Day 3 Recap - UCI Track World Cup 6 - Hong Kong
The penultimate day of the final World Cup of the season saw Australian Cycling Team's Cameron Meyer claim an emphatic omnium gold, while Podium Potential Academy member Caitlin Ward netted her best World Cup performance in the women's sprint.
Meyer, 31, began his campaign with seventh in the opening scratch race, before a commanding display in the tempo race saw him took maximum points after winning the event.
A calculated fourth in a crash-marred elimination race, which was neutralised mid-way through the race after a crash brought down a handful of riders, left Meyer perfectly poised in second place behind New Zealand's Campbell Stewart (104pts) heading into the final event, the points race.
In his pet event, a classical Meyer performance saw him claim two sprint wins and a lap on the field within the first thirty laps of the 100-lap race, and with them, the race ascendancy.
From there, Meyer was able to control the race and any attacks on his lead, sealing gold on 134 points ahead of France's Benjamin Thomas (120pts) and Stewart (116pts).
"A little bit shocked and surprised, but I knew I had good condition coming off the road racing in Australia with the Tour Down Under, but I didn't know what to expect in my first omnium at a World Cup," said the nine-time world champion in the points race, team pursuit and Madison. "I was pretty nervous for some of the events, but when I knew I was up there for the points race which is my speciality, I was a chance of a getting a result and coming away with a gold medal.
"My goals were to find out what the omnium was about really. It is an Olympic event, something that I can target, so I wanted to see where the level was at, where my level compared to the other competitors."
Meyer will now return to the Australian Cycling Team's Adelaide headquarters for final preparations for Februarys World Championships in Poland.
"Now it is a full focus towards Worlds and I am really looking forward to it. It is always exciting to be back on the track, I have good condition and am looking forward to the World Championships."
In the women's sprint, Caitlin Ward netted her best World Cup performance finishing eighth.
In her first race at the World Cup level since 2016 after suffering a broken foot and chronic back injuries, Ward opened her account with a competition personal best 11.022seconds in the flying 200m, the eighth fastest on the day.
Ward then took care of Amelia Walsh (CAN) and Jessica Lee (HKG) to move to the quarterfinals where her campaign ended at the hands of hometown hero and Olympic medalist Wai Sze Lee (HKG).
"It was unfortunate to get eighth and come across the top qualifier, but racing Lee is an experience and a half. You're not going to learn unless you race the best, and she is up there," said Ward, 24. "I am thrilled with how I performed. It is my best performance ever. I haven't done close to that time for a long time, I have had injuries coming out of my ears.
A member of the Podium Potential Academy, Ward recognised coach Lynne Munro and the support from the new Cycling Australia program.
"(I am) over the moon with how the Academy has come through, getting to work with Lynne. I think we make a really good team, the people involved are great, I have a great team around me."
Holly Takos clocked 11.582seconds in qualifying but did not progress through to sprint rounds.
Twenty-four hours after claiming team sprint gold while on his World Cup debut, Matthew Richardson, 19 was back at it on Saturday in the men's keirin, with the Podium Potential Academy sprinter finished seventh overall after winning the 7-12 final.
After winning team pursuit bronze on the opening night of competition Godfrey Slattery, 19, went solo on Saturday, finishing thirteenth in the scratch race.
In the women's Madison, Maeve Plouffe and Alexandra Martin-Wallace took on the might of the world's best in their World Cup debut. A frenetic pace was set early by 2018 world championship silver medallists the Netherlands and 2017 world champions Belgium, with the two teams unrelenting over the 80-lap race.
The UCI Track World Cup in Hong Kong is the sixth and final for the 2018/19 season. Racing concludes on Sunday.