Women’s sprint and Madison titles wrap up Oceania Track Championships
24 November 2017
CYCLING: Stephanie Morton (SA) claimed sprint gold and Kristina Clonan (QLD) and Macey Stewart (TAS) took out the Madison on the final day of the 2018 Oceania Track Championships in Cambridge, New Zealand.
In other events Thomas Cornish (NSW) added a third gold with the under 19 men's keirin title, Jacob Schmid (VIC) took silver in the elite men's keirin and Kelland O'Brien (VIC) and Rohan Wight (SA) come home with Madison silver.
Australia finished the championships with 16 gold and 53 medals across the four days of competition.
Morton continued her impressive run of form qualifying in 10.654 seconds, the fastest time ever set in New Zealand and over two tenths clear of her nearest competition and fellow High Performance Unit athlete Kaarle McCulloch (NSW-10.908).
In the rounds Morton's speed was too much for New Zealand's Tess Young and Olivia Podmore. While McCulloch dispatched Caitlin Ward (VIC) and Natasha Hansen (New Zealand) to set up a green and gold battle for the title.
There was no stopping the world championship silver medallist in the final as she raced home to gold ahead of McCulloch in two rides.
"I think this is the first time I have done a triple at Oceanias, so I am really happy with that," said Morton reflecting on sprint, keirin and team sprint wins.
"I wasn't sure where I was going to be after the big crash in Manchester and I hadn't touched the bike until I got to New Zealand.
"To be able to keep that momentum going from the World Cup's and put out another good 200 and back it up in the sprint rounds I was really happy.
"For me today this is sort of a bonus. I really just wanted to focus on the racing and get that right, as I knew my legs were fine, so it was about challenging myself in other ways.
In addition to her individual results Morton is pleased with the depth of talent in Australian sprinting with Holly Takos (SA) finishing fifth and Ward seventh.
"Women's sprint cycling is in a really good spot right now and have the younger girls coming up underneath, so it is looking really good."
Clonan and Stewart kept the women's Madison title in Australian hands following on from Amy Cure and Annette Edmondson winning the first ever title a year ago.
A fast race with an average speed of close to 50 kilometres an hour saw three teams assert themselves from the start. After picking up a single point in the opening sprint Stewart and Clonan went on a points grabbing spree winning the next four in a row to establish themselves at the top of the standings.
As the laps counted down Clonan and Stewart continued adding points as the race behind them turned to silver and bronze with Clonan and Stewart finishing on 34, 11 clear of their closest rivals. South Australian's Maeve Plouffe and Breanna Hargrave held off a late charge to claim silver on 23 points and Rushlee Buchanan and Racquel Sheath (New Zealand) on 21.
"This is pretty big. It means a lot of be Oceania Champion," said a delighted Clonan.
"I was partnered with Macey Stewart and I think we worked together well and we are heading in to the Six Day in Australia in a couple of weeks.
"It is four medals for me so it is a nice start to the season and a warm up as we move in to bigger races ahead."
A thrilling men's Madison went down to the wire with O'Brien and Wight grabbing silver on 64 points, 10 behind New Zealand gold medallists Campbell Stewart and Tom Sexton. Cooper Sayers and Josh Harrison (SA) rounded out the podium with bronze on 55.
Schmid wrapped up a successful week of racing taking silver, in a hotly contested keirin with riders going three wide to the line. Gold was taken by Jordan Castle (New Zealand) with Edward Dawkins (New Zealand) the bronze.
In under 19 events Thomas Cornish claimed his third gold of the week winning the keirin ahead of Zachary Marshall. Daniel Gandy picked up silver in the points race and Marshall and Matthew Rice added a second silver in the Madison.
See the full results from the Championships HERE.