The Australian Cycling Team enjoyed a successful week at the 2018 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Aigle, Switzerland, with three world titles, nine medals and a handful of world and Australian records.
Melbourne’s Luke Plapp celebrated dual world titles in the points race and in the Madison with Blake Quick (QLD) (read more here), while Sydney’s Thomas Cornish stormed to the kilometre time trial world title in world record time (read more here).
Leigh Hoffman (SA) set a new Australian record in the men’s sprint, while Sophie Edwards (SA) broke Amy Cure’s eight-year-old national mark in the individual pursuit.
Melbourne’s Sarah Gigante left the World Championships with a silver medal and smile as wide as the Aigle velodrome after coming to within one sprint of a world title.
“I don't think I have ever been so excited for a race,” Gigante told Cycling Australia. “Not only was the experience of racing for my country, at a world level and overseas, completely foreign and novel but it was made especially special by the fact that I had had no clue whether I would be healed in time to race for about three months.”
It was a battle to make it to the start line in Aigle after the six-time 2018 national champion crashed on a descent in a club road race in May which left her with a broken left elbow, left shoulder and right wrist. Surgery quickly followed for the Brunswick Cycling Club rider before she suffered another blow after dislocating her shoulder on one of her first recovery rides.
“Even most of the doctors I saw laughed when I said that I wanted to race in August, so you can imagine that I felt beyond grateful and fortunate to have the chance to pull on the treasured green and gold.”
It was a quick start to the points race, with Gigante figuring in the first serious attack from a group of riders which took a lap. Inside the final 20 laps, Gigante stunned the field by taking a lap of her own and the race lead. However, the fast-finishing Italian rider Silvia Zanadri took the final sprint win and the double points on offer, which gave her the title by just five points.
“I ended up taking silver, which I am stoked about,” Gigante said. “Just being at Worlds was amazing enough, so to place in one of my favourite races in a great field was so crazy!
“I felt so good to be back! I can't thank my support network enough. I wouldn't be here right now without them, let alone with a silver medal around my neck. To Holden Team Gusto, Brunswick Cycling Club, Cycling Australia, my friends, heroes, and my family, especially my brilliant mum, and everyone else who helped me to get here, thank you so much! I couldn't have done it without you all.”
In other results, Sophie Edwards (SA) broke Amy Cure’s eight-year-old national mark and won bronze in the individual pursuit, while Alice Culling (VIC) & Alexandra Martin-Wallace (QLD) took bronze in the women’s Madison.
In the sprint, Alana Field (VIC) enjoyed three top ten finishes and personal best (11.373) in the flying 200m. Field took sixth in the sprint after being edged by the eventual silver medallist in quarterfinals, while also grabbing eighth in the keirin and ninth in the time trial.
WATCH THE POINTS RACE FINAL