2014 , by Cycling Australia
Twenty-year-old Alexander Edmondson’s second world championship title in as many nights punctuated a night of high drama for Australia at the 2014 UCI Track World Championships in Colombia.
Edmondson secured Australia’s fourth consecutive crown in the men’s individual pursuit event, while Anna Meares collected silver in her pet event, the 500mt time trial, for her twenty first career World Championship medal.
The third podium of the evening came via the team pursuit quartet of Annette Edmondson, Amy Cure, Melissa Hoskins and Bella King who completed the full swag of medals for Australia with bronze.
In an action packed men’s keirin, Matthew Glaetzer survived a spectacular in the second round of the keirin which saw the South Australian slide 50 metres down the home straight and into the bend, and his bike catapulting into the stands.
Shane Perkins finished eighth in the event and likewise in the night’s other final - the men’s scratch race, Glenn O’Shea also finished eighth.
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Men's Individual Pursuit – Edmondson
At just twenty, South Australia’s Alexander Edmondson now boasts three World Championship medals to his name, all of them gold, after claiming his first individual crown in the pursuit.
Qualifying fastest in the afternoon session (4:21.003), Edmondson bolted from the blocks in the final to lead Stefan Kueng (SUI) by over one and a half seconds at the halfway mark.
Edmondson continued his blistering start, with his advantage blowing out to almost two and a half seconds at the third kilometre time check. A late fight back from his Swiss rival in the final laps was just not enough as Edmondson crossed the line in 4mins 22.582secs, four tenths of a second ahead of Kueng (4:22.995).
“I’m really speechless, after the team pursuit win, I struggled to get some sleep last night and I came out just thinking I’ll just give it my all and see what happens,” said Edmondson, who with Glenn O’Shea, Luke Davison, Mitchell Mulhern and Miles Scotson, defended his team pursuit title on the opening night of the Championships.
“I think I got a little bit carried away and started going a bit too fast at the start but I knew I had to go out and give it my all. And his fighting came at the end and it felt like a ‘kilo’ on that last lap – I had absolutely nothing left.
“It’s been such an amazing last couple of days, to come away with the team pursuit was just amazing but to be able to do this less than twenty four afterwards is absolutely amazing.
“I’ve dedicated myself 100% for this with full belief in my coach Tim Decker and look what has happened. I’d just like to say thank you so much to Tim, and my mum and dad– this one’s for you guys,” said Edmondson who is pencilled to race the Madison the final evening.
The victory was Australia’s fourth consecutive in the event following Michael Hepburn’s back-to-back crowns in 2013 and 2012, and Jack Bobridge’s win in 2011.
Women's 500m TT – Meares
Four-time world and 2004 Olympic champion in her ‘pet event’, Anna Meares kick-started her worlds campaign with silver in the 500mt time trial.
The eleventh rider to set out to cover the two laps, it appeared Meares’ time of 33.548secs might clinch the South Australian a fifth crown in the event, as she leapt into first place with five riders left to compete.
Riding second last, 2013 silver medallist Miriam Welte (GER) posted a time of 33.451 to surpass Meares’ mark, while reigning world champion Wai Sze Lee unable to edge her way onto the podium with the sixth fastest time in the final ride. Anastasiia Voinova (RUS) took bronze in 33.789secs.
“I felt like I had a really good ride, it was really quite painful, but I put all of what I had out on the track and I’m really happy with that,” said Meares after claiming her fourth World Championship silver in the event.
“I don’t ride the 500m too regularly anymore, but I still have a great passion for it. Miriam (Welte) is really on her A-game given her result in the team sprint last night, so I am really pleased with my result tonight.”
Meares is currently on the verge of creating cycling history, with one more world title moving the 30-year-old clear as the most successful female track cyclist in history with eleven world titles.
“I still have the sprint and the keirin. I have two big days of sprinting followed by the keirin on the last day, and I’m really looking forward to that,” said Meares.
“There is lots of racing to be had and I’ve kicked it off really well tonight,” Meares added.
Women's Team Pursuit - Edmondson, Cure, King, Hoskins
In the first ever four-rider, four-kilometre women’s team pursuit held at a World Championship level, Annette Edmondson, Amy Cure, Melissa Hoskins and debutante Bella King sealed Australia’s third straight podium appearance in the event.
Third fastest qualifiers in the afternoon session, the Australian quartet made their medal intentions quite clear early in the final, creating a two second lead after just the first kilometre.
Never taking the foot off the pedal, they increased the margin to four seconds at the halfway mark. With the Polish team in their sights on the straight, the foursome caught their opponents at the three kilometre mark, automatically ending the race and clinching the bronze.
“The girls did a great job and everyone did their jobs perfectly,” said Edmondson, a two-time silver medalist in the past two years in the event along with Hoskins. “We couldn’t fault anything in the final, of course we like to win gold but we’ve just got to get better as a team because we couldn’t fault ourselves tactically.
“(Tonight) We went out with a different team tactic, we went out hard and we got the job done quickly and I think the girls are happy to finish on a high,” added Edmondson, who now switches focus to the Omnium, and event in which she has found the podium twice in the past two years.
Reigning Olympic and world champions and world record holders Great Britain (4:23.407) survived an early deficit against Canada (4:24.696) to take the gold medal.
Men's Scratch 15 Km - O’Shea
South Australia’s Glenn O’Shea, 24, finished eighth in his second event of the Championships - the men’s 15km / 60 lap scratch race.
The South Australian, who claimed his third career world championship crown on the opening night of competition in the team pursuit, finished behind Russia’s Ivan Kovalev, defending champion Marty Irvine (IRL) and King Lok Cheung (HKG).
“The scratch race is one of those events where anything can happen really, it can be a bit of a lottery to be honest,” said O’Shea. “I tried to put myself in a few moves and it didn’t really work but that’s just the way it goes I guess.”
Men's Keirin - Perkins, Glaetzer
In the men’s sprint, 2011 keirin world champion Shane Perkins finished eighth, while Matthew Glaetzer finished tenth despite not being able to contest the 7-10 small final after a scary crash in the second round.
Coming in to get the bell in heat two of the second round, Glaetzer looked to be setting himself in a good position to finish in the top three and move through to the final, before a rubbing of shoulders with Azizul Awang (MAS) – who was later disqualified for ‘causing the crash of his/her opponent’ - brought him down.
The fall saw the South Australian slide 50 metres down the home straight and into the bend, and his bike catapulting into the stands, however fortunately Glaetzer only suffered bruises, cuts and splinters, but forced his withdrawal from the event.
Perkins, who finished second in the 7-10 small final, is quickly changing his attentions to the sprint competition.
“It’s obviously a bit disappointing not making the final, but there are a lot of positives, working with Gary, I’ve only been with him for a short time, three or four months now and we’ve been trying some different things in training,” Perkins said
“My head was in it in terms of tactics, but my legs just weren’t quite in it, so just got to get the legs firing on all cylinders but things are heading in the right direction.
“I’m looking forward to the sprint and that one in my heart is the one I really do love and I look forward to getting out there and giving it a crack.” He added.
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).
Photos below © Graham Watson/Casey Gibson