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Herculean comeback clinches team pursuit world title
© Graham Watson/Casey Gibson

Herculean comeback clinches team pursuit world title

27 Feb 2014 , by Cycling Australia

Australia’s youthful quartet staged a herculean comeback to defend the team pursuit world title on the opening night the 2014 UCI Track World Championships in Cali. 

In other events, the Australian trio of Shane Perkins, Matthew Glaetzer and Daniel Ellis finished sixth in the men’s sprint final and Ashlee Ankudinoff finished nineteenth in the women’s 10km scratch race final.

VideosMen's Team Pursuit Final  |  Interviews with Australia's winning team

Session review

In the afternoon session, reigning world champions Glenn O’Shea (SA, 24) and Alex Edmondson (SA, 20), plus debutants Mitchell Mulhern (QLD, 23) and Miles Scotson (SA, 20) qualified second fastest (4:01.516), narrowly scraping into the final by just 0.099secs ahead of Russia.

In the final, Luke Davison (SA, 23) came in for Scotson to face the strong Denmark outfit of Casper Von Folsach, Lasse Hansen, Rasmus Quaade and Alex Rasmussen, who qualified fastest by almost two seconds.

With favourable conditions greeting riders in the evening session at the semi-outdoor Cali velodrome, it appeared that Denmark would claim their second gold since 2009 in the event as they established a solid lead of 0.414seconds after two kilometres.

But in a display of superb pursuiting riding well beyond their years, the youthful Australian team fought back to edge in front just after the halfway mark.  The team continued to out the foot down, driving it home to cross the line in 3mins 57.907secs, well ahead of the Danish team (3:59.623).

One of the greenest pursuit quartets fielded by Australia at a World Championships, the team boasts just three World Championship team pursuits events as a group, yielding the 2013 world title (O’Shea/Edmondson) and a silver in 2012 (O’Shea).

“We knew it was going to be hard and we got driven the whole way to the end by the Danes, they put up such an awesome fight so to come out on top is unbelievable,” said Edmondson, who claimed his second world title at just twenty years of age.

“We knew we had to ride our own race and we knew they were going to come out hard and we went out hard too, but at the end of the day it came down to the last kilometre and we just stuck to our plan, tried not to get rattled and held on.

“We’ve come here with not a lot of experience, but we had full belief in coach Tim Decker and in Cycling Australia, so we had to back ourselves because we knew we’d done the work and I guess it showed tonight because we managed to ride a 3.57 on pretty much an outdoor track,” remarked Edmondson, who will now turn his attentions to the individual pursuit and Madison.

For Glenn O’Shea, the elderly statesman on the team at just 24, it was pure elation after claiming his second crown in the event and third career title adding to his 2012 omnium victory.

“That was pretty good wasn’t it? A bit harder than last year I think, today we were a bit disappointed with the heat, we only just snuck into the final so we were pretty motivated,” said O’Shea, who only yesterday recovered from a combination of jetlag and travel sickness.

“I’ve had two days where I couldn’t even hold a wheel and it was only this morning I decided I was just going to ride the heat.  But I had a really good ride so decided to ride in the final as well to start the team off like I did last year,” added O’Shea, O’Shea who will contest the Madison, plus the points and scratch races later this week. 

New Zealand’s Aaron Gate, Pieter Bulling, Dylan Kennett and Marc Ryan (3mins 58.989secs) defeated Russia (4:0.770) for bronze.

In the Men's Team Sprint, the Australia trio of Shane Perkins, Matthew Glaetzer and Daniel Ellis finished sixth in the final.

Making his return to the worlds team, 2008 Beijing Olympian Ellis lead the team in first wheel, covering the first lap in 17.565.  2012 team sprint world champions Shane Perkins and Matthew Glaetzer brought it home over the final two laps to post a time of 43.658secs.

“I thought they performed pretty well, we finished about where we thought, of course we are always hoping for more, but it wasn’t to be tonight,” said Head Coach Gary West. 

“We will now focus on keirin which is on tomorrow morning, and as their performances were pretty solid tonight, we are looking forward to the rest of the week.”

New Zealand’s Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Edward Dawkins came from behind to claim an amazing gold medal (42.840), defeating reigning world champions Rene Enders, Robert Forstemann and Maximiliian Levy (42.885). 

In the evening’s other event, Sydney’s Ashlee Ankudinoff finished nineteenth in the women’s 10km scratch race final, the first event decided of the Championships.

The race featured a couple of short-lived attacks in the early stages, until Belgium’s Kelly Druyts made the decisive move at five laps to go, taking Ireland’s Caroline Ryan with her.

Druyts managed to shake Ryan over the final few laps to record a memorable victory for Belgium. Two-time defending champion Katarzyna Pawlowska took the silver and Evgenia Romanyuta the bronze.

The 2014 UCI Track Cycling World Championships will be held in Cali, Columbia from February 26 to March 2.

Approximately 350 athletes will contest 19 World Championship events, across five days with two sessions daily (all finals will take place in the evening sessions). 

Team Australia

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