Sit down, pour yourself a red (if you’re old enough) and let’s just appreciate exactly what it is our Aussie women have achieved over the last week at the UCI track world championships in Paris.
Australia were the second last team to take the track. For the first time in world championship history the team qualified with the fastest time for 4000 metres. Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondsom and Melissa Hoskins got through the 16 laps in 4:18.135, almost two seconds quicker than their national record from three weeks ago.
Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch qualified fourth fastest with a time of 32.878 in the team sprint. Later that night they beat triple defending world champions Germany with a time of 32.723 to win the bronze medal.
Australia easily outrides New Zealand in the team pursuit to book a spot in the final. The Aussies not only win gold but they SMASH the world record! The girls set a time of 4:13.683 which is almost three seconds quicker than the previous record – set at altitude – of 4:16.552 held by Great Britain. The Brits have dominated this event for years, winning the past four world championships but were only good enough for the silver medal this time.
Relive the action here via UCIchannel.
500m time trial
Anna Meares put the challenge out there to the other riders in the 500m time trial. 33.425 was her time to beat. It was a nervous wait on the sideline for Meares as the other riders attempted to beat her time. She was sitting in the gold medal position until the last rider – Anastasia Voynova of Russia – rode 33.149. This pushed Meares to second where she claimed a silver medal. This is her 25th world championship medal.
What a great story this is. Rebecca Wiasak, 30 years old, started out as a 400m runner. Then went to triathlon. Then went to road cycling. And found herself in track cycling. No funding, the last rider to miss out on a world champs then comm games. She was the last rider selected to go to #trackworlds this year and was hoping to get a gig in the team pursuit, once again she missed out. She did, however, get a chance in the 3000m individual pursuit.
As the oldest Australian debutante ever, Wiasak set a national record of 3:27.018 to qualify in her first appearance on the world stage. She then rode 3:30.305 to win gold by 3.5 seconds. Fellow Aussie Amy Cure rode 3:32.907 to claim the bronze medal. Watch both of the girls via UCIchannel.
Stephanie Morton got through to the semis for the sprint race by beating Great Britain’s Jess Varnish 2-0.
Stephanie Morton couldn’t quite match it with China’s Tianshi Zhong and misses out on bronze.
Annette Edmondson sits nicely on 98 points in second overall after three events.
After three rounds of team pursuit and two rounds of individual pursuit, Amy Cure won silver in the 10km race, which meant she now had a gold, silver and bronze for the championships.
Edmonton wins two sprints throughout the final event to finish with 192 points and the gold medal. The points race was the polish, most of the work was done by winning both the 500m time trial and flying lap. She came fifth in the 10km scratch, second in the 3km individual pursuit and seventh in the elimination race for the other events.
This event starts with heartbreak for the Aussies. Stephanie Morton should have been in the final with Anna Meares but got a puncture on the first lap and wasn’t allowed to line up in the restart that followed.
With a lap to go in the final Meares went to the front of the group and from there no one was going to catch her. She went on to win gold and make her the most successful women’s track cyclist ever. She now has 11 world titles which is one clear of her hero Felicia Ballanger, who she got to meet after the race. Her total for world championship medals: 11 gold, eight silver and six bronze. I challenge you to name someone more ‘champion’ than Anna Meares in women’s sport right now..