Belinda Goss, Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch collect gold at the UCI Track World Cup in Manchester.
Goss gold at Manchester World Cup
Tasmanian Belinda Goss has opened Australia’s gold medal campaign at the opening round of the UCI Track World Cup in Manchester.
The 25 year old proved too strong in the final sprint to claim victory in the scratch race ahead of Russian Evgeniya Romanyuta and American Shelly Olds (Proman Racing). Sydney’s Skye Lee Armstrong (Rodin) finished fourth.
“I’m really stoked,” said Goss who was the bronze medallist in the event at the 2009 World Championships. “I’ve managed a few podiums on the track but it’s really exciting to win one.”
Goss and five other riders broke clear with 28 laps remaining and lapped the field setting themselves up to contest the medals.
“The group worked really well but I wasn’t quite sure at the end whether I had won,” said Goss. “It was an anxious wait.”
In the men’s keirin Great Britain’s Sir Chris Hoy was unbeatable leading from start to finish to win the gold medal. Victorian Jason Niblett (Team Jayco) was fourth while his compatriot Shane Perkins was bundled out in the second round and finished ninth after crossing the line third in the B final.
Team Jayco’s Scott Sunderland (WA) was half a second outside his personal best with his time of 1min02.626sec which put him in fifth place in the event won by the reigning World Champion Stefan Nimke of Germany in 1min01.293sec.
In the women’s sprint Olympic silver medallist Anna Meares finished fifth after losing her quarter final match up with China’s Shuang Guo. The Queenslander qualified seventh fastest and won her first round against Russian Victoria Baranova but in the quarter finals Guo got the upper hand to knock Meares out of medal contention. But she won the ride off for fifth to eighth to collect valuable World Championship qualification points. Her team mate Kaarle McCulloch, qualified eighth fastest but was bundled out of the first round by Germany’s Miriam Welte.
Reigning Olympic and World Champion and home crowd favourite Victoria Pendleton won the sprint gold but not without a fight. Pendleton took the first of the best of three races against Guo but the Chinese sprinter snatched victory in the second race forcing Pendleton into a third race to decide the gold medal.
Great Britain, as expected on their home track, were dominant claiming four of the six gold medals on offer on day one of competition.
Meares and McCulloch triumph in Manchester
Anna Meares scored an emphatic win in the 500 metre time trial at the opening round of the UCI Track World Cup in Manchester before pairing with fellow World Champion Kaarle McCulloch to also claim gold in the team sprint.
Meares, the former world record holder and silver medallist at this year World Championships, posted a time of 33.632sec, two tenths faster than second placed Victoria Pendleton (GBR – Sky+HD) who clocked 33.838sec with Dutch rider Willy Kanis third in 33.984sec. Reigning World Champion and record holder, Simona Krupeckaite (LTU) couldn’t get under 34 seconds and finished in fourth place.
“It’s nice to get a good ride as it’s been a while since I’ve raced internationally,” said Meares whose last international outing was the Beijing Olympic Games where she claimed silver in the sprint. “I’m really happy and the more this tournament has moved on the more comfortable I’ve been getting.”
The 26 year old Queenslander then joined 21 year old Sydney rider McCulloch for the team sprint with the pair wearing the rainbow stripes of reigning World Champions.
They posted the fastest time in qualifying (33.363sec) to set up a gold medal ride against Dutch pair Yvonne Hijgenaar and Willy Kanis who were six tenths off the Australian pace in 33.949sec in qualifying.
In the medal round Meares was the only rider to post a sub-19 second first lap clocking 18.754sec and giving McCulloch a perfect platform to bring home the win with a final time of 33.653sec, half a second better than the Dutch (34.014sec). Germany defeated Great Britain for the bronze medal.
“I’ve been struggling a bit with sickness which has affected my preparation so I’m really pleased we got the win,” said McCulloch.
“It’s been great but I’ve done a lot of work to get here,” Meares said. “I wanted to start the season well and I’ve done that for sure.”
In the women’s 3km individual pursuit West Australian Josephine Tomic couldn’t match the experience of Britain’s Wendy Houvenhagel in the gold medal final. Houvenhagel in 3min30.800sec was almost ten seconds faster in the qualifying round than Tomic 3min39.854sec and in the final went out hard overtaking Tomic with a few laps remaining.
“I was trying to do a personal best but that didn’t happen,” said 20 year old Tomic who was the Junior World Champion in the two kilometre distance in 2007. “It’s only my second year at elite level and Wendy was just too good for me.”
Dutch rider Vera Koedