A medal of every colour for Aussies on day three
There was a medal of every colour for Australia on the third day of competition at the UCI Junior Track World Championships in Invercargill, New Zealand with Victoria’s Georgia Baker the best performed in winning the women’s 7.5km scratch race.
That made her a three time junior world champion after being a member of the victorious team pursuit trios both this year and in 2011.
Defending world champion Jennifer Valente (USA) had crossed the line first but was relegated by officials for not holding her line in the final 200 metres. The decision gave Baker the gold ahead of New Zealand’s Sophie Williamson and Shana Dalving (BEL) was in third place.
Baker crashed midway through the race and Australian team manager Rik Fulcher said the 16-year-old did a great job to regain her composure in time to re-join the race.
“The mechanics got to her very quickly and put her back on her bike and in the race within the required time. She lost a bit of skin off her hip and her elbow but she switched on straight away and kept focused,” he explained.
The other medals of the night went to Victorian Caitlin Ward who claimed silver in the women’s sprint and Tirian McManus (NSW) who finished in the bronze medal position in the men’s omnium.
“Tirian’s bronze in the omnium was a great result, it has been a long two days for him,” Fulcher said
18-year-old Ward went down to Russia’s Daria Shmeleva in two photo finish heats while Paige Peterson (NZL) claimed the bronze medal.
“Both races were really close finishes (and) if I was going to get silver I wanted to make it a really hard fight … I did a personal best time by more than 0.2 seconds in (flying 200m) qualifying so I was really excited with that.
“I’m very proud of my silver, I’m very happy with how I raced and I’ve learnt so much, that’s all you can really ask for at a junior world championships when you’re aiming for the senior championships,” she said.
The Mount Eliza local had plenty of home support to see her win her second medal of the week.
“I have my mum and dad and nanna and grandpa here. They’re all ecstatic, they were all jumping up and down on their seats and I’ve never seen my grandma look so young, she was very excited and running around like a little school girl,” laughed Ward.
The world championship debutant said the experience of representing Australia has been invaluable.
“The honour of representing my country has been so exciting and more than I could ever ask for in a career and to be able to come away with two medals so far and hopefully some more is just so exciting,” said Ward who will also race the keirin on Saturday and the 500m time trial on Sunday.
“I love keirin’s so hopefully I can get to the final and do some damage there.”
Day three's results take Australia’s medal tally to nine with two days of competition remaining, something which Fulcher said has made him “very proud.”
“Not only am I proud with the way they ride but the way they go about winning. They are very humble and with the results flowing like they have been, it has set a great moral within the team,” he said.
In the day’s other results, Taylah Jennings won the first three events in the women’s omnium and is on her way to another clean sweep of the event following her record win in 2011.
Zac Shaw, Jacob Schmid and Emerson Harwood have all qualified for the semi finals in the men's sprint, guaranteeing at least two more medals.
Saturday will feature medal rounds of women’s omnium, women’s keirin, men’s individual pursuit, men’s 25km points race and the men’s sprint.
Results summary after day three
The Australian Junior Cyclones team competing in New Zealand is listed below for reference.