Australia claimed the first world championship on offer at the 2016 UCI Track World Championships in London on Wednesday as Canberra?s Rebecca Wiasak defended her individual pursuit crown.
Anna Meares (SA) and Steph Morton (SA) finished fourth in the women?s team sprint, while Glenn O?Shea (SA) was fifteenth in the men’s scratch race.
Earlier in the day, the trio of Matthew Glaetzer (SA), Nathan Hart (ACT) and Patrick Constable (SA) missed the medal rounds by just one millisecond in the team sprint, finishing fifth overall.
While in the men?s team pursuit, Australia will face defending champions New Zealand in Thursday?s first round after posting the second fastest time in qualifying.
Women’s Individual Pursuit
Canberra?s Rebecca Wiasak (ACT) secured back-to-back pursuit world titles with a dominant performance in the women?s event on Wednesday.
Wiasak blitzed the afternoon qualifying session with a Lee Valley Velopark track record time of 3mins 31.287secs, over three seconds faster than Poland?s Malgorzata Wojtyra (3:34.519).
In the final, Wiasak wowed the sell out parochial British crowd as she established an advantage of 1.4 seconds after the opening kilometre. Wiasak doubled her margin by the half way mark and continued to drive the pedals toward another rainbow jersey, storming home over the final kilometre to claim the gold in 3mins 34.099secs, nearly eight seconds clear of Wojtyra (3:41.904).
?I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to defend my title,? said a humble Wiasak after pulling on her second career rainbow jersey from two starts. ?It is an incredible feeling. I am thrilled to be able to have pulled it off and feels just as special as last year.
?You come to the World Championship wanting to win, but everything has to come together on the day, I had full faith in the staff around me, Sutto (Gary Sutton), Ian McKenzie. They all got me here today.
?And velodrome record this morning and a time of 3.31, which is world class. But the jersey and the gold medal just top off that record.?
Women?s Team Sprint
In the women?s team sprint, three-time world champion Anna Meares (SA) and Stephanie Morton (SA) were narrowly edged by Germany in the bronze medal final by just one tenth of a second.
In the final, Meares launched Australia out of the gate and to a narrow advantage after the opening lap. However a late surge by Germany saw them surge ahead in the dying stages to take the bronze medal in 32.740secs, just ahead of Australia (32.871).
?Disappointing, obviously, but at the same time I think it’s quite justified as to where we are, what we’re targeting and what our goals are,? said Meares. ?I feel like both Steph and I did a really good job, yes we have work to do but we’re not out of the picture.?
Meares and Morton along with McCulloch will now line up on Thursday in the keirin.
Men?s Team Sprint
One millisecond. That is all that separated Australia from a medal ride in the afternoon qualifying, with Matthew Glaetzer (SA), Nathan Hart (ACT) and debutant Patrick Constable (SA) finishing fifth overall.
Riding in the fifth of seven heats in qualifying, the trio posted a time of 33.497secs, the second fastest of the competition to that point.
In the very next heat, they were eclipsed by Germany (33.496) by just 0.001secs, before the final two teams to hit the track and the winners of the past two titles New Zealand (43.096) and France (43.487) – pushed Australia into fifth and out of the medal rounds by the narrowest of margins.
?It’s frustrating for sure. We came here to race finals, but at the same time, that’s sport,? said Glaetzer, the 2012 team sprint world champion. ?But we won the 2012 world title by that same margin, that?s just sport.
?We’ve got such a young team and it’s the first time we raced with that threesome, so to be in the mix with the big countries at this time of year is really encouraging,? added Glaetzer.
Glaetzer and Constable now look to the sprint and keirin events, while first-wheel specialist Hart?s campaign is over after just one lap of the London Velodrome.
Men?s Scratch Race
In an animated men?s scratch race, Glenn O?Shea (SA) finished fifteenth. In a race that was on from the gun, Lucas Liss (GER), Chris Latham (GBR), Moreno De Pauw (BEL) and Roman Gladysh (UKR) formed an early move. O’Shea unleashed a burst of speed in an attempt to bridge across, however this fell just short as the quartet claimed a lap ahead of the half way mark.
Men?s Team Pursuit
Australia will face defending champions New Zealand in Thursday?s first round of the men?s team pursuit after posting the second fastest time in Wednesday qualifying.
The third last team of 14 to set to the track, five-time world champion Michael Hepburn (QLD) and 2014 world champion Miles Scotson (SA)teamed with debutants Alex Porter (SA) and Sam Welsford (WA) went to the top of the scoreboard with a scorching time of 3mins 55.867secs.
In the very next heat, the Great Britain outfit featuring six-time world champion Sir Bradley Wiggins, edged the Australians into second fastest by just two tenths of a second (3:55.664).
?I think we had a good ride, certainly for a qualifying ride it was quick,? said Hepburn, in his first ride for Australia at the World Championships since 2013. ?It was all about execution today. I think pacing-wise we executed it as we planned.”
The finals will be held on Thursday evening.