Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Ausssie team for BMX World Champs


Cycling Australia and BMX Australia are pleased to confirm the elite & elite junior riders selected for the Australian BMX High Performance team to contest the UCI BMX World Championships being staged in Birmingham, England from 23 to 27 May.
Australia is currently the number one nation in the UCI world rankings (as at 17 April) in both men's and women's elite competition. It's this ranking that will give Australia the maximum of five starting positions (three men and two women) in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
"Our High Performance group has been working well together and challenging each other with aim of being the best in the world, not just the best in Australia," said BMX Australia High Performance Program Head Coach, Wade Bootes. "The girls are definitely doing that and having our guys in finals at world cups is pretty special as well.
"We've got some good heavy hitters in the elite ranks and some promising young riders coming through from our junior elite program," said Bootes.
Competition is fierce within Australia's ranks to be one of the five riders to line up in London and the World Championships will be a crucial qualification event for our Olympic hopefuls.
At the recent Supercross World Cup Series round in Norway Canberra's Caroline Buchanan won both the main event and the time trial medals and those results moved her to number one on the world rankings. Queensland teenager and 2011 dual junior world champion Melinda McLeod last weekend won the elite women's title at the Subaru BMX Nationals in Mt Gambier, South Australia and is ranked fourth in the world while West Australia Lauren Reynolds is in fifth place.
In the men's rankings 2009 series champion Sam Willoughby has placed second in both Supercross rounds contested this season and is the best of the Australians in second place on the world ranking. Reigning Oceania and Australian Champion Brian Kirkham is ranked seventh and Khalen Young eleventh.
While rider ranking is an important part of the nomination criteria a rider who wins a medal* in the elite class race at the World Championships will secure automatic nomination for selection by the Australian Olympic Committee in the team for London. That presents an opportunity for any riders who might not be on the radar of the selectorsand for those named today but it also adds pressure on the world ranked riders in the program to continue to deliver results.
"The race for a start at the Olympic Games is still wide open and because a lot of things can happen at a world championships if a rider can demonstrate they can get through all the rounds, get into the final and get on the podium they will have demonstrated they have prepared well and performed at world level and they deserve a spot," said Bootes.
Riders who have not been named today in the world championship team also have a chance to race with the team in Birmingham if they finish on the podium in the main event final at the remaining Supercross round being staged at Papendal in the Netherlands from 12 to 13 May.
"In the elite class everyone has a chance to put their hand up and realistically if someone does well in Holland we'll support them at the worlds," said Bootes.
(* Time trial medals not included and if more than one rider wins a medal the top placed rider will gain the automatic nomination.)
BMX 20" - Elite Men
  • Anthony DEAN (Wynn Vale, SA, 22.04.1991) (Ranked 29 in the world)
  • Brian KIRKHAM (Clapham SA, 01.01.1986) (Ranked 4 in the world)
  • Sam WILLOUGHBY (Trott Park SA, 15.08.1991) (Ranked 2 in the world)
  • Khalen YOUNG (Kelmscott WA, 20.11.1984) (Ranked 15 in the world)
BMX 20" - Elite Women
BMX 20" - U19 Men
  • Bodi TURNER (Bayswater North, VIC, 18.09.1994) (Ranked 6 in the world)
  • Corey FRIESWYK (Glenella, QLD, 26.01.1994) ranked 13 in the world)
BMX 20" - U19 Women
  • Rachel JONES (Cameron Park, NSW, 18.10.1995) (Ranked 6 in the world)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Aussies on form in Italy


Queensland's Jay McCarthy has claimed an impressive win overcoming atrocious weather conditions that saw more than 30 percent of the peloton abandon during the 146 kilometre fourth stage of the Toscana Terra di Ciclismo in Italy.
The 19 year old completed the stage from Terranuouva Bracciolini to Cortona in a time of 3:36:31 sprinting home ahead of Swiss rider Patrick Schelling and winner of the recent under 23 men's Liege-Bastogne-Liege race, Dane Michael Andersen, who clocked the same finishing time. The result has moved McCarthy into seventh overall, 30 seconds off the tour leader Fabio Aru of Italy.
"Wow! That was a cold race, rain and lots of it and to make it a little more cruel it decided to hail," said McCarthy after thawing out. "I'm very happy to come away with the win today."
It was nine degrees Celsius and raining for the stage start and as the race progressed the weather worsened.
"This was probably some of the worst race conditions experienced by these guys," said Cycling Australia Under 23 Men's Road Coach, James Victor. "The rain got heavier as the race progressed and the temperature dropped to around six degrees. Then to add to the miserable conditions there were three separate hail storms during the day.
"The race plan was to move McCarthy closer to overall contention and to set him up for the final three kilometre climb that suited him better than yesterday's steep ascent close to the finish," said Victor. "Today's finish started at nine percent (gradient) for one kilometre and finished with switchbacks for the last kilometre, averaging five percent to the finish."
An original breakaway group of five had been whittled down to two by the time the race arrived at the final climb.
"Michael Freiberg had another super day looking after Jay," said Victor. "There were only 40 riders left in the chase group and Michael delivered Jay onto the last climb in third wheel with a 13 second gap to the two leaders and three kilometres of climbing to the finish."
McCarthy finished off the hard work with a well timed acceleration to catch the two escapees 200 metres from the line. As well as moving into seventh overall McCarthy's consistency has him leading the Points Classification and he is ranked second in the Young Rider Classification.
It was a mixed day for the rest of the Australian team with Damien Howson strong in support but unlucky to be mixed up in a crash 15 kilometres from the finish that forced him to change bikes and mount a solid chase to rejoin the peloton. The weather took it's toll as well and Calvin Watson, Nick Aitken and Eric Shepphard, were amongst the 30 percent of starters (38 riders) to succumb to the conditions and abandoned the tour.
"Tomorrow is another 'special' day," said Victor. "There are six sections, 33km of the 167km stage, of white dirt road or 'Strada Bianca' as they call it here in Italy.
"In the wet weather that means caked-on white mud and plenty of water ruts to negotiate," he said. "But our three remaining riders are confident Jay can move closer to the overall lead and perhaps claim another stage victory to secure the points classification."
The Toscana Terra di Ciclismo is a round of the UCI Under 23 Nations Cup with Jayco-AIS riders McCarthy, Freiberg, Howson, Watson and Aitken being joined by Jayco-VIS rider Shepphard in the national team colours.
Coincidentally McCarthy's win in Cortona comes 30 years after Tasmanian Michael Wilson became the first Australian to claim a stage of the Giro d'Italia when he launched a solo attack on the final climb leaving his two break away companions behind. One of whom was Frenchman Laurent Fignon who would win the Tour de France in 1983 and 1984.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Monday, 16 April 2012

