Four days, four headlines from 2019 #OceaniaTrack
The Australian Cycling Team wrapped up its start to the 2019 international track season at the Oceania Cycling Confederation Track Cycling Championships at the Adelaide Superdrome.
The first stop in the qualifying process for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the Oceania Championships is one of the busiest events on the team’s schedule for the summer with 40 titles awarded over four days in the elite and under 19 categories.
With so many events in so few days, we have highlighted four of the talking points from the four days of racing.
Matt motors and Steph scorches
There would be no stopping Australia’s king and queen of track sprinting with Matthew Glaetzer and Stephanie Morton claiming five gold between them.
Donning his rainbow jersey in the sprint, reigning world champion Glaetzer scorched the cold Adelaide velodrome in qualifying (9.725secs) before taking care of New Zealand’s Sam Webster and Edward Dawkins on his way to the final where he edged teammate Nathan Hart (Australia) for the gold.
"It is an important title with good (qualifying) points now the Olympic qualifying has begun," said Glaetzer who also claimed the keirin crown.
Stephanie Morton equalled her 2018 Commonwealth Games performance with a triple gold medal haul. She opened her campaign with gold in the team sprint with three-time world champion Kaarle McCulloch, before taking the keirin crown.
On the final day of competition, Morton clocked 10.593secs in qualifying, just .07 outside of her personal best set at April’s Games.
Morton reached the final after wins over Australia’s Lara Tucker and New Zealand’s Olivia Podmore, before proving too powerful for Natasha Hansen (New Zealand).
"It was a tough one, but it was good with a real quality field out there,” Morton said after her keirin win. “It is cool the Oceania Champs are here in Adelaide, and we have such a strong women's field. So to come away with the win, I am happy.”
Madison future in good (sets of) hands
With the Madison set to feature at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after being reintroduced to the programme for men and added for women, the Australian chances in just under two years from now looks promising.
Macey Stewart and Georgia Baker teamed to take the women’s crown, while Cameron Scott and Alex Porter dominated the men’s event.
It continues a strong year in the event for Stewart, who came into the Australian Cycling Team program last month, with the Tasmanian claiming the 2018 Oceania and national titles with Kristina Clonan.
"A big confidence boost to go back to back in my favourite event,” said Stewart, who on her way to Paris for this weekend’s opening Tissot UCI Track World Cup series where she will race the Madison with Clonan.
“It is exciting it [the Madison] is an Olympic event now, as it has always been my favourite event. It is exciting to be able to focus on it over the next couple of years towards Tokyo."
Sharing the endurance spoils
The results showed Australia’s endurance stocks run deep as the team shared the spoils across the Madison, omnium, points and scratch races and team pursuit.
Australia’s world record holding team pursuit quartet showed their prowess in the bunch events, with Sam Welsford claiming both the omnium and scratch races, Kell O’Brien winning the points and, while Alex Porter took the Madison (with Cameron Scott).
"The omnium was fun today! It has been a while since I have raced on the track, so it was good to get out there," said Welsford. "The Oceania Championships is good to see how you are going at the start of track season and as I have a bunch focus at the World Cups, it is perfect for peace of mind and confidence to get the win."
In the women’s events, veteran Ashlee Ankudinoff continued her strong 2018 with three wins on the week in the scratch, points, plus the team pursuit where she teamed with team newcomers Kristina Clonan and Macey Stewart, plus Georgia Baker.
“We have had two newbies in Kristina and Macey come into the squad, and I think they stepped up tremendously, we couldn’t be happier to start our season off with a gold medal,” said Ankudinoff.
Like Ankudinoff, Baker celebrated triple gold on the week, triumphing individually in the omnium, with Stewart in the Madison and the team pursuit.
Long haul celebration
There was little time for celebration following the Championships, with a 13-member contingent checking in for a long haul flight to Paris on Sunday night.
The team will have a few days to acclimatise and shed the jet lag ahead of this weekend’s opening Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup Series in Saint Quentin en Yvelines.
The team set to contest the opening round is:
Following Paris, the sprint crew is set to race on a third continent in three weeks at the Series’ second round in Canada. The endurance contingent will head to the London Six-Day event.
2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ashlee Ankudinoff has returned to Australia eager to contest her first race since the April’s Games, the National Road Series Tour of King Valley from 31 August.
In April at the Anna Meares Velodrome, Ankudinoff, along with Annette Edmondson, Amy Cure and Alexandra Manly soared to team pursuit gold, smashing New Zealand by nearly ten seconds in a time that would have won the 2018 World Championships.
