Australian Team opens UCI Track World Cup season in style
31 October 2018
CYCLING: The Australian Cycling Team has begun the UCI Track World Cup season in style at the opening two rounds in France and Canada. In round one in (Paris, October 19-21) Australia topped the medal tally with eight medals including three gold, three silver and two bronze, while in round two (Canada, October 26-28) the team won four medals including two gold.
Stephanie Morton collected five medals from six events across the two weekends, highlighted by two personal bests in the flying 200m and a new Australian Record with Kaarle McCulloch in the team sprint.
Morton topped the sprint qualification (10.514 & 10.516 secs) in both World Cups, en route to silver and bronze medals, in addition to grabbing keirin silver on the final day in Canada.
In the team sprint, the pair were pipped for gold by .001 in round one, before scorching to gold in round two in a time of 32.456 secs, eclipsing their previous mark set at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.
"I am really happy with my results here, to firstly get the Aussie record with Kaarle in the team sprint was amazing, then to pull out another 10.5 for the third week in a row and snag the bronze was good assurance that I'm on the right track," Morton told Cycling Australia.
"It was a big day in the office for the keirin having to come through the repechage but I kept focusing one race at a time and am really happy with how I rode to finish with silver."
The weekend's competition in Canada completed a huge block of racing across three continents for the sprint crew which began with the Oceania Track Championships in early October, and two World Cup rounds. The team will return home before heading to round three in Germany in December.
"It’s a good feeling that on our eighth team sprint in three weeks, in three different continents that we have been able to ride our best time," said Kaarle McCulloch.
"We are tired, that is a given after what we have been thrown the last three weeks, so we went in with the mindset today to show a bit of mongrel in us, which I think we both showed.
"We were a little speechless with our last time which got us the Aussie record, and for us seeing what we have been through and seeing where we can potentially go is really exciting."
Resplendent in his rainbow jersey, world champion Matthew Glaetzer won both sprint gold medals on offer.
In a repeat of the French opening round, Glaetzer was the fastest qualifier in round two with a stellar ride of 9.517 secs, before again defeating Harrie Lavreysen (NED) in three heats in the final.
"It has been a great start to the season with both individual wins at Oceanias and my World Cup Sprint wins so I am quite happy," Glaetzer told Cycling Australia.
"Winning the Sprint in Canada was big for me. It is difficult being the third consecutive weekend of racing so to execute well enough to win is really encouraging."
Nathan Hart won the sprint bronze in round two, while Hart, Patrick Constable and Jacob Schmid finished fifth in the team sprint at both rounds. Constable was also seventh in the keirin in round two.
The women's track endurance squad was in action in the opening round in France, with dual world and reigning Commonwealth champion Ash Ankudinoff leading a new look team pursuit quartet of Georgia Baker, and team newcomers Macey Stewart and Kristina Clonan to gold (4mins 16.957secs).
"A very positive start to the track season having some great results at the Oceanias, Paris World Cup and now London Six [Day]," said Georgia Baker, who with Macey Stewart also took bronze in the women's Madison.
The women's endurance crew contested the prestigious London Six Day event, instead of the Canadian round of the World Cup, with Baker topping the women's standings. "This will definitely give the team lots of confidence for the rest of the track season, that we have the depth to be able to perform with different combinations in the Teams Pursuit."
Ashlee Ankudinoff claimed two gold in round one in France with victory in the scratch race, while Leigh Howard took bronze in the men's final.
Dual Madison world champion Leigh Howard teamed with Kelland O'Brien to win bronze in round one, while the pair also claimed second overall at the London Six Day.
"It’s been a quick start to the track season with Oceanias, World Cup number one & of course the London Six Day," said O'Brien. "It is a bit of a shock to the system but I’m happy with where I am at and looking forward to some big months of track coming up.
"It is super important for me getting the racing experience in at the moment, I’ve learnt so much already this season, have lots of areas to work on and lots of areas to be proud of."
The team returns to the Adelaide base before heading to the third and fourth rounds of the World Cup in Germany and England in December.
The Cycling Australia Track National Championships begin on Thursday 13 December at DISC Velodrome with the two-day Para-cycling Nationals, with the Omnium Nationals to cap the week off on Friday 14 December, before taking centre stage on Saturday 15 December at Melbourne Arena with a huge night of racing to be headlined by the Madison, Team Sprint and Team Pursuit Nationals.