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
Tissot UCI Track World Cup #1 - Paris, France
âThe Australian Cycling Team has opened the UCI Track World Cup season in Paris in style by topping the medal tally with eight medals including three gold, three silver and two bronze.
Resplendent in his rainbow jersey, reigning world champion Matthew Glaetzer won the sprint gold.
Glaetzer opened his account with a scorching 9.502secs in qualifying - just 0.05secs off his personal best set at altitude - before defeating Dmitriev, Carlin, Hoogland and Lavreysen to take the win.
"It has been a great start to the season with both individual wins at Oceanias and my World Cup Sprint win today so I am quite happy," Glaetzer told Cycling Australia. "Through the rounds I felt good and was racing well. The semi final onwards was intense though, I don't think I had beaten Hoogland before so that was a good fight to make the gold ride.
"I went to three rides again in the final which always tests you and your opponent to see how much is left in the tank. I backed up stronger in the third ride and took the gold."
Stephanie Morton scorched qualifying with a personal best 10.516secs before defeating Kobayoshi, van Reissen and Shmeleva on her way to the final where Hong Kong's Wai Sze Lee ended her run.
"After a huge week at Oceanias, then a long haul flight, then three rounds of the team sprint, to come out and ride a 10.5 was awesome," Morton told Cycling Australia. "I knew it would be a tough fight to make the finals but I took it one race at a time and stoked to walk away with the silver."
Women's Team Pursuit
Dual world and reigning Commonwealth champion Ash Ankudinoff led Georgia Baker, and team newcomers Macey Stewart and Kristina Clonan to gold in the team pursuit.
Fastest qualifiers (4:20.154), the team progressed to the final with the best first round time (4:18.441), before posting a stellar time of 4mins 16.957secs to win gold over New Zealand.
Ashlee Ankudinoff claimed her second gold of the World Cup with victory in the scratch race, while Leigh Howard took bronze in the men's final.
Dual Madison world champion Leigh Howard and Kell OâBrien took bronze on 17points with gold going to Hansen/Morkov. The medal was Kellâs first one at World Cup level.
Macey Stewart and Georgia Baker took the double points on offer in the final sprint to grab a podium finish in the women's final.
Fastest qualifiers (32.845) Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch progressed through the first round (32.763) but were pipped by just .001 seconds in team sprint final by Russia's Voinova and Shmeleva (32.820).
In the men's, Jacob Schmid, Patrick Constable and Nathan Hart finished just outside the medals in fifth.
>>> Official Results
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