“It’s a moment I will never forget,” reflected Ankudinoff, who also boasts two world titles in the team format. “Racing in front of family, friends and a home crowd is something you dream of. I was fortunate to live my dream that night, standing on that top step, singing the national anthem with my three teammates.”
Ankudinoff was also critical in the team’s second Commonwealth Games gold which saw an emphatic scratch race win by Cure in a brilliant display of team racing.
“I can’t forget the scratch race. This is another moment that I will never forget when I look back at my career. I didn’t win the gold medal, but I certainly felt like I did. Amy, Nettie and I had a plan going into that race and for it to come together on race day is something incredible. It was such a rewarding feeling for me knowing that I had contributed to Amy’s gold.
Following the Games, Ankudinoff enjoyed a well earned three-week Hawaiian holiday with her partner Jack before hopping back on a plane to the USA mainland for the summer criterium series where she picked up wins in the Tour of America’s Dairyland series.
“I decided I would have quite a bit of time off the bike because if all goes to plan, I won’t be having much time off over the next two years heading into the Olympic Games,” Ankudinoff said. “It was such a long build up to 2018 Commonwealth Games, and we did put a lot of emphasis on peaking for this event, so it was great to switch off both mentally and physically.
“We made a lot of sacrifices last season by not doing any World Cups and no World Championships, but I do think it was the best thing, you could see by our time, it is positive heading into the next two years.”
Ankudinoff’s focus over the next two years is firmly set on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She will rejoin the new look women’s track endurance squad in Adelaide this month along with Edmondson, Cure and Manly, Georgia Baker plus Tassie’s Macey Stewart and Queensland’s Kristina Clonan who joined the program mid-year.
“I think both Kristina and Macey are great inclusions into the women's track endurance Team. I really look forward to training with them over the next few years,” said Ankudinoff. “We all know there is a lot of hard work ahead of us between now and then.
“We now have a team of seven, and of course seven doesn’t go into four, but I think with the team we have now along with an excellent training/support environment that is based out of Adelaide to do something special in two years time.
“All eyes are on Tokyo and that Olympic Gold medal.”
Ankudinoff will line up for Specialized Women’s Racing in the National Road Series Tour of King Valley event from August 31 - 2 September, followed by Amy’s Otway Tour on 15/16 September.
Following this, Ankudinoff will contest the 2018 Oceania Track Championships in Adelaide from 10-13 October.
Commonwealth Games debutant Rebecca Wiasak won silver in the women’s individual pursuit, finishing behind 2016 Olympic team pursuit champion Katie Archibald from Scotland. Annette Edmondson took the bronze.
Wiasak wowed the crowd in the afternoon qualifying with a Games record (3:25.936), which also eclipsed her own national record. However Archibald eclipsed that mark in the very next ride.
In the final, Archibald looked strong early, before Wiasak took the lead and a .3sec advantage at the halfway mark. However Archibald fought back and stopped the clock at 3mins 26.088secs ahead of Wiasak (3:27.548).
I went hard. I used all my energy and enthusiasm. I'm happy to finish both races. I'm as thrilled today with a silver as I would be with a gold.
I knew it was going to be a tough ask coming up against Katie Archibald, she's such a classy rider and you're stoked to make the final and you definitely have to stay confident that I could take it to her in the final.
I'm really happy to finish off both my rides really strongly.
It was bitterly disappointing to miss out on the team pursuit but you have to draw strength and inspiration from those rides," Wiasak said.
Watching it in bed last night trying to rest up for today, I was so emotional for the girls, you were in tears seeing them on the podium knowing that could have been you.
But I've been in that position so many times - the final rider cut - so when I was just sitting and waiting for today to jump up on the track I said to myself 'you've been waiting so long for this moment'.
I was the last rider cut for Glasgow and the fastest individual pursuiter at that point that season, and the last rider cut for Rio so I had to sit at home and watch as the non-travelling reserve so I know disappointment but it's continued to drive me and use that fire in the belly to keep me going and get me on this track.
Bronze - NETTIE Edmondson
In an all Aussie affair, Annette Edmondson held off a late surge from reigning national champion Ashlee Ankudinoff to win bronze. Earlier in the day, Edmondson set a Games record and personal best in qualifying (3:27.255) before it was broken by Wiasak and then Archibald.
"I'm satisfied, I wasn't sure what to expect going in after yesterday, it was pretty solid on the legs but I had to go out there and focus and luckily I could pull out a PB.
"It was really tough in the final because you're up against your teammate and you really want to make it on the podium but at the same time one of your teammates doesn't get to come home with a medal, so it was hard but I am satisfied with the time I was able to ride.
"We've put our heart and soul into it the last few years and it just comes down to the day and who has the right prep or who believes in themselves more on the night, and sometimes there's a bit of luck involved."
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