Two days after pulling on the team sprint rainbow jersey, South Australia’s Stephanie Morton (SA) claimed a third consecutive World Championship sprint silver medal.
“You can never be upset with three straight podium appearances at a World Championships,” said Morton, “Yes, it wasn’t the gold, but you have to put it into perspective that I am actually being consistent at a standard enough to get medals at a World Championships.”
At the Pruszkow Velodrome on Thursday, Morton topped the flying 200m qualifying for the fourth-straight World Championships with a time of 10.546secs (averaging 68.272km/h). She then progressed unscathed to the semi-finals with wins over Madalyn Godby (USA) and Olena Starikova (UKR).
Morton was dominant in her semi-final defeat of rising star Lea Sophie Friedrich (GER) , beating the German in straight heats, setting up a tantalising clash with Lee, with the pair claiming five of the six World Cup sprint gold on offer this season.
In the first heat, Lee turned on her speed to reel in Morton on the home straight for the win. Morton took it to Lee in the second heat with a surprise attack with two laps to go, however, it wasn’t enough to hold Lee claimed her maiden world title.
“She is absolutely on fire at the moment, she was amazing when I raced her at the World Cups and I knew it was going to be some tough racing,” said Morton, who celebrated her maiden elite world title on Wednesday in the team sprint with Kaarle McCulloch. “I ticked boxes today, but I also made mistakes. The first ride in final I wasn’t too happy with, I made one small mistake and it was race over. Not unhappy with the final, still yet to go over it.
“But we will go through and see what we got right and what we didn’t.”
For the 28-year-old Morton, it continued a consistent 2018/19 season which saw her top the sprint qualification, while claiming two gold, silver and a bronze in the four World Cups she entered.
“I feel like every race I go into now I am more confident, am racing better... the exposure we are getting consistently racing at this higher level I feel more prepared going in,” Morton said. “When I first started racing at this level, I was so nervous.
“Now it is cool calm and collected. You have a job to do and you get it done, simple as that.”
Morton will now have a day off before contesting the keirin on the final day of the Championships on Sunday.
“Kick the heels up tomorrow (Saturday), have a bit of rest and recovery, and we will see what happens in the keirin on Sunday. We all know what that is like, it is unpredictable, so bring it on.”