Australia crowned overall UCI Team World Cup winners
29 January 2019
CYCLING - TRACK: The Australian Cycling Team has been crowned overall 2018/19 UCI World Cup winners following an emphatic final World Cup round held at the Hong Kong Velodrome.
Australia claimed three gold, three silver and two bronze across the three days, highlighted by dual gold to Thomas Clarke, 23, in the sprint and team sprint with teenagers James Brister, 19, and Matthew Richardson, 19, plus omnium gold to Cameron Meyer.
Overall across the six-round World Cup series, Australia won 34 medals including 13 gold, 12 silver and nine bronze.
“It is a great team effort, a mixture of committed athletes, committed staff, everyone working together, I think it is a great thing to celebrate,” said Jon Norfolk, Head of Performance Pathways and People, Cycling Australia.
“Across this season we witnessed great results and performances from athletes within the Podium program and the Podium Potential Academy. It is so great to have two separate tiers of our program able to perform on this kind of stage, to be able to refine and improve.
“It is also great to see both programs supporting each other as well, we have podium athletes supporting our younger athletes, and in turn, they are being inspired by racing and training with their heroes.
“It is a really infectious environment.”
The Australian Cycling Team’s Podium Potential Academy riders stole the show on the opening day of competition with teenagers James Brister, 19, and Matthew Richardson, 19, bolting from the gates on their World Cup debut, with Thomas Clarke, 23, to win gold in the men’s team sprint.
“First World Cup, first medal, first gold medal, it is pretty exciting, I wasn’t expecting this at all, I can't thank my teammates, coach and staff enough,” Brister said, who recognised the Academy for his result.
“The support we are getting is phenomenal now, I wouldn’t be here now without the support of Cycling Australia setting up the Academy.”
Forty-eight hours after teaming winning team sprint gold, Clarke and Brister battled each other for gold in the individual sprint with Clarke taking the top step of the podium.
“Honestly I don’t think it has sunk in, I still can’t believe it. I woke up this morning with no expectations apart from qualifying the best I can and having good races,”
Clarke said, who also won team sprint silver last week in New Zealand in round five of the World Cup.
“I took it one race at a time, had a few close calls to make it through and then couldn’t believe it when James and I both made the gold medal ride off."
On Saturday, a calculated performance from Cameron Meyer, saw the 31-year-old claim an emphatic gold in his first international omnium competition.
"I am a little bit shocked and surprised, but I knew I had good condition coming off the road racing in Australia with the Tour Down Under, but I didn't know what to expect in my first omnium at a World Cup level," the nine-time world champion said.
"My goals were to find out what the omnium was about. It is an Olympic event, it is something that I can target, so I wanted to see where the level was at and where my level is at compared to the other competitors."
In a heartbreaking end to the men’s 30km Madison on Sunday, Sam Welsford, 23, and Kelland O’Brien, 20, were edged into the silver medal position by New Zealand in the final sprint of the 120-lap race.
In the team pursuit, the teenage quartet of Jarrad Drizners, 19, Godfrey Slattery, 18 Conor Leahy, 19, and Luke Plapp, 18, won bronze in just their second World Cup event.
The quartet posted the eighth fastest time (4:01.562) in Thursday evening’s qualifying round, and with world record holder Welsford, subbing in for Slattery and this combination scorched the Hong Kong Velodrome with a stunning ride of 3mins 53.889 secs in Friday’s first round.
Teenage debutant Alexandra Martin-Wallace shone in the scratch race, coming over the top of a fast finishing bunch to win silver, while Alexandra Manly staged an epic comeback inside the final twenty laps of the points race to win bronze in women’s omnium.
Head to Cycling Australia for the full team restults.