Australia dominates home World Cup
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Australia dominates home World Cup

by Conal Andrews at 7:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track
Cycling Australia has been pushing hard to get back up to speed against arch-rivals Britain. Its riders showed they mean business with a dominant performance at their home World Cup in Melbourne, where Australia won eight out of the seventeen events.

Anna Meares was the most impressive in winning the keirin, sprint and the 500 metre time trial. The latter saw her record the second fastest time in history, while in the keirin she came from the back of the group with two laps remaining to edge past Guo Shuang (China) and Christin Muche (Germany).

"I was really quite worried about the load this evening and once the 500 (time trial) was out the way, I really didn't get the chance to celebrate, I was straight into the mindset of the keirin," Meares said. "I was tired, I was hurting, but bumped the gear up and I actually felt half decent."

Her second-ever World Cup gold medal in the event is significant, as in January 2008 she suffered a serious fall in the keirin. That almost ended her career, but she fought back to take silver in Beijing.

"In a big way, it's really a matter of one, riding keirin to get comfortable and two, adapting to new gears, new race styles and adapting when things don't go to plan,” she explained. “That's something that's hard for me to do, because I’m not always the most patient of people."

Other Aussie team victories were achieved in the men’s points race (Cameron Meyer) and team pursuit (Meyer, Luke Durbridge, Rohan Dennis, Michael Hepburn), while the Australians riding with the Jayco pro team won gold in three events.

Shane Perkins and Scott Sunderland each earned two, the riders winning the sprint and 1km time trial respectively, then combined with Daniel Ellis to take the team sprint.

Perkins commented afterwards on his duel with Frenchman Kevin Sireau in the sprint. "The home town crowd really gave me the advantage because my legs were a bit tired," he stated. "We then had to reassess our tactics and it paid off against Sireau.

"I was either going under or over if he left the door open, I was going for it and I did. Luckily Sireau's a fantastic guy who saw I had him and didn't ride me down the track and cause a crash. I don't know what else I can say, I've got the gold and I'm very, very happy."

Sunderland dedicated his kilo win to his Grandmother Coral, who passed away recently. He said that she had given a lot to help his athletic career.

“I was a bit unsure coming here because my Nan passed away straight after Manchester (World Cup) and I got home to see her before she passed," said Sunderland. “So since then, if she can hold on, I can go through whatever pain she did. She helped me get to where I am today If I ever needed support or funding she would always help me, no matter what. I owe a lot to her, so it’s good to do this for her tonight."

New Zealand finished second overall in the World Cup, netting a number of medals including four golds. These were in the men’s scratch race (Thomas Scully), the men’s Madison (Marc Ryan and Thomas Scully), the men’s individual pursuit (Jesse Sergent) and the women’s team pursuit (Kaytee Boyd, Lauren Ellis and Alison Shanks).

The normally-dominant Great Britain left some of its top riders at home and lost out as a result, netting just one gold medal out of the seventeen events. This went to women’s individual pursuit rider Wendy Houvenaghel. Reigning world road race champion Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) won the women’s points race, while Evgeniya Romanyuta (Russia) was the best in the women’s scratch race.

China and German also went home after visits to the top of the podium, thanks to Jinjie Gong and Lin Junhong (women’s team sprint) and Carsten Bergemann (men’s keirin).

After two legs, Australia tops the overall World Cup standings. It has 210 points, 11 points ahead of Britain, with Germany a further ten points back in third. The penultimate round will be held in Cali, Colombia, from December 10-12.

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