One Gold for GB when Laura Trott backed up her Gold in the Team Pursuit with a medal of the same colour in the Omnium after a succession of stunning rides in the multi race event.
19-year-old Laura Trott of Great Britain held on to top spot of the women’s omnium after leading overnight. Leading by just two points from Australia’s Annette Edmondson heading into the final 500m time trial, Trott produced the fastest time of 35.173 to secure the rainbow jersey.
Meanwhile, for the home supporters, it was a golden night for the Australians on day four of the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships with three gold medals to catapult them to the top of medal tally.
Stunning victories to Cameron Meyer in the points race, Anna Meares who defended her keirin and Michael Hepburn in the individual pursuit had the capacity crowd at Hisense Arena at fever pitch. The victories, along with two silver medals to Jack Bobridge and Annette Edmondson, sees the home nation on top with five gold, six silver and one bronze. Great Britain sit in second, also with five gold but just two silver and one bronze.
Meyer, in what was the most intense and captivating Points race for a long time that had one expereinced journalist calling brutal, very brutal, left it until the last possible moment to take a lap on the field to finish with 33 points and secure his third Points race rainbow jersey after winning in 2009 and 2010 and finishing second last year in Apeldoorn.
GB’s Ben Swift (32 pts) had silenced the capacity crowd as they waited for the score to be updated after the Rotherham rider had sprinted to victory in the final sprint of the event to finish just one point adrift of the 24-year-old Meyer. Belgian Kenny De Ketele finished third with 30 points.
In the Men’s Pursuit, Hepburn faced off against World record holder Bobridge in the final of the men’s individual pursuit after the two posted the fastest times in qualifying this morning. 20-year-old Hepburn had the better of Bobridge in both rounds, posting the third fastest time in history (4 minutes 13.224 seconds) in qualifying and then 4 minutes 15.839 seconds in the final.
Bouncing back from a major disappointment in yesterday’s sprint, Aussie pin up girl Meares captured her first gold medal of the championships with victory in the Women’s Keirin adding to her silver in the team sprint and bronze in yesterday’s sprint.
Frenchman Gregory Bauge took out his third men’s sprint gold medal proving two strong for Great Britain’s Jason Kenny although one of those wins was down to a judges decision and not Kenny’s ability to beat the Frenchman. Having lost the first match, Kenny went for a sprint from the outset in attempt to upset the game plan of Bauge in the second. With little left in the tank, the Brit swung outside the sprinters line and was relegated to hand the Bauge the rainbow stripes. Robbed was some people’s opinion of the decision.
Kenny had earlier knocked out compatriot and ten-time world champion Sir Chris Hoy in the semi-finals giving give the British coaches a selection headache for the single sprint position at the London Olympics. Earlier, Bauge eliminated Australia’s Shane Perkins in his semi final with Hoy going on to beat Perkins for bronze.
The 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships wrap up tomorrow, with four final championships up for grabs – men’s Keirin and Madison, and Women’s 500m time trial and Individual Pursuit.
Men’s points race
A late dash to gain a lap has given Australian Cameron Meyer his third world points title. Meyer gained 20 points for gaining a lap, with three laps left of the 160 lap event to place the Australian six points ahead prior the final sprint. The roar of the crowd urged the Australian on after the 23-year-old attacked with around 12 laps left as he was 22 points behind Belgian Kenny de Ketele and 17 adrift of Great Britain’s Ben Swift.
Meyer accumulated 33 points over the 40km, while Swift won the last sprint to win silver with de Ketele third. The Australian has won three world points titles in four years, with a second placing in 2011. Despite seeming out of the contest, Meyer said he was never going to give in on home turf. “I was going to fight to death and I got a sniff with about five to go,” Meyer said. “I put the boot in because I knew that was the biggest group, and if I could get across to it, that would give me a shot at the title.”
Meyer said he was unaware of his finish after crossing the line. “When I came over the line I had to wait until it came up on the board,” he said. “It’s a one point win, but one’s enough.”
He said New Zealand’s Aaron Gate provided great support with the two working to gain a lap on the field. “You could see that with five laps to go, he’s just given me enough recovery to put in two big laps and put in that bridge to the peloton and take the lap,” Meyer said. Meyer’s win places the Australian number four on overall winners of this event at world championships.
Swiss cyclist Urs Freuler won eight world points titles, while Spain’s Joan Llaneras and Bruno Risi from Switzerland have won four each. Many experts who describe his win as one of the best they have seen at a world titles, will be disappoints that Meyer appears headed for the road saying he will always love riding on the velodrome but it was time for new challenges.
“I’ve ridden six world senior titles now so I’m ready to start a new chapter and see what I can do on the road over the next few years,” he said.
Men’s individual pursuit
A barnstorming last kilometre from 20-year-old Michael Hepburn has upstaged teammate Jack Bobridge as Australia went one-two in the men’s individual pursuit. Hepburn clocked 4 minutes 15.839 seconds over the 4000 metres, 0.474 seconds ahead of defending champion Bobridge.
New Zealand’s Westley Gough defeated Australian Rohan Dennis for the bronze medal. Bobridge burst from the starting gate to build a lead near two seconds at half-way before Hepburn slowly whittled it down to 1.117 seconds with 1000 metres. The 20-year-old from Queensland hit the lead for the first time with 375 metres left and continued to build his margin to the line. Hepburn said he couldn’t believe he had won as he shook his head after crossing the line.
“About a kilometre to go, I honestly thought I was not going to make it as Jack was too far ahead,” Hepburn said. “When I went to kick, I did not have as much as I wanted to, but in the end I did have enough and I am just so thankful to get up in front of a home crowd.”
Hepburn improved on his bronze medal a year ago in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, while Bobridge was one lower step on the podium. “This moment I have pictured thousands of times in my head, but you never really understand what it is like to win in front of a home crowd,” Hepburn said. Hepburn qualified fastest in 4 minutes 13.224 seconds, the third fastest time ever.
Only world record holder Bobridge and Chris Boardman from Great Britain have ridden quicker. Bobridge said while he was disappointed in losing his world title, Hepburn was a worthy winner. “Seeing such a great mate taking it off my back you know, being with Heppy is like a brother to me so it’s as good as me winning it myself in front of a home crowd,” Bobridge said. “We went one-two, I left everything out there today but I got beaten by the better guy on the day.”
Anna Meares lifted the roof at Hisense Arena after the Australian defended her Keirin title. Meares was fourth wheel at the bell but used her power on the outside to hit the front 50 metres from the finish. The 28-year-old crossed the line raising her fist, with Russian Ekaterina Gnidenko second and Germany’s Kristina Vogel third. Meares joins Frenchwoman Clara Sanchez as the only two-time world champions in the women’s keirin since its introduction in 2002.
The Australian said she was confident of winning with a lap and a quarter to go. “I knew that the girls would either be waiting or they’d commit to give me a nice target to run in to,” Meares said. “And with a lap and a quarter to go… I thought ‘bugger it, I’ve got to go’.”
Meares said she dealt with her disappointment in not winning the gold medal in the individual sprint on Friday despite really wanting it. Part of Meares’ therapy to overcome the sprint race was an ice bath, had a cry and a hug from her husband, Mark, so she could be ready for the keirin. “Aaarrgghh! After yesterday, I so wanted to fight hard for that one and I had to fight hard,” Meares said.
Having her first coach, Ken Tucker, in the velodrome to watch her win a gold medal was “really special”. Meares said Tucker noticed she could understand bike racing at age 11-years and he allowed her body to physically mature to catch up. “I was the first girl he ever coached and he said to me tonight, if he ever had a daughter he’d be proud, because he’s got all boys,” she said.
“It means a lot.”
The Australian said she would contest the 500 metres individual time trial on Sunday. She won her first world title on the same velodrome in 2004 before further success in 2007 and 2010.
Frenchman Gregory Bauge, is the men’s sprint king of the boards after winning his third individual sprint title in controversial circumstances which has been part and parcel of these champions with as many titles decided by judges as the physical ability of the riders.
Bauge defeated defending champion Jason Kenny 2-0 in the final. Reigning Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy from Great Britain beat Australia’s Shane Perkins two-nil for the bronze medal.
Bauge won the first heat of the finals comfortably in passing Kenny. In the second, Kenny jumped Bauge at the gun to make the three-lap race into an individual time trial, with the British rider pumping his right fist in crossing the line first. But controversy occurred for the second night running when commissaries relegated Kenny for not keeping his line within the sprinter’s lane and thus handed the title to Bauge.
Bauge said he had one goal left for 2012 after winning the world title. “The main event and object of the season remains the Olympic Games,” Bauge said. “Today has helped with that preparation and I don’t want to deviate from that.”
The Frenchman said he was ready for his opponents jumping him at the start of a race. “I think that, today, there are many riders who opt for this tactic,” he said. “It nearly worked but I was prepared.”
Bauge, World champion in 2009 and 2010, cruised through his earlier races unbeaten after qualifying in a world championship record. In the contest for Great Britain’s spot for the men’s sprint in London, Kenny placed a big marker ahead of Hoy. British Cycling performance director David Brailsford said last week performances in Melbourne would be a factor in deciding spots for London. As in 2011, Kenny repeated his effort in beating Hoy two-zero in the semi-final.
Kenny held off Hoy in the first heat and passed the 36-year-old in the finishing straight in the second. Hoy was unsure if that was the trial for Britain’s Olympic spot in the sprint at London. “I’ll have to wait and see,” Hoy said. “I’ve had five selection rounds this year and that was the final and most important one. If Jason gets it, he deserves it.”
Laura Trott won the final event of the women’s omnium to guarantee the Great Britain rider gold in the six-discipline event. Trott led Annette Edmondson by two points heading into the 500 metres time trial where the British cyclist finished first ahead of the Australian. The British rider finished with 28 points, while the 18-year-old from Adelaide claimed silver with 31.
Sarah Hammer won bronze with 36 points ahead of dual defending world champion Tara Whitten from Canada, on 39 points. It was Trott’s second gold medal after she was a member of the British team pursuit which defeated Australia, including Edmondson, for gold on Thursday. She was confident of winning the gold medal after the fifth event, the scratch race.
“Before the scratch race, I was really nervous, it’s such a hit and miss race, you never know what is going to happen and obviously all I needed to do was to finish one place in front of the Australian which I did,” Trott said.
Edmondson said winning two silver medals at her first senior world titles was really encouraging, especially as it was an Olympic year. With several personal bests in the timed events, Edmondson said she was on the right track for London while gaining more experience in the bunched races.
“I made a bit of a mistake in the elimination (race) but it’s all promising and with a bit more work, a gold (medal) at the Olympics is realistic,” she said.
For more information on the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, visit www.2012trackworlds.com.au