Australia finishes World Championships with equal most world titles
4 March 2019
CYCLING: Australia has finished the 2019 UCI Track World Championships in Poland in second place overall with ten medals, tying the Netherlands for the most gold medals with six.
Underlining this consistent display across the Championships, the team boasted a result inside the top six in all but one Olympic event.
Adelaide’s Alex Manly continued the rainbow connection for the women’s track endurance squad with an electrifying victory in the 100-lap points race, while the vintage form of Sydney’s Kaarle McCulloch continued as she completed a set of medals with a surprise silver in the keirin.
Sprint world champion from 2018, Matthew Glaetzer finished just off the podium in fourth, as did two-time world champions Leigh Howard and Cameron Meyer in the Madison.
“Fantastic results- ten medals is tremendous- but more importantly it is about the performances,” Cycling Australia Performance Director Simon Jones said.
“We saw some really good results across the board. The men’s team pursuit stands out clearly, a world record performance and by such a margin.
“The women’s endurance squad’s performance was outstanding, there has been through quite a big change in the program and the girls have really bought in, there is good energy.
“The women's team sprint gold which equally shows that they keep getting better as a team. Matt [Glaetzer] had a big season and to perform the way he did here, to finish fourth is a good result considering what we are trying to achieve at the moment.
“From here we stop, to try to learn, not just from the World Championships, and to keep asking ourselves what we need to do. I think it the trick to this is to make sure we get the fundamentals right and we don’t make it too complicated because I think we are where we need to be at the moment.”
Women’s Points Race
Alexandra Manly claimed her second rainbow jersey of the 2019 World Championships with an electrifying victory in the 100-lap points race.
“I can’t believe what happened just then, it is still a blur, it is so super special,” Manly, who announced her race intentions early by figuring in the points in the opening two of ten sprint competitions, said.
A conservative next thirty laps ensued before Manly launched a decisive move at the halfway mark. Together with Yang (KOR), Manly took a lap on the field and with it twenty bonus points and the race lead.
Boylan (IRE) and Badykova (RUS) teamed to try to put a halt to Australia’s third women’s endurance world title of the week when they took a late lap, pushing Manly into third overall.
Manly’s smart tactical race paid dividends as she finished among the points in the final sprint which elevated her to the top of the podium.
“The plan worked out perfectly. I conserved energy at the start but still managed to get points,” Manly explained. “Then I recovered, recovered, recovered and when the moment was there I attacked.
“I knew I had to go for a lap as I knew I would need a big chunk of points if I wanted to be in the mix for the medals. I just needed to stay composed for the final sprint, and I did.”
The win was the women’s endurance squad’s third of the week, with Manly joining Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW), Amy Cure (TAS), Annette Edmondson (SA) and Georgia Baker (TAS) to claim the team pursuit title, while Ankudinoff won the individual pursuit. Cure and Baker also claimed Madison silver, while Edmondson finished fifth in the omnium.
“This week has been super special, Ash getting the rainbows yesterday was so inspiring. The girls in the Madison last night, they fought all the way, they almost had it. And also to Nettie, she only had one mistake which cost her but she fought to the end.”
Matthew Glaetzer wrapped up his 2019 UCI Track World Championships with a fourth in the men’s sprint, his second result just off the podium after also finishing fourth in the keirin.
Since winning the world title in the Netherlands twelve months ago, it has been a packed schedule for Glaetzer which took in both National and Oceania Championships, Commonwealth Games, the Japanese keirin season, plus four rounds to open the recent 2018/19 World Cup season in which he netted three gold and one silver.
On Saturday, fifth fastest qualifier Glaetzer looked on track for a successful title defence with strong rides sending him to the semi-final against Jeffrey Hoogland (NED).
However, on Sunday, the Dutch rider was too strong for the South Australian in their clash in two straight rides, ending the reigning champion’s hope of becoming just the second Australian to defend a sprint world crown.
Up against hometown hero Rudyk (POL) and a parochial crowd in the bronze medal final, Glaetzer took the win in their first heat, before later being relegated for entering the sprinter’s lane. Riding a wave of red and white flags, Rudyk overcame Glaetzer in the front straight in their second heat to take the bronze medal.
The stellar form of Kaarle McCulloch continued with the Sydney cyclist completing a set of medals, winning a surprise silver in the keirin final.
McCulloch added to her team sprint gold and time trial bronze with a storming ride to finish behind Hong Kong’s Wai Sze Lee who rode to her second gold medal of the Championships.
“With the new format of the keirins, I was unsure how I would handle it with more rides, but I got better with my execution as my rides went on. In the final, I had to get better at finding the gaps, and I ended up getting Lee’s wheel,” McCulloch said.
“I can’t quite believe this right now, the keirin is my last focus so it is nice to know that I can actually do it and encouraging as we head towards Tokyo.
“This is ten years on from my first world title in Poland, I am still improving, I am setting personal bests. I love the environment here at Cycling Australia, working with Steph is amazing, we have a good partnership going on.
“We have a common dream heading towards Tokyo and hopefully we can sign seal and deliver that dream.”
Stephanie Morton, who looked in ominous form after storming to three straight wins in the heat, quarterfinals and semifinals, finished in fourth. The result capped a strong week from the South Australian who claimed sprint gold (with McCulloch) and a third straight World Championships sprint silver medal.
The Madison never fails to deliver, with the Australian pairing of Leigh Howard and Cameron Meyer edged off the podium in the dying stages of the 50km Madison final in which riders averaged an astonishing 59.2km/h.
The Aussie duo set the tone early, duelling with the Polish pairing and an excited crowd to sit atop the rankings equal with the home team after 5 (of 20) sprints.
At this point, eventual gold medallists Germany made their first serious play for a medal, taking a lap on the field. This move was immediately answered by Australia, Denmark, Great Britain, and Belgium.
Second overall at the halfway mark, Howard and Meyer took another lap and for the rest of the race, they desperately fought for a spot on the podium.
However, the Aussie pairing were pushed out of the medals in a see-sawing final fifty laps which saw multiple laps taken by the German, Belgian and Danish outfits in a thrilling end to the race.