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Friday, 13 April 2012

Asian Racing for Jelajah Malaysia


Aisan Cycling team is aiming for the individual general classification’s yellow jersey when the Jelajah Malaysia 2012 takes place next month on 8-13 May.

Team manager Takumi Beppu said this week that the team has a lot to make up for from last year’s race where the tsunami in Japan which took place in the middle of the Jelajah Malaysia 2011 affected their concentration.

“Last year, I would rate our achievement as around 60%. We did well at first and wore the King of the Mountain jersey for a time but when the great earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, it affected all of us in the team. We just could not maintain our concentration in the race. That resulted in us losing the jersey and also failing to get the result which we were aiming for,” said Beppu, who had at one time rode for team Mapei.

“For this year, I expect the team to win the General Classification for the yellow jersey. That is our aim. We got second place in the GC in 2009 (by Beppu himself), and I deeply expect our riders to do better than that.”

Last year, Aisan’s best placed finisher was Kazuhiro Mori, who came in sixth in the GC - close to four minutes behind tour winner Mehdi Sohrabi of the Tabriz Petrochemical team from Iran.

Other than Kazuhiro, the other riders taking part in the race this year are Takeaki Ayabe, Kenichi Suzuki, Masahiro Shinagawa, Shimpei Fukuda and Masakazu Ito.

Shinagawa, formerly with Skil-Shimano, is an experienced rider having taken part in the Tour of Okinawa, Tour de Korea, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and even the Paris-Roubaix previously.

Beppu added that Kazuhiro and also Shimpei who are both sprinters will be the riders to look out for in Aisan where the fact that they will be taking part in two Asia Tour races before the Jelajah Malaysia and also the Japan National Championship (on 29 April) meant that the riders will be in a good condition.

“The pivotal factor is speed so we will have to make full use of their abilities at the right occasion to give our team advantage on a route which is mostly flat,” explained Beppu.

“As you may know, Aisan Racing Team has been participating in UCI Asia Tours since 2006. UCI 2.2 class races like Jelajah Malaysia is very important for us where we have been participating since 2009.

“Our target is to be the No. 1 team in ASIA!”

After Stage One from Merdeka Stadium to Bandar Baru Kampar, the longest stage of the tour this year will take place in Stage Two from Kampar to Kulim in Kedah for a total distance of 201.8km. It is significantly shorter than last year’s longest stage at 222.5km.

Stage Three will see the peloton heading close to the Malaysia-Thailand border in Chuping in Perlis before Stage Four, a short 98.5km ride from Kangar to Sungai Petani in Kedah. From here, the race will head south to Ipoh in Perak for Stage Five just before the final race to the finish.

Stage Six will see a frantic finish in the second longest stage – a 199km ride from Ipoh to Dataran Merdeka.

AISAN CYCLING TEAM

Manager: Takumi Beppu     

Takeaki Ayabe
Kenichi Suzuki
Masahiro Shinagawa
Shimpei Fukuda
Masakazu Ito
Kazuhiro Mori

JELAJAH MALAYSIA 2012

STAGE ONE (8 May 2012) – Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur to Bandar Baru Kampar, Perak (161.5km)

STAGE TWO (9 May 2012) - Bandar Baru Kampar, Perak to Kulim, Kedah (201.8km)

STAGE THREE (10 May 2012) – Kulim, Kedah to Felda Chuping, Perlis (168.8km)

STAGE FOUR (11 May 2012) – Kangar, Perlis to Sungai Petani, Kedah (98.5km)

STAGE FIVE (12 May 2012) - Sungai Petani, Kedah to Ipoh, Perak (193.4km)

STAGE SIX (13 May 2012) – Ipoh, Perak to Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur (199.5km)


Cream Egg bike race

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Meyer says no to Olympics


West Australian Cameron Meyer has withdrawn from the shadow track cycling team for the London Olympic Games.
The six time track world champion has announced he will concentrate on his road career and will not vie for selection for the team pursuit in London.
"It was a very hard decision to make but ultimately my passion for the team pursuit isn't 100 percent," said Meyer who rides on the road with the Australian registered GreenEDGE professional team.
On Saturday 24 year old Meyer provided one of the highlights of the 2012 world championships in Melbourne when he launched a last ditch attack that saw him snatch the gold medal in the dying moments of the 160 lap points race.
"In Melbourne I achieved what I wanted to on the track through my points race win and making the podium for the Madison," Meyer explained after arriving back in Perth with his third points race rainbow jersey and the bronze he claimed with Leigh Howard in the Madison. "I take huge satisfaction from that and now I want to see what I can achieve on the road."
Cycling Australia National Performance Director, Kevin Tabotta, says he accepts that it was Cameron's decision to make and appreciates him making it now so the squad can get on with the job of preparing for London.
"Of course we're disappointed because Cameron is one of our most talented cyclists but we respect his decision and we're sure we'll see big things from him as his road career develops," said Tabotta. "We have excellent depth in our men's track endurance group and, as we've seen in recent months, they are capable of posting some of the fastest times ever ridden."
Tabotta says it's impossible to know whether an Australian team pursuit with Meyer in it would be faster.
"That's something we'll never know," said Tabotta. "Cameron has not been in the line up for the pursuit since 2010 and we now won't have an opportunity of finding out if he could have reached or exceeded the level of his past pursuit performances."
Meyer admits the decision is partly because of the difficulty of switching between road and track several times during a season.
"Physically and mentally it's quite hard to switch and the last couple of years I've had my focus on the points race and the Madison," he said. "I haven't been part of the team (team pursuit) for18 months and I don't know if I am up to competing at the level they are now; riding world record times."
Meyer says watching the pursuit team race last week was emotional but he also recognised that it was not the path he wanted to follow.
"It's always hard when you see them race and feel you want to be out there and be a part of it but I knew in myself I hadn't done the workload and the training campsand the training that's required now to be part of that," said Meyer. "You need 100 percent commitment towards that to be able to do the speeds that they're doing and and push the gears that they are. I have full faith in those boys come London. I think they can win the gold medal.
"They've proven they are one of the strongest teams over the past few years and with or without me I know they'll compete for the gold medal in London."
Meyer first represented Australia at a world championships as a junior in 2005 in Austria where he claimed bronze in the team pursuit and Madison on the track and was seventh in the road time trial. The next year he won the individual pursuit, team pursuit and Madison gold in Belgium and again placed in the top ten in the road time trial. In 2006 he was selected in his first senior Cyclones team and placed fourth in the points race. He was fourth in the points race at the 2008 world championships and again in Beijing where he made his Olympic Games debut at the age of 20.
2009 saw him win the points race world title in Poland before he teamed with Leigh Howard to claim the Madison silver medal. 2010 was his most successful year at world level with a three gold medal haul (points, Madison and team pursuit) at the track world titles in Copenhagen and victory in the points race and team pursuit at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Meyer won a second Madison world title with Howard in 2011 and this year added a sixth world crown to his tally through the points race win in Melbourne. But for the past few years he has also been forging a career on the road that has seen him twice win the Australian elite men's time trial title and overall victory in the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under.
"I'd really like to say thanks to everyone in the Cycling Australia /AIS High Performance Program who've been with me for the past eight years since they took me to my first junior worlds and to Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games and to six world title wins," said Meyer. "They've helped me forge my name and career thus far and I'm very grateful for everything they've done to help me become the rider I am and for providing the launching pad for my professional road career.


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Monday, 9 April 2012

Powerful stuff, and true - a must watch

Aussies top World track Champs medal tabe


Anna Meares has smashed the world record to win her fourth 500 metre time trial crown and her second gold medal of the 2012 UCI Track World Championships.
It was the tenth career world title for the 28 year old who won her first senior gold medal on the same track in the same event at the 2004 world titles.
Her victory and bronze medals to Ashlee Ankudinoff in the women's 3000 metre individual pursuit and to Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard in the Madison pushed the Cyclones team to the top of the medal table with a total of 15 medals from 19 events made up of six gold, six silver and three bronze medals.
Great Britain had three less medals to finish second on the table also with six gold but with four silver and three bronze. Germany was the only other country to score more than one gold claiming two as well as two silver and one bronze medal. Five nations shared the remaining five gold medals on offer.


