Moments after cheering their male counterparts to team pursuit glory, Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW), Amy Cure (TAS), Annette Edmondson (SA) and Georgia Baker (TAS) completed the prestigious double by claiming the women’s crown.
Fastest qualifiers on Wednesday (4:14.915), the quartet subbed in Alexandra Manly - who celebrated her twenty-third birthday on Thursday - in place of Edmondson for their first-round clash with Italy. A malfunction in the Australian starting gate, followed by a false start by the Italians, failed to rattle the Australians as they soared into the final with a stunning win in 4mins 13.913secs.
Edmondson returned for the final and the Australian quartet pounced on the British outfit from the gate, establishing a lead of half a second after one kilometre. In a tight tussle, the margin remained under one second for the entirety of the 16-lap race, with the Australians holding off a late fightback to win in a time of 4mins 14.333secs (averaging 56.619km/h), two-tenths of a second ahead of Great Britain (4:14.537).
“It still hasn’t sunk in, we always believed we could do it,” said Edmondson, who shared in the 2015 world title with Cure and Ankudinoff. “We’ve got a great team vibe at the moment, everyone is really positive and really relaxed coming in and in a good mental space, so when you see your teammates doing well you do the same!
“We did all we could out there and we’rereally happy to be world champions!”
Georgia Baker was ecstatic to claim her maiden elite world crown.
“We put three really strong rides together, we’re so happy to be world champions,” Baker said. “At the moment I am struggling for words I am so proud and happy be in the rainbows. We have worked super hard, not just us but also Macey and Kristina back at home. They deserve every bit of this too.”
Fellow Tasmanian Amy Cure was overcome with emotion following the win, her second after winning in 2015.
“It is so great to be able to share this moment with these girls, it has been a bit of a roller coaster year, so it’s great to be able to pull on the rainbows now and do it with this group.”
For Ankudinoff, she becomes the first Australian woman to win three career team pursuit world crown after claiming the 2010 (with Tomic and Kent) and 2015 crowns (with Edmondson, Cure and Hoskins).
“It has been a couple of years since we have been on the top step. This is definitely special to share it with the four other girls plus two at home, it is a very special moment and I will never forget this,” Ankudinoff said.
Celebrating her twenty-third birthday on Thursday, Alex Manly received the best present from her teammates as she cheered trackside during the final.
“Super special to share it with these girls, it is awesome. They gave me chocolates this morning but I think this present is a lot better,” Manly said.
After recording his first World Championship victory at the helm of the women’s track endurance program, a visibly emotional Jason Bartram lauded praise on the Australian Cycling Team.
“It means a lot, it really means a lot,” Bartram said. “I’m proud of the girls and we put everything into this.
“To see it come across and see those girls get what they work for every day means everything.
“The staff support we have is unreal, everyone chips in their little bit and plays their role and contributes to great performances. I could try and say names, but I hope everyone who has been a part of this along the way knows they are important and matter.”