Records fall as Australia win 9 medals at Junior Track World Champs
20 August 2018
CYCLING - TRACK: The Australian Cycling Team enjoyed a successful week at the 2018 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Aigle, Switzerland, with three world titles, nine medals and a handful of world and Australian records.
Melbourne’s Luke Plapp celebrated dual world titles in the points race and in the Madison with Blake Quick (QLD) and Sydney’s Thomas Cornish stormed to the kilometre time trial world title in world record time.
Leigh Hoffman (SA) set a new Australian record in the men’s sprint, while Sophie Edwards (SA) broke Amy Cure’s eight-year-old national mark in the individual pursuit.
Dual Junior World Champion, Melbourne’s Plapp, revealed he celebrated his maiden world title at the 2018 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Switzerland by sleeping in his rainbow jersey.
“I was so sweaty, and it was so tight and hard to put on the jersey,” Plapp told Cycling Australia. “But I didn’t take it off for the next 12 hours and slept in it. I honestly could not stop smiling the whole day and night. Also, to receive all the support from back home was something else!
Plapp, who rides with the Brunswick Cycling Club, took three laps on the field to win the points race on 70pts. After the race, he quickly dedicated the win to his teammate James Moriarty who was forced to watch from the sidelines after breaking a collarbone in training crash two days out from the start of the competition.
“I would like to dedicate this race to James, this was meant to be his race,” explained Plapp. “I raced it in his behalf, and I’m sure he would have been in the same position as I would have been in the race. It meant a lot to be able to win it for him, and I’m sure next year he will do it!”
Plapp capped the week off in style by winning the Championship’s final event, the Madison, with Blake Quick. There the pair figured all but two of the fourteen sprint decisions to take the crown on 47 points ahead of Russia and Denmark.
“The Madison has been my goal for so long,” revealed Plapp. “And to achieve it with such a fantastic mate was so special and once again having one of the previous best Madison riders in Matt Gilmore guiding us was unreal.”
It was a triple treat for Plapp and Quick with the pair each claiming three medals for the week. On the opening day, the pair teamed with Matthew Rice (ACT) and Luke Wight (SA) to win bronze in the team pursuit, while Queensland’s Quick also won omnium bronze.
It was also a spectacular week for Sydney’s Tom Cornish who scorched his way around the Aigle track on his way to claiming a world record, a world title and a silver medal.
The Southern Cross Cycling Club member won sprint silver on Saturday with a personal best 10.041secs, which broke the seven-year-old Australian record. However, it was short-lived with teammate Leigh Hoffman lowering the new mark just two rides later with a stunning 10.037seconds.
Unfortunately for Australia, the pair met in the semi-finals, which Cornish took in three closely fought heats.
“It was tough, we'd battled each other at Oceanias and Nationals before but he would always get the better of me, so to come out on top was a bit of a surprise,” said Cornish, who was edged by Poland’s Laczkowski in the final.
“I couldn't have imagined winning sprint silver, my goals coming into the sprint were to be top five, so I was pretty happy when I made the gold/silver final. My goals for the sprint final were to make sure I gave him a run, but I was pretty tired from the semi against Leigh though.
“I felt happy with silver, but also a little disappointed, I'd come so close to the gold.”
Less than twenty-four hours later, Cornish produced an eye-popping 1min 00.489sec ride to break the junior kilometre time trial world record on his way to claiming his maiden world crown.
“To break the world record and win the kilo, I am pretty excited! Never thought I'd be able to achieve something like this,” added Cornish, 18, who thanked coach Shane Kelly, himself a three-time kilo world champion who won the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games bronze the year Cornish was born.
“I'd like to thank Shane for coaching me through the Junior Worlds campaign, my parents and family for supporting me, and everyone else in the team for being there and cheering me on.”
In a strong debut, Hoffman finished fourth in the sprint and sixth the in keirin. Matthew Rice claimed fourth in the kilometre time trial.
For Melbourne's Sarah Gigante, her silver medal was one for the ages after she almost didn't make it to the start line.
The six-time 2018 national champion crashed on a descent in a club road race in May which left her with a broken left elbow, left shoulder and right wrist. Surgery quickly followed before Gigante suffered another blow after dislocating her shoulder on one of her first recovery rides.
left the World Championships with a silver medal and smile as wide as the Aigle velodrome after coming to within one sprint of a world title.
“Even most of the doctors I saw laughed when I said that I wanted to race in August, so you can imagine that I felt beyond grateful and fortunate to have the chance to pull on the treasured green and gold," she said.
"Just being at Worlds was amazing enough, so to place in one of my favourite races in a great field was so crazy! I felt so good to be back! I can't thank my support network enough. I wouldn't be here right now without them, let alone with a silver medal around my neck."
Australia medal summary - 2018 UCI Junior Track World Championships
Men's Madison - Luke Plapp (VIC) / Blake Quick (QLD)
Men’s Points Race- Luke Plapp (VIC)
Men's Kilometre Time Trial - Tom Cornish (NSW) & world record 1:00.489
Women’s Points Race - Sarah Gigante (VIC)
Men’s Sprint - Thomas Cornish (Australian Record - Leigh Hoffman 10.037)
Men’s Team Pursuit - Luke Plapp (VIC), Blake Quick (QLD), Matthew Rice (ACT) and Luke Wight (SA)
Women's Madison - Alice Culling (VIC) & Alexandra Martin-Wallace (QLD)
Men’s Omnium - Blake Quick (QLD)
Women’s Individual Pursuit - Sophie Edwards (SA) (Australian record - 2:22.577)