Women's 500 metre time trial


Anna Meares lined up in the 500 metre time trial as the seventh of 23 starters. She hurtled out of the starting gate urged on by a mighty roar from the home crowd to clock 18.716 seconds for the first lap.
As the noise level rose so did Meares pace as she homed in on her mission to rewrite her name in the record books. The first woman to ride a sub 34 second 500 metres stopped the clock tonight in 33.010, agonisingly close to cracking the sub-33 second barrier and almost three tenths of a second faster than the mark set by Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaite to win the title in Poland in 2009.
"Oh man! Where can I find one-hundredth of a second? Seriously," laughed Meares. "I can't be too disappointed with that. I saw a 33.0 and someone asked me earlier today if I was going to run 32 and I said, 'Nah, no chance.'
"One one-hundredth of a second though... seriously!"
The win is her second of the week and comes after her success in Saturday's keirin. She also claimed bronze in the sprint and teamed with Kaarle McCulloch to place second in the team sprint.
"This track has been so good to me in the past and I haven't ridden a time trial in 18months," Meares said after claiming her fourth medal from four events. "I knew tonight was going to be special, I did forget how much (it hurt)… the old legs were hurting afterwards.
"My goodness I couldn't believe how loud this crowd was for me tonight."
Her previous world time trial crowns were won in 2004, 2007 and 2010 and she equals the record of of ten world titles in women's sprint events held by retired French track legend Felicia Ballanger who coincidentally was at this week's event to witness Meares ride.
"Its something special [to win] my 10th world title in the event where it all began for me eight years ago," said Meares who dedicated the win to her first coach, Ken 'Reg' Tucker.
"Reg Tucker was the first coach who ever saw a spark of talent in me. I wasn't always good at this sport when I first started at 11 years of age. I was generally a competitor making up the numbers but he saw something in me; he called me the 'Ugly Duckling' but he's never doubted me in any way.
"About ten months ago Reggie didn't even realise the worlds were going to be here this year so I rang him up and said, 'I've got a plane ticket and some seats for you. You're coming.'," said Meares. "I'm glad that he did come because it's something special."
Tucker said the performance had left him nearly speechless, a state he rarely felt.
"I always did have faith in her but she has exceeded all my expectations and the ride was just wonderful," Tucker said after seeing his charge excel over five days of racing.
"My form has just been phenomenal this week and I'm really pleased with how I've carried it through the five days of competition," Meares explained. "Tonight it was special for me to ride the 500 but it was also very strategic as well: it's day five of competition, there are five days of racing in London. And I've got to back up every single day after the first day of racing; I did that tonight and I'm really pleased.

"I love this event. For me it's just such enjoyment. There's no one else to get in my way, for starters. And it's pure speed. And it's pure control," she explained adding that she wanted a technically perfect race from the gate to the line but isn't sure if she pulled it off. "I don't know. It hurt. I remember that much. I felt like I was at walking speed coming home in the last quarter lap. But, no, I haven't gritted my teeth that hard in a race for as long as I can remember and I was fighting for everything I could get out of my body today."
Meares compatriot McCulloch knocked two tenths of a second off her previous best finish in 34.097 seconds and just outside the medals in fourth. Germany's Miriam Welte was second in 33.626 and Briton Jessica Varnish finished third in a time of 33.999.


Women's Individual Pursuit


Sydney's Ashlee Ankudinoff and Tasmanian Amy Cure both achieved person best performances in the 3000 metre women's individual pursuit where the pair qualified for an all Australian battle for the bronze medal.
Cure's 3:28.474 was the third fastest qualifying ride and as seven seconds under her previous best time while Anodic knocked four second of her previous mark with the fourth best time of 3:28.869.
In their head to head race for third place Ankudinoff, 21, hit the lead early and held a gap of around one second over Cure, 19, until the final four laps when the teenager fought back with her trademark late charge but it proved to be too late with Ankudinoff hanging on to win the medal in a time of 3:33.593, five hundredths of a second quicker than Cure (3:33.642).
Ankudinoff said she was 'pretty stoked' to claim a medal after missing out on her goal of a start in the team pursuit.
"I was the 2010 world champion (team pursuit) and then I was out with injury in 2011, so I fought back so hard in the start of the season for 2012. I just came out here put no pressure on myself. I’m happy to come away with a 3.28 to be honest."
The gold medal in the pursuit heads across the ditch to New Zealand after a solid ride by Alison Shanks (3:30.199) to defeat Briton Wendt Houvenhaghel in the final (3:32.340).


Madison


Australians Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard claimed the bronze medal in the 50 kilometre, 200 lap Madison that wrapped up the Championships.
The pair knew going into the race that they would be marked riders after winning the event at the past two world championships and on the back of Meyer last night winning his third world points race crown.
"I had it yesterday," said Meyer of being marked through out the points race. "I came away with a win, but I spent 150 laps frustrated and today I spent 200 laps frustrated.
"It's disappointing that some countries go out there with a mindset that 'oh, we're going to follow one team'," said Meyer. "I know that's bike racing, but I'm on the bad end of it, unfortunately, and so is Leigh (Howard)."
The gold medal was won by Belgian pair Kenny De Ketele and Gijs Van Hoecke. The last time Belgium won the title was in 1998 in Bordeaux when Etienne De Wilde and Australian born Matthew Gilmore scored gold. Gilmore is now on the Cyclones' team as a coach for the Madison event.
The Belgian pair amassed a total of 24 points to finish six ahead of Great Britain's Ben Swift and Geraint Thomas on 18 with the Australian duo third on 11 points.
Meyer paid "full credit" to the Belgians and to the British pairs.
"They had more points then us on the day and we're still very happy to be on the podium in front of a home crowd," Meyer said.


Men's Keirin


Australia's world champion team sprint trio lined up in the men's keirin where Scott Sunderland was the best placed winning the consolation final to finish seventh overall. He won his first round heat but in the second round finished fourth missing the medal final.
Teenager Matthew Glaetzer was nursing burns and will take home a large splinter as a souvenir of his keirin campaign that saw him crash and slide in spectacular style in the first round repechage heat. Defending champion Shane Perkins also missed out on qualifying into the second round.
Sir Chris Hoy won the crown, the fourth keirin title of his career, which moved him to the top of the most wins table ahead of Frederic Magne of France and Germany's Michael Hubner who have three titles each.
Germany's Maximilian Levy was third and Hoy's team mate jason Kenny was awarded the bronze medal after New Zealand's Simon van Velthooven was relegated for not holding his line in the final sprint.
Hoy's win was eleventh world championship victory.

