Paris pursuit perfection
20 February 2015
CYCLING: It was a display of pure pursuiting brilliance by Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW), Amy Cure (TAS), Annette Edmondson (SA) and Melissa Hoskins (WA) as they soared to Australia‘s first world title of the 2015 UCI Track Cycling Championships.
The quartet mesmerised the packed Paris National Velodrome as they blitzed four-time defending champion Great Britain in a world record time of 4:13.683seconds to clinch Australia’s second world title in the history of the event.
Earlier in the evening, Australia’s ‘Queen of the Track’ Anna Meares (SA) notched up a quarter century of World Championship medals with silver in the women’s time trial, while the men’s team pursuit outfit of Alex Edmondson (SA), Luke Davison (SA), Jack Bobridge (SA) and Miles Scotson (SA) fired to win bronze.
WOMEN'S TEAM PURSUIT
Australia’s Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW), Amy Cure (TAS), Annette Edmondson (SA) and Melissa Hoskins (WA) powered to a historic team pursuit victory in Paris on Thursday.
Fastest qualifiers in a national record time (4:18.135) on the opening day of competition on Wednesday, the quartet lowered that mark again with 4mins 17.410secs in Thursday afternoon’s first round defeat of New Zealand.
In the Ashes on the Track women’s final, Great Britain took an early advantage after the first two laps, before Australia settled in to the fast Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome.
The quartet built a lead of just over a second at the halfway mark, before extending their advantage to almost two seconds heading into the final kilometre.
With the rainbow jersey coming into sight with every lap travelled, the team kicked into a higher gear in the final few hundred metres, roaring home to end the four-year British reign on the event and stamping their own mark with a world record time of 4:13.683secs, three seconds head of their opponents.
“It's still a bit surreal. I just can't believe it,” said Cure, 22. “We've been training so well together as a group.
“I think this last year we've really been focusing on ourselves more and I think that really showed today. We all went out there, backed ourselves and each other.
“Sutto (Gary Sutton) really knew us out there. We did exactly what we planned to do, stuck by the schedule and came home with the goods.”
For Cure, the win solidified the defending points race world champion’s decision not to defend her jersey on Wednesday night due to it lying in the middle of the team pursuit schedule.
“It's a pretty emotional feeling and definitely makes up for it. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make. It's such a high when things all pan out its awesome."
After winning the title in 2010, Australia’s women claimed two silver and two bronze at the past three World Championships.
Sydney’s Ashlee Ankudinoff, the lone remaining member of the 2010 world champion team – won with Josephine Tomic and Sarah Kent when the event was a three-rider, three kilometre event - was ecstatic to reclaim the crown.
“I'm a bit speechless. I definitely forgot what it was like to win a world championship,” said Ankudinoff, 24. “To do it here today with three of my best mates is a really special moment.
“We've had a few kicks in the guts along the way with always being bridesmaids to Great Britain.
“We've put in the hard work together and not just win the gold medal but to do it in world record style is pretty cool."
For Hoskins and Edmondson, both members of the teams which finished on the lower steps of the podium at the past three World Championships, the win was reward for years of determination and hard work.
“Unbelievable,” said Edmondson, 22,. “We've worked so hard for this. I've just spent every night of the last year dreaming about this so to actually go across the line and do it is speechless.
“I don't want to ever take this jersey off. To stand up on the podium alongside these three amazing women and to have Bec Wiasak watching us and by our side the entire time, to know she could slot in and do exactly the same thing, and to know we've got Bella King, we've got a whole handful of girls back home who have really stepped up is really promising signs for Australia in the lead in to Rio.”
Hoskins echoed Edmondson’s sentiments.
“I've never seen us ride three rounds like that before, it is absolutely special,” added Hoskins, 23. “Seeing Sutto up on the line and getting excited, you know you're up on a good one when he gets excited.
“I remember when Ash, Jose, Sarah won it in 2010, I was at home watching and I was just coming in and I had been training with them and I thought next year that's going to be me I want to be on the top step. It's been a long five years since then.”
WOMEN'S 500M TIME TRIAL
In the women's 500m time trial final, Anna Meares (SA) claimed her twenty-fifth career World Championship medal after winning silver.
It was Meares’ ninth time trial medal, adding a fifth silver to her four world championship crowns in the event
Reigning world record holder Meares was the fifth last rider of 21 to head out on the track with the 2004 Olympic champion posting a stunning time of 33.425seconds.
It appeared that Meares would clinch her eleventh world title until the final rider, Anastasia Voyonvoa (RUS) eclipsed her I the final ride of the day (33.149).
“It's certainly up there with some of my best times, there would only be two or three runs faster in my career in my Olympic year in 2012 and at altitude in Mexico,” said Meares, who owns the world record of 32.836secs. “I'm really pleased with how consistent I am and the gains are coming even if they are minimal.”
Meares still has two events on her schedule, the sprint and keirin, but again was not thinking about the elusive eleventh, and record setting, world title.
“If it happens it happens, if not I've won 10 world titles and they can never be taken from me, I'm not in to add to the tally board, I'm in it to win races and yes it will go to the tally but I'm not thinking about that.”
MEN'S TEAM PURSUIT
In the men's team pursuit, Alex Edmondson (SA), Luke Davison (SA), Jack Bobridge (SA) and Miles Scotson (SA) fired to win the bronze medal.
The two-time defending champion Australian team qualified fifth fastest on Wednesday (3:58.900) in a restarted heat following a ‘freak mechanical’ mishap shortly after commencing their qualifying ride.
In Thursday’s first round, the team with Scotson in for Mulhern, bounced back to post the fastest time of the fifth to eighth ranked teams (3:55.314) to pit them against fourth fastest Germany in the evening’s bronze medal battle.
Despite a false start in the final, the team regrouped to bolt from the gate and lead at every time check, before overtaking their German counterparts inside the final few laps to clinch the medal.
“After yesterday, the mishap and qualifying fifth, at the end of the day this is all we could do, come out today was to regroup and come out today with a fresh,” said Bobridge, 25, the 2010 and 2011 world champion in the event.
“We raced the semi like it was a gold medal ride to see what we could do. We put it all out there and came back this afternoon and repeated that. If we look at the top three/four teams it's all within half a second or less. After yesterday we still showed we're one of the best teams in the world.
“To come out here and ride times as good as the guys who won shows we're in the mix,’ added Bobridge.
Despite not defending the title, two-time reigning champion Edmondson was pleased with the team’s
“You come here with high expectations and to bit hit how we were at the start of the first day, it really rattled us.” said Edmondson, 21. “It was a good learning curve, we got thrown something we’re not used too and had to come back.
“We went to bed last night with our heads down a little bit. But today was a new day, we came out fighting and we’ve put down too pretty solid times. To take that away from the championships is positive.
“We’ve got some improvements to make between here and Rio the last eighteen months is where you really make up the ground. For us in Australia we’re so lucky, we might be the six riders here but there are still six other guys back home who deserve just as much as us to be here, sitting in this seat. We’re in really good steed, we’ve got those guys chasing at our heels.”
Edmondson, Bobridge and Scotson will all line up in the individual pursuit later the Championships, while Bobridge will also team with Glenn O’Shea in the Madison.
In other events, Commonwealth Games keirin gold medallist Matthew Glaetzer (SA) finished tenth in the men’s keirin, while 2011 world champion Shane Perkins (VIC) and reigning national champion Jacob Schmid (VIC) were eliminated in the repechage rounds.
Debutant Scott Law (NSW) finished twelfth in the men’s scratch race.
2015 TEAM AUSTRALIA
Jack BOBRIDGE (25, SA) 2010 & 11 Team Pursuit and 2011 Individual Pursuit World Champion
Luke DAVISON (24, SA / Formerly NSW) 2014 Team Pursuit World Champion
Alexander EDMONDSON (21, SA) 2013 & 2014 Team Pursuit World Champion, 2014 Ind Pursuit World Champion
Glenn O'SHEA (25, SA / Formerly VIC) 2013 & 2014 Team Pursuit, and 2012 Omnium World Champion
Miles SCOTSON (21, SA) 2014 Team Pursuit World Champion
Scott LAW (24, NSW)
Mitchell MULHERN (24, QLD) 2014 Team Pursuit World Champion
Amy CURE (22, TAS) 2014 Points Race World Champion
Annette EDMONDSON (22, SA)
Melissa HOSKINS (23, WA)
Ashlee ANKUDINOFF (24, NSW) 2010 Team Pursuit World Champion
Rebecca WIASAK (30, ACT)
Matthew GLAETZER (22, SA) 2012 Team Sprint World Champion
Nathan HART (21, ACT)
Peter LEWIS (25, NSW)
Shane PERKINS (27, VIC) 2012 Team Sprint & 2011 Keirin World Champion
Jacob SCHMID (21, VIC)
Anna MEARES OAM (31, SA / Formerly QLD) 10x World Champion
Stephanie MORTON OAM (24, SA)
Kaarle McCULLOCH (26, NSW) Three-time World Champion (Team Sprint with Meares)