Australia off to a strong start at the Track Cycling World Championships
15 April 2017
CYCLING - TRACK: It's been a strong start to the Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong.
Steph Morton claimed sprint silver, Matt Glaetzer finished just off the podium in the men's kierin while Jordan Kerby (individual pursuit) and Cameron Meyer (points race) both won world titles in their non- Olympic events.
Morton wins Sprint silver
Less than twenty-fours hours after claiming silver in the team sprint, South Australia’s Stephanie Morton (SA) launched herself into the women’s sprint final four with a powerful and controlled demonstration on Thursday.
The unassuming South Australian topped the women’s sprint qualifying for the second straight world championships which a scorching personal best time of 10.724secs for the flying 200m.
Morton was simply superb as she motored through the rounds of 1/16 and 1/8, before stunning four-time track world champion Anastasia Voynova in two authoritative quarterfinals rides.
The twenty-six-year-old has finished inside the top eight in all four of her world championship sprint campaigns to date and is poised to better her career best fourth place secured in 2015. She will face five-time sprint world championships medallist Simona Krupeckaite (UKR) in the semi finals on Friday.
Morton’s team sprint partner Kaarle McCulloch (NSW) produced her strongest sprint campaign in years, posting the seventh fastest (10.962) qualifying time, her career-best world championship qualifying ride.
Sydney’s McCulloch, 29, progressed to the quarterfinals with two barnstorming wins, before meeting the might of Olympic medallist and hometown favourite Wai Sze Lee who was just too good for McCulloch on the day.
Debutant Holly Takos (SA) impressed on debut with the thirteenth fastest qualifying time, with her campaign coming to an end in the round 1/16 after being edged on the line by Korea’s Lee Hyejin.
Takos, the reigning Oceania keirin champion, and reigning national champion McCulloch will be back on the track on Sunday in the keirin.
Glaetzer just off the Keirin podium
Matthew Glaetzer finished just off the podium in fourth in the men’s keirin final which was won in blazing fashion by Malaysian track cyclist Mohd Azizulhasni Awang.
Glaetzer was clinical in the earlier rounds with two solid wins placing him as the rider to watch in the final.
However the keirin lottery numbers did not come up for Glaetzer in 2017, with the Australian-based Azizulhasni taking his maiden world title ahead of Colombian Fabian Hernando Puerto Zapata and Tomas Babek of Czech Republic.
Kerby wins Individual Pursuit title
On a magical Friday night for Australia, it was Queensland’s Jordan Kerby who stole the spotlight with an astonishing performance while on his world championships debut.
Kerby rocketed to his maiden world title in the individual pursuit just hours after notching the third-fastest time in history in the afternoon’s qualifying ride.
"I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd wear a senior rainbow jersey,” said the reserved Kerby post race after becoming the seventh Australian to claim a world title in the discipline.
“I'll have a good kit to roll to the brew shop in now,” he added jokingly.
The win continues the return of Kerby to the boards after the dual 2010 junior world champion Kerby, after focusing on the road in recent years where he claimed under 23 national titles in both the time trial and road race.
Kerby booked his ticket to Hong Kong’s worlds after winning the national title on his home town track in Brisbane in March.
"If you spoke to me three or four months ago, I wouldn't even think to be here in the first place,” said Kerby, who revealed his track fire began burning late in 2016 at a time his road career was at the crossroads.
"I was sitting in an apartment in Girona watching the Rio Games) and at the same time I was made aware I was going to lose my contract with Drapac and I was watching and thinking 'it would be great to go back and just have a go'.
“See in this sport you can go through some terrible lows and something like this happens it just erases everything, it's amazing, I can't explain how good it feels.
"Getting here was a bonus and winning is just surreal.”
Earlier in the day, Kerby scorched to the third fastest time ever recorded in the afternoon qualifying, with a blistering 4mins 12.172secs just outside of Jack Bobridge’s legendary 2011 world record.
In a drama-filled finale, Kerby’s battle with reigning world champion Filippo Ganna (ITA) was stopped by commissaires after four laps due to a timing malfunction.
Kerby however was not distracted by the commotion, and in the restarted final, he powered to his maiden world title (4:17.068) by more than four seconds.
"If I'm going to do something I'm going to do it properly,” said Kerby of his performance. “4:12 I never thought I'd do that, we came to Hong Kong a week before and I was doing similar efforts to home and they were all two and three seconds quicker.
"I can't say the same for the final, not even sure what happened there but they re-started us and Filippo and I both did a kilometre full gas and the gun went off twice, so a bit of a shock to the system.
"It definitely wasn't the most fun pursuit I've ever done ... I was just trying to hold on."
18-year-old debutant Kelland O’Brien – who last night formed part of Australia’s team pursuit winning outfit - won the bronze medal, his first individual world championship medal.
Earlier in the day, O’Brien surprised himself with a stellar eight-second personal best time of 4mins 15.794secs before taking the bronze medal (4:16.909) by over two seconds.
Meyer claims points world title
A plan executed to near perfection saw Perth’s Cameron Meyer claim his fourth points world title and eighth career rainbow jersey at the Hong Kong Velodrome on Friday night.
The win returned the master tactician to the top step of a world championship podium for the first time in five years, and for the second time in twenty-four hours.
On Thursday, Meyer teamed with Welsford, Porter, O’Brien, Yallouris and Wight to clinch a second career team pursuit crown.
"It's been a pretty full on 48 hours and I loved it,” said Meyer, 29. “I'm back to what I love doing and to win two rainbow jerseys in my first proper season back on the track I'm over the moon.”
A calculated first half of the 160lap race saw Meyer figuring in four of the first eight sprints – including two solid wins - to lead on 18 points after the halfway mark of the 160 lap race.
With the pace lifting and the field splintering, Meyer sensed the opportunity and with Kenny De Ketele and Niklas Larsen, took a lap and twenty points bonus which lifted Meyer into the lead by five points.
Ten points in quick succession across the next few sprints saw him extend the margin to 11 points inside the final 50 laps.
In a classic Meyer move, he put the screws into the bunch with a solo attack and with no one able to match his pace, he took a lap and with it another twenty points to catapult into a commanding lead of more than thirty points.
A further three points in the penultimate sprint sealed the victory before the all important final sprint which offered double points, allowing him to savour his fourth world crown over the final lap.
"They're never easy, 2012 was the last one and I only won that by one point,” remarked Meyer who finished on 76 points, 36 ahead of De Ketele and Poland’s Wojciech Pszczolarski who tied on 40.
"I knew I'd go out there as probably one of the favourites and it was about keeping calm, I've been in this situation before and it was just trying to be confident that I knew in the last half of the race I could be the strongest bike rider.
"And tonight I was, so I'm really happy.
"It planned out the way I said, I had a good chat with Tim (Decker), we discussed the way the track was and I thought the first breakaway that would take a lap would be a group, and then the last one would be solo.
"I thought it would be the same as Commonwealth Games in 2010 and it was exactly the same - a group in the first bit and who had the strongest legs to take a solo lap.”
Meyer will enjoy a rest on Saturday before looking to add a third career Madison crown when he teams with Callum Scoton on Sunday afternoon.
"I am looking forward to a rest day tomorrow then hopefully I've got one last big one with Callum on Sunday.”