2012 UCI Track World Championships - Cyclones Australian team list and medal summary

Gold
  • Men's Team Sprint* - Shane Perkins, Scott Sunderland, Matthew Glaetzer
  • Men's Omnium* - Glenn O'Shea
  • Women's Keirin* - Anna Meares
  • Men's Individual Pursuit - Michael Hepburn
  • Men's Points Race - Cameron Meyer
  • Women's 500 metre time trial - Anna Meares
Silver
  • Women's Team Sprint* - Anna Meares, Kaarle McCulloch
  • Men's Team Pursuit* - Jack Bobridge, Michael Hepburn, Glenn O'Shea, Rohan Dennis
  • Women's Team Pursuit* - Josephine Tomic, Melissa Hoskins, Annette Edmondson
  • Women's Omnium* - Annette Edmondson
  • Women's Scratch Race - Melissa Hoskins
  • Men's Individual Pursuit - Jack Bobridge
Bronze
  • Women's Sprint* - Anna Meares
  • Women's 3000m individual pursuit - Ashlee Ankudinoff
  • Men's Madison - Leigh Howard and Cameron Meyer

Sunday, 8 April 2012

World Track Champs latest, from the Australian team


The Australian Cyclones claimed three gold and two silver medals tonight to move to the top of the medal table with one day of racing to go at the UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne.
Australia now has 12 medals made up of five gold, six silver and one bronze medal after 15 of 19 events ahead of Great Britain's riders who have eight medals, five gold, two silver and one bronze. Germany is next best with two gold and one bronze medal.
Anna Meares backed up from yesterday's disappointment of third place in the sprint to successfully defend her keirin crown bringing the capacity crowd to their feet as she launched a burst of speed in the final 200 metres to come from the back of the six rider field and claim the win.
The fans barely had time to draw breath before they were on their feet again cheering an all Australian individual pursuit final that saw Michael Hepburn overcome world record holder and 2011 champion Jack Bobridge to claim the rainbow jersey.
Capping off the night West Australian Cameron Meyer reclaimed the points race title with a successful last gasp attack in the dying minutes of the race.
Earlier world titles debutant Annette Edmondson collected her second silver medal of the week finishing three points off gold in the women's omnium.
Women's Keirin
Anna Meares, 28, looked in control of the keirin from the start as she worked her way through the first and second rounds to qualify through to the medal final. Once there she took advantage of her current blistering top end speed that saw her break the flying 200 metre world record on Friday. She sat back in the field watching and waiting until the bell lap when she pounced, flying around the outside of her rivals four deep to sail across the line ahead of Russian Evgenia Gnidenko and Germany's Kristin a Vogel.
The victory comes almost a decade after she claimed her first senior world championships medal, a silver in the keirin at the 2003 titles in Germany.
"To win this world title here, in front of my home crowd, is just fantastic," said Meares of claiming her ninth world title on the same velodrome where she claimed her first rainbow jersey in 2004 in the 500 metre time trial. "I was really just hoping for one (title) in front of my home crowd and perhaps that's a little bit greedy given how difficult it is to win one world title.
"But I really fought hard for that one and I'm so proud that I was able able to cross the line first."
The keirin is an unpredictable race that pits six sprinters against each other over eight laps with the riders, in the case of the women, brought up 45km/h by a motorised bike (derny) over the first 1375 metres before they are left to battle for the line in a helter-skelter two and a half lap final dash.
But whilst Meares appeared to have dominated she rejected suggestions it was an easy win for her admitting she struggled to come to terms with Friday's sprint defeat.
"My husband sat with me until late last night, just hugged me, made me feel better and made me realise it's just a bike race in the end," she explained. "I still felt disappointed when I woke up this morning, but I thought 'today is a new day, the keirin's a new chance, I know I've got good form, I know I've got good strength, I know I've got good speed, I've just got to back myself in'.
"I wasn't going to be happy with coming in here and feeling sorry for myself and not performing today.
"It doesn't make up for last night, it makes today special," she said. "I'm really proud of the way I was able to pick myself up."
She also managed to negotiate the slippery walk in bike cleats up the wooden track to clamber onto the fence to hug her husband, friends and first coach Ken "Reggie" Tucker who travelled from Rockhampton to Melbourne to cheer her on.
"Reg said he was as proud of me as if I was his own daughter and he has all boys so that meant a lot to me," said Meares.
Team mate Kaarle McCulloch won through the keirin first round but in the second was outmaneuvered and missed a berth in the medal final. In the ride off for seventh to 12th place she was third across the line to finish ninth overall.
Men's 4000 Metre Individual Pursuit
Australia's next gold came in a race the Cyclones couldn't lose as best mates, room mates and team mates, Michael 'Heppy' Hepburn and Jack Bobridge lined up in the gold medal ride to decide the 2012 individual pursuit world champion.
"I’m really lost for words at the moment," said Hepburn after his win. "This moment, I’ve pictured a thousand times in my head but you never really understand what it is like to win in front of a home crowd.
“It was a great battle with Jack, it was unfortunate that I had to line up against one of my best mates and my room-mate (but) that was the way it was and fortunately I got across the line.”
Earlier in the day Hepburn, 20, had topped the qualifying round with the third fastest time ever ridden of 4:13.399 to set him up for a shot at the title against world record and title holder, Jack Bobridge, 22, who clocked 4:14.783 in the same heat.
The camaraderie between the pair was evident for most of the day until minutes before the race when they headed to separate sides of the track to wait. Bobridge launched out of the gate with his customary charge trying to establish a buffer against Hepburn's renowned final kilometre fightback. At the first kilometre mark Bobridge was 1.2 seconds up on Hepburn and at each mark through to 3000 metres Bobridge maintained the margin. But once the riders hit the final four laps Hepburn ignited the after-burners and went after the gold. With every half lap the margin decreased until at two laps to go Hepburn edged his way into a tenth of a second lead.
Bobridge's tank was empty and Hepburn crossed the finish line to win in a time of 4:15.839, half a second ahead of Bobridge (4:16.313).
But Hepburn said he wasn't sure at the finish if he had done enough to win.
“I couldn't quite believe when I went across the line," he said. "About a kilometre to go, I honestly thought I was not going to make it as Jack was too far ahead. When I went to kick, I did not have as much as I wanted to, but in the end I did have enough."
If Bobridge was disappointed to relinquish the rainbow stripes he wasn't showing it rather he was brimming with pride over his friend's achievement.
"Seeing such a great mate taking it off my back you know, being with 'Heppy', he's like a brother to me so it’s as good as me winning it myself in front of a home crowd," Bobridge explained. "I left everything out there today but I got beaten by the better guy on the day. It was well deserved.
Their friendship didn't stop them from playing mental games leading into the event.
