won Bronze at the 2014 Games.
2014 Bronze medallists and dual Olympians Daniel McConnell and Rebecca McConnell (nee Henderson) will contest the mountain bike cross-country competition.
“I'm very excited about the upcoming Games, to have a home Commonwealth Games is going to be a great experience,” said McConnell who grabbed a top ten finish at last year’s World Championships in Cairns. “I have pretty high expectations going into the Games.
“I really like the course, I think it suits my strength pretty well. I just want to get to the start line 100% fit and ready to go, if I can do that anything is possible.”
Similarly, Rebecca McConnell is hoping the home course advantage plays into her hands when she lines up against a world-class field.
“I have been fortunate enough to race on the course at the Nationals Series in January, it's a great course, with technical climbing and descending and the strongest rider will win,” said Henderson.
“With world champions and World Cup winners in both the men's and the women's field the racing is going to be fast and exciting so we hope to see lots of spectators in April!”
Australia has enjoyed strong success at recent Games with a 24-medal haul including seven gold in Glasgow in 2014, and 21 medals (14 gold) in Delhi in 2010.
Tickets still available to 12 sports across the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games competition schedule.
Commonwealth Games Australian Cycling Team
PARA TRACK (TANDEMS)
* Commonwealth Games debutant