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Cyclones win eight medals at Worlds

25 February 2013

CYCLING: The Cyclones have finished with eight medals to be ranked third on the medal table at the end of the UCI Track World Championships in Minsk, Belarus.

Australia claimed two gold, two silver and four bronze medals while Great Britain, with nine medals (five gold, two silver and two bronze medals) topped the table. A resurgent Germany ranked second with eight medals (three gold, three silver and two bronze) after 19 events.

On the final day of racing Annette Edmondson added a third medal to her personal tally when she grabbed the bronze medal in the omnium. The event is made up of six races with points awarded according to the results of each round with the aim being to finish with the lowest tally of points.

The 21 year old South Australian started the day in fourth place after opening her campaign yesterday with a win in the flying lap. But in the points race she faltered to place eighth and unluckily crashed in the elimination race, adding costly points to her total.

"To be honest my legs weren't that great before the crash (in the elimination race) so it may have rattled me a little bit but I wasn't feeling that great which is why my tactics changed," explained Edmondson who collected six points in the elimination.

"I was trying to stay on the wheel and keep out of the wind as much as possible and go for the sprints instead of sitting on the front as I normally do. But that's just racing and when that happens you just have to try and pull yourself together, keep calm and get back in the race."

Today she was fourth best in the individual pursuit round and fifth in the scratch race to find herself ranked fourth going into the 500 metre time trial finale. Edmondson clocked the second best time over the two laps to finish with 26 points. American Sarah Hammer, who on day three won the individual pursuit, was the clear winner of the omnium on 20 points while Olympic Champion, Laura Trott, slotted into the silver medal position with 24 points.

Edmondson's omnium result comes at the end of an intensive racing campaign that saw her claim the silver medal in the teams pursuit and bronze in the individual pursuit.

"I'm quite happy to get a medal in all those events but I was hoping to go for the gold in at least one, if not all, so it's a bit hard to keep getting so close and just miss out," said Edmondson who was the omnium silver medallist at last year's world titles and bronze medallist at the Olympic Games in London.

"I guess I slipped up last night so I had to pull myself together and have a strong performance today if I wanted to get on the podium so I'm quite happy with the way I backed up.

"Maybe it did have a toll in the end on the omnium but I don't regret it as I wanted to see how I would go and next year I want to put a bit more preparation into it as well," said Edmondson of the decision for her to also contest the indvidual pursuit.

She will now turn her focus to the road in her first season with the Orica-AIS team.

"I've had a lot of support from everyone here and I wouldn't have had the results I had this week without the support of Bureau Veritas who've supported me from the beginning and from my family," said Edmondson. "Now it's onto the road and being away from home for seven months which I haven't done before. I'm looking forward to giving it a crack."

In other racing on the final day Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton suffered mixed fortunes in the women's keirin competition.

In the qualifying round McCulloch crossed the line in third place but was promoted to the second round after Cuban Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez was relegated for not holding her line. In Morton's heat China's Shuang Guo clipped the Australian's front wheel causing Morton and Germany's Kristina Vogel to crash. Guo, already carrying a warning from the sprint rounds, was disqualified and Vogel forced to withdraw with an injured hip.

Morton was also injured but, with her wrist heavy strapped, rode the repechage to secure a start in the second round. However after the competition break she decided to withdraw from the event.

McCulloch meantime couldn't find the pace needed in her second round heat and missed out on a berth in the final. The gold medal was won by Welsh rider Rebecca James who also won the sprint. Keirin silver went to Jinjie Gong of China with Cuban Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez third.

Team pursuit gold medallists Glenn O'Shea and Alexander Edmondson joined forces for Australia in the Madison but failed to make an impression in a hotly contested contest. The medals were shared amongst the three teams that gained a lap during the 50 kilometre, 200 lap event. French pair Vivien Brisse and Morgan Kneisky scored 18 points to win ahead of Spanish duo David Muntaner Juaneda and Albert Torres Barcelo on 15 points. Germany's Hennning Bommel and Theo Reinhardt collected 13 points and the bronze medal.

Cycling Australia National Performance Director, Kevin Tabotta, says the first world championships after the Olympic Games featured some promising performances.

"We're rebuilding for the future, looking towards 2016 in Rio so it's important to come in here and indicate where you think you can be competitive heading forward but not setting any really lofty expectations," said Tabotta.

"We're reasonably pleased and more or less meeting expectations."

Tabotta says there were several highlights during the five days of racing most notably Australia's victory in the men's team pursuit.

"Hard to go past winning the world championship in an Olympic event particularly because it was (coach) Ian McKenzie's seventh world title and he'll be stepping away from being involved with that event directly," said Tabotta.

"The other event I thought was great was the men's omnium and the way those three riders battled it out. Glenn (O'Shea) finished off with a bronze medal but it was so tight and it as like three prize fighters all the way through.The best man won (Aaron Gate), no question about that, and it was really pleasing for New Zealand to get that gold medal but we'll be back."

Tabotta was also pleased with the way some of the younger team members stepped up in Minsk.

"Perhaps one of the most encouraging results here has been Matthew Glaetzer's performance in the men's sprint," said Tabotta of the 20 year old former junior world champion who made it to the quarter finals. "He's tracking really well, it's fifth place, not a medal but considering how long he's been in the game, he's really tracking well towards 2016."

2012 junior team pursuit world champion Alexander Morgan, 18, contested his first senior world titles and collected gold as a member of the team pursuit quartet.

"Not just that but in a cracking time," said Tabotta. "Bringing Michael Hepburn and Glenn O'Shea from the Olympic team into that group with the two Alex's (Morgan and Edmondson) and having a reserve like Luke Davison shows some great depth and we've also got a couple of guys back in Australia who didn't make the cut so I'm reasonably encouraged there."

Amy Cure and Ashlee Ankudinoff stepped into the women's pursuit team after the retirement of Olympian Josie Tomic and, along with Melissa Hoskins and Annette Edmondson, claimed silver. This week was the last time the event will be raced with three riders over three kilometres. It will now match the men's format with four woman teams racing over four kilometres.

"I think we're one of the nations better placed for that to occur, as well as obviously Great Britain," said Tabotta. "We've got four girls here so that's a start and we've got a couple of good girls back in Australia and a couple of young juniors coming through so I'm reasonably encouraged about what we're going to have available to us in 2016.

"It's going to be hot competition for those girls to make the team and that's exactly what we want."

Missing in Minsk were two stalwarts of the Australian team Anna Meares and Shane Perkins.

Two time Olympic Champion and multiple world champion, Meares, has only just returned to training after her post London break while Perkins is recovering from shoulder surgery. Tabotta says he looks forward to both of them getting back to full fitness ahead of next year's World Championships in Colombia and Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Meares has already made it clear she prefers to be at the track, tweeting from Adelaide to team mate Matthew Glaetzer - 'it's nerve wracking stuff this watching on the couch. Not a fan :)'

"They are professional track cyclists and they'll be looking at Commonwealth Games as a real stepping stone towards the Olympics," said Tabotta. "Anna's taking a well earned rest but she's as motivated as ever and Shane is not far away from getting back into full training again so we should see him at his best come the end of this year and in the qualification process to the Commonwealth Games.

"Add those two experienced campaigners back into the mix and we start to look pretty solid again."

Tabotta says the post Olympic Games review has been completed and planning for Glasgow and Rio is already well underway.

"It's a normal process, any team that's of any value is going to sit down and look at it's system and make sure the right people are in the right places, coaches, athletes and support staff, and (look at) what we do logistically and our facilities and so forth," said Tabotta.

Some coaching changes have already been communicated and the focus is now on the the qualification process for world titles and Olympic Games.

"Those things are becoming clearer by the day but they're not crystal yet for us as the UCI is still working on those," said Tabotta. "That will define how we approach the future."

Cycling Australia

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