"The chitter chatter started before the qualifying and it continued right up until the final," laughed Bobridge about their 'trash talking' duel. "But unfortunately he gets the bragging rights for the next year, so I'll have to put up with him giving me stick for the next year.
“We go three-all now. We’re even with gold medals in senior titles, two team pursuits and one gold medal each so now it’s a drag race to see who can get the next one," said Bobridge.
Australia's third starter in the event, Rohan Dennis, had set the third best time in qualifying, clocking 4:16.051, to set up a bronze medal showdown with New Zealand's Westley Gough (4:17.001) and a chance of a clean-sweep of the podium for the home team. Gough started stronger and led at the quarter distance mark before Dennis hit his straps and the lead after eight laps. With one kilometre to go Dennis seemed on track to win but as Gough fought back Dennis' lost his grip on the bronze medal to finish 1.6 seconds after Gough for fourth place.
Men's Points Race
Australia's third win of the night had the entire stadium on their feet as the two time world champion Cameron Meyer fought to regain the title he relinquished last year.
It was Meyer against the rest of the world with his rivals marking his every move for almost the entire race. He managed to snaffle a few minor placings in six of the 16 sprints contested during the 40 kilometre, 160 lap event but Britain's Ben Swift, Belgian Kenny De Ketele and Spain's Unai Elorriaga Zubiaur sprinted their way to the top three placings and countered Meyer's repeated attempts to break clear in a bid to grab the 20 points on offer for lapping the field.
"Oh, I definitely gave myself a heart attack out there, it was one of the most nervous bike races I’ve ever done I knew it was going to go something like that before the start," he explained. "I knew I’d probably go in as one of the favourites and I’d get followed a lot and it was quite frustrating out there at times. But I never gave in.
"I had to do a lot of the work and whenever I went I’d always have a few followers with me, but I know in a points race the 'lacky' (elastic) band will always snap at some point and I just had to back myself that I had the strongest legs and that I could snap that 'lacky' band at the end."
As it turned out 'at the end' was a spot-on prediction with Meyer's eleventh hour attack launched with 20 laps to go. Kiwi cyclist Aaron Gate jumped aboard with a 'Mexican wave' of sound roaring around the track beside the pair as they worked together to gain the lap.
"He (Gate) helped me a lot out there and I used him just to recover enough and you could see that with five laps to go he’s just given me enough recovery to put in two big laps and put in that bridge to the peloton and take the lap," said Meyer.
"I snapped it (the elastic) right towards the end with a few laps to go," he said grinning. "I just like to make it good for the crowd.
But Meyer wasn't sure whether his dramatic lap gain was enough to give him the win.
"I didn’t know where I’d finished when I came over the line I had to wait until it came up on the board," he said of the wait to see his points total of 33 appear at the top of the leader board. " It’s a one point win, but one is enough.
"There’s just no way to describe the feelings that I have right now."
Meyer has contested six points races at world championship level and described tonight's as 'probably the most special'.
"I was never going to give in on my home turf. It’s one of the pinnacles of my bike career so far," said the 24 year old who along with Leigh Howard will tomorrow ride in defence of the Madison title they have won for the past two years. "I’m going to be just as motivated to win tomorrow, it’s the third one and I’m sure Leigh’s (Howard) very excited about that race and I’d love to win another race in front of the home crowd."
The silver medal went to Swift (32 points) while Belgium's De Ketele hung on for third place (28 points)
Women's Omnium
In the women's omnium Annette Edmondson was pipped for gold by Britain's Laura Trott.
20 year old Edmondson had started the day tied with Trott on eleven points after three of the six races that make up the medal event. Trott edged one point ahead after the pursuit round and finished one place ahead of Edmondson again in the scratch race. The pair went head to head in the 500 metre time trial decider where Trott again pipped Edmondson by one place to finish with a final points tally of 28, three better than the Australian. American Sarah Hammer was five points further back to claim the bronze medal.
"I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want those rainbows," said Edmondson after racing in only her second international class omnium event. "(But) to come away from my first World Championships with two silver medals (other was team pursuit) is really, really encouraging for me especially given it’s an Olympic year."
She also placed second in her World Cup omnium debut in London in February and hopes the next time she races in London will be for Olympic gold.
"That’s definitely the target. I’ve done a lot of PB’s (personal bests) today and yesterday in my timed events so I know that I’m on the right track," said Edmondson whose only slip came in the elimination race where she was four places lower than Trott. "I’ve got a bit of experience to gain in the bunch races. I made a bit of a mistake in the elimination but I think it’s all promising and with a bit more work I think a gold at the Olympics is realistic."
Men's Sprint
The final event of the night was the men's sprint which was won by Frenchman Gregory Bauge. He was the fastest qualifier here and began today's campaign for gold by defeating Australian team sprint gold medal winner Shane Perkins in their semi-final bout.
He beat Perkins in two straight heats while in the second semi final Britons Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny went head to head in what many suggested was an Olympic selection trial to determine who would nab the sprint start for TeamGB in London in August.
Kenny won the first heat from the front holding off Hoy's charge and in the second came around the Scotsman to pip him on the line.
That put Perkins, 25, in a bronze medal match up with 36 year old Hoy whose experience and pace proved too much for the hometown favourite who went down in two straight heats to finish the sprint in fourth place.
In the gold medal showdown Bauge took the first heat and the early lead before Kenny fought back in the second to level the score. However officials reviewed the race and ruled Kenny had breached the rules by riding out of the sprint lane in the final 200 metres. They relegated him to second which gave Bauge the heat and the gold medal.
It's the third sprint crown for the French sprinter who also won in 2009 and 2010. He had also been crowned champion last year but was later stripped of the individual sprint and the team sprint crown he won with France due to a backdated suspension for failure to comply with whereabouts rules for doping controls and for missing a test.
Coming up
Four gold medals are up for grabs on Sunday's final day of racing. Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch will contest the 500 metre time trial with Meares hoping to reclaim the crown she first wore in 2004 which was also the year she won Olympic gold in the same event. Ashlee Ankudinoff and Amy Cure will contest the women's 3000m individual pursuit. Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard are hoping to add a third straight Madison title to their collection and sprinters Shane Perkins, Matthew Glaetzer and Scott Sunderland will line up in the men's keirin.

2012 UCI Track World Championships - Cyclones Australian team list and medal summary

Gold
  • Men's Team Sprint* - Shane Perkins, Scott Sunderland, Matthew Glaetzer
  • Men's Omnium* - Glenn O'Shea
  • Women's Keirin* - Anna Meares
  • Men's Individual Pursuit - Michael Hepburn
  • Men's Points Race - Cameron Meyer
Silver
  • Women's Team Sprint* - Anna Meares, Kaarle McCulloch
  • Men's Team Pursuit* - Jack Bobridge, Michael Hepburn, Glenn O'Shea, Rohan Dennis
  • Women's Team Pursuit* - Josephine Tomic, Melissa Hoskins, Annette Edmondson
  • Women's Omnium* - Annette Edmondson
  • Women's Scratch Race - Melissa Hoskins
  • Men's Individual Pursuit - Jack Bobridge
Bronze
  • Women's Sprint* - Anna Meares

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Track Worlds update from the Australian team


Australian cyclists Glenn O'Shea, Melissa Hoskins and Anna Meares have given the Cyclones a gold, silver and bronze medal respectively on the third day of racing at the UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne.
The results moved the Australians to second on the medal table and to the top of the medal tally. The Cyclones have two gold, four silver and one bronze for a total of seven medals while Great Britain is on top of the table with a total of four gold medals.
O'Shea's win came in the six race omnium event raced over two days but which in the end came right down to the wire with the Australian tied on points with Canadian Zac Bell as the pair lined up for the final kilometre time trial round to decide the winner.
O'Shea burst from the gate to take the early lead on the first of four laps which caused the full house to erupt in support. That spurred him on and at each time check he held the advantage. Across the line his was the second fastest time of the round but more importantly it was six places better than Bell.
"It’s unbelievable," said O'Shea. "In front of a home crowd, in the kilo…you never know how you’re going, but the crowd pulled me on."
O'Shea's gold medal points total at the end was 22 with Bell hanging on for silver on 28 points just one ahead of Denmark's Lasse Hansen who claimed the bronze medal on 29 points.
O'Shea had started his omnium campaign with a third place in the flying lap before placing fifth in the points race and second in the elimination race on Thursday. That gave him a handy lead and a six point buffer over Bell at the midway point of the competition. On Friday morning he lined up in the 4000 metre individual pursuit but didn't do quite as well as he'd hoped.
"I was a bit shattered this morning," said the 22 year old who rode in the pursuit team that claimed silver on day one. "Two sub four minute team pursuits took it out on me and I was really disappointed with my (omnium) pursuit, it’s the slowest one I’ve ever done."
His solo effort was the sixth best time of the round and he then regrouped for a fourth place in the scratch race.
" I just had to pick myself up," he said of the hiccup in what is only his second time racing the omnium at an international level. "I think I was annoying everyone in the pits by how amped up I was before the kilo.
"Just to be here is amazing," said the South Australian who is competing at his first senior world titles and in his first full year back on the bike after two years racked by illness including chicken pox that forced him to withdraw from the 2009 world titles and glandular fever that saw him quit riding for more than a year.
He was crowned Australian omnium champion in mid December last year and in January won the individual pursuit, omnium and Madison gold medals at the Beijing World Cup round.
"Eighteen months ago I set myself a goal, to go to the Olympics and I’ve been ticking off the boxes ever since," said O'Shea. "This is a massive one ticked. I can hopefully go to London and do the same thing. But I'll leave that up to the coaches and selectors to decide."
Earlier in the night West Australian Melissa Hoskins added another silver to her week's tally when she sprinted home in second place in the 10 kilometre women's scratch race.
“I thought I was out of it with about a lap to go, there was almost a fall on the front straight (and) it’s not very often I get scared in a bunch but that one threw me off a bit," she explained after the race. "I had to come about four wide in the back straight but I tell you what the crowd is nice and loud tonight."
The race was hectic from the start with Hoskins lucky to survive the first lap.
“About half a lap after the gun I got put into the fence on the back straight," she said. "I thought ‘oh come on it’s not going well I almost got put out on the first lap' but it was a very quick race and credit to all the girls. I think woman’s cycling has come along way.”
Hoskins who rode with the pursuit team to a silver medal on Thursday went into the race as one of the favourites after a solo attack in the same event at the London World Cup netted her the win. But tonight she was well marked.
“I drifted a bit far back and with about three laps to go a move went and I thought ‘oh I’m in a bit of trouble here’, and it got a bit messy which actually suits me so I was like 'this is good there’s people everywhere'.
"You just have to dodge and pick and choose where you go.”
Australia's third medal of the night came in the women's sprint where the much anticipated showdown between defending world champion Anna Meares and reigning Olympic champion, Victoria Pendleton came in the semi-final and was fast, fierce and hard fought.
In the first of the best of three heats Pendleton had the inside running to the line but as Meares drew level the Brit moved up out of her lane, hit the unyielding Meares and crashed to the track. Round one to Meares and to add insult to injury Pendleton as also issued with a warning by officials.
"I was right next to her when she hit the deck, I saw it, I heard it, I felt it. But I think that just goes to show Australia and the world what kind of champion she is," said Meares of her rival. "She picked herself up and dusted herself off and did not let it faze her. She's a great champion for that."
In the second heat Meares led out the sprint and seemed to have Pendleton pegged but the Australian couldn't control her speed on the bend into to the home straight and veered out of the sprint lane. She crossed the line first but officials gave the win to Pendleton and a warning to Meares.
"It was very disappointing to feel that I had progressed to the final - and then to lose so agonisingly," admitted Meares. The decision set up an dramatic third heat decider which this time saw Meares launch the sprint only to have Pendleton mow her down to claim the win in a photo finish on the line.
Pendleton progressed to the gold medal final against Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaite and won the first heat. In the second Krupeckaite crossed the line first but officials rued she had veered out of the sprinters lane and reversed the placings to give Pendleton the win and her sixth sprint world title.
Meares meantime defeated up and comer Lyubov Shulika of the Ukraine in two straight heats to secure the bronze medal.
"I want to win, I'm a competitor and I want to be perfect but this is an event in which perfection is so hard to come by," said Meares who was in tears as she acknowledged the support of family, friends and the home crowd in the Arena to cheer her on. "We've seen that tonight, an Olympic year, the qualifications are close and the races are hard-fought, there's crashes and relegations. People are starting to really fight hard because of how important it is."
But Meares, who had launched the defence of her sprint crown with a sizzling world record time of 10.782 for the flying 200 metre qualifying, also warned that the story isn't finished yet.
"I think this is a book which hasn't finished being written yet. The big dance is in London in a few months time."
While Meares was bumped out of a final by officials her team mate Shane Perkins was promoted back into the sprint rounds after his French rival Mickael Bourgain was relegated in their quarter final bout. In Saturday's semi-final he'll meet another Frenchman, Gregory Bauge, who won in 2009 and 2010. He won last year but was later stripped of the individual sprint and the team sprint crown her won with France due to a backdated suspension for failure to comply with whereabouts rules for doping controls and for missing a test.
Bauge was the fastest qualifier with a flying 200m time of 9.854 seconds while the Victorian, who already has a gold medal around his neck from his victory with Scott Sunderland and Matthew Glaetzer in the team sprint, qualified eight fastest in 9.965.
The fastest of the Australians today in qualifying was 19-year-old Glaetzer who powered to an Australian record time of 9.902. That eclipsed the mark set by West Australian Darryn Hill 17 years ago at altitude on the Bogota track during the 1995 world titles in Colombia.
Glaetzer, the 2010 junior sprint and keirin world champion, defeated his first round opponent but then faced Perkins in the second round and was outpaced by his more experienced team mate. He was then relegated for a rule violation in the second chance repechage ending his sprint campaign. Sunderland meantime qualified 13th best and won through to a second round ride against top seed Bauge who won the match up.
Day three also saw the women's omnium get underway and South Australian Annette Edmondson got off to a perfect start with the top time in the flying lap round. She then placed fifth in both the points and elimination races to be on 11 points at the halfway point of the competition. Also on 11 points is Great Britain's Laura Trott with the pair ten points clear of the next best ranked riders.
Saturday's racing will see the women's omnium and men's sprint decided as well as three other finals. 2011 keirin world champion Anna Meares will line up to defend her crown with team mate Kaarle McCulloch also on the start list. Four thousand metre world record holder and defending champion, Jack Bobridge, will join reigning Australian champion Michael Hepburn and Rohan Dennis in the men's individual pursuit and Cameron Meyer will take to the track in a bid to reclaim the points race crown.