Aussies add two more medals at track worlds
16 April 2017
TRACK CYCLING: Australia have won two more medals at the Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong.
Amy Cure and Alex Manly won bronze in the women's Madison despite crashing twice and Ashlee Ankudinoff won Individual Pursuit silver.
Matt Glaetzer was unlucky to bow out in the quarter-finals of the men's sprint while Sam Welsford finished sixth in the men's Omnium.
In a true display of Aussie grit and determination, Amy Cure and Alex Manly staged an epic fight in the women’s Madison to win bronze after the team crashed heavily twice during the 120-lap race.
It was a memorable first ever women’s Madison event, with the 16 nations treating the fans to an energised display of racing and cementing the event’s rainbow jersey status.
Cure and Manly entered the Championships as one of the favourites after teaming to win gold at the recent World Cup in Los Angeles in February. The pair also enjoyed success in the event during the Australian season with Cure taking the 2017 Oceania crown (with Annette Edmondson), while Manly won the national title (with Dani McKinnirey).
Saturday’s inaugural final featured a litany of attacks, and with it some crashes, as the field tussled for positioning the changeovers. Three teams - Belgium, Great Britain and Australia – emerged as leading the contenders across the first half.
However, Australia’s two crashes put them out of contention for the top step of the podium, with Belgium pulling away from Great Britain in the final stages of the race to win a memorable rainbow jersey.
“It was a really tough race, we were unlucky to have two crashes, but we fought pretty hard to bring it back, and never gave up,” said Cure, who revealed she thought their medal chances were gone after the second incident.
“After the second crash, I did think for a minute that we would be out of the medals.
“But we just kept at it, and we were still in it with a couple of sprints remaining, and I was happy we were able to hold on for that medal.
“Couldn’t be happier to finish on the podium.”
Debutant Manly has shone while on debut in Hong Kong, with the twenty-one-year-old adding the bronze to the team pursuit silver won on Thursday.
“I think I went into shock after the race,” said Manly, who required medical attention after her two crashes, and a new Santini skin suit for the medal ceremony with her race suit sporting a number of tears after hitting the track.
“At first I was disappointed with the bronze, but now it has sunk in, I am really happy and proud of our effort.
“Amy was so strong out there and we were able to hold for the bronze medal.
“To be able to be on the podium at the first ever women’s Madison is really special, so to make it with Amy, it is really nice.”
For Cure, it was her third podium appearance of the week after winning omnium bronze and team pursuit silver.
The Tasmanian’s busy schedule offers a chance for fourth podium appearance and twelfth career world championship medal, when she lines up in Sunday’s points race – an event she won in 2015.
“I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I will give it another crack,” said Cure
Women's Indvidual Pursuit
Two days after grabbing an emotional silver in the team event, Sydney’s Ashlee Ankudinoff soled to the individual pursuit silver medal and her sixth career world championships medal.
It was a welcomed return to the individual race against the clock for Ankudinoff, 26, and to the podium after claiming bronze five years ago at the 2012 Melbourne Worlds.
“It was nice to have something else to concentrate on other than the team pursuit as all the focus was on that leading up to Rio (Olympic Games),” said Ankudinoff. “It was great to be given the opportunity to race the individual pursuit here and I am stoked to finish with silver.”
The USA’s Chloe Dygert (3:24.641) was just too good for the field and for Ankudinoff (3:31.784) as powered to the gold medal by seven seconds.
“I can’t complain, I came here with high expectations obviously chasing those rainbows, and just missing out on the rainbows in the team pursuit gave me a bit of fire in the belly to come out here on IP day,” said Ankudinoff, who shared the team pursuit podium Amy Cure, Alex Manly and Rebecca Wiasak on Thursday evening.
“I had my work set out for me against Chloe, but I stuck to my game plan in qualifying and did a 29 (3minutes 29.554secs).
“Then, in the final I had nothing to lose, I was up against it, but I just gave it my all and that’s all I can ask for.”
Earlier in the day, Ankudinoff powered to the second fastest qualifying time (3:29.554) to set up a clash with event favourite Chloe Dygert (USA). Dygert – who broke Australian hearts in the team pursuit after powerful effort at the front to guide USA claim the unlikeliest of final lap victories – sizzled in a near-world record qualifying time of (3:22.920).
“It is really promising looking forward to the next four years.”
Dual reigning world champion Rebecca Wiasak (ACT) clocked the third fastest time in the afternoon’s qualifying (3:30.938) before being narrowly edged off out of the medals in fourth (3:31.173) behind USA’s Kelly Catlin (3:30.365) who took bronze.
2016 silver medallist Matthew Glaetzer was on target for his second career men’s sprint podium appearance before unceremoniously exiting the competition after being relegated by event officials following his quarterfinals match up.
To most inside the Hong Kong Velodrome, it appeared Glaetzer had moved through to his third semi final in four years after edging New Zealand’s Ethan Mitchell with a strong ride in the third and deciding heat.
However in a decision that not just puzzled Glaetzer and Australian team management, the result was overturned after officials deemed the Australian to have made ‘an irregular movement which prevented Mitchell from passing’ inside the final lap of their contest. The ruling meant Mitchel moved through to the semi final.
Earlier in the competition, the powerful South Australian who finished fourth at the Rio 2016 Games, began his assault on the title with the fifth fastest qualifying time on Friday (9.815).
He then cruised into Saturday’s quarter-finals with two strong rides over Colombia’s Santiago Ramirez Morales and Russia’s Pavel Yakushevskiy.
The premature end to Glaetzer’s 2017 campaign left the dual Olympian with three top six placings after he narrowly missed Thursday’s keirin podium (fourth) and grabbed sixth on the opening day in the team sprint.
Also for Australia in the sprint, reigning national champion Patrick Constable, 21, clocked 9.975secs to move through qualifying, before defeating Fabian Zapata (COL).
However the might of four-time world championship sprint medallist Denis Dmitriev was too much for rising star Constable as his campaign ended to the Russian in the round 1/8.
Perth’s Sam Welsford finished sixth overall in the men’s omnium, with a strong fight back in the second two events.
In the four event final, Welsford – who claimed World Cup gold in Colombia in February – was on the back foot early after finishing tenth in the opening scratch race, before pegging back the lead slightly with a ninth in the temp race.
Welsford then rocketed to a medal chance when he claimed a strong win in the elimination race.
Trailing Spain's Albert Torres going into the final points race, constant attacks from New Zealand's Aaron Gates – who took two laps on the field – Benjamin Thomas was too much for the field. In a thrilling end, Thomas finished one spot ahead of Gates in the final sprint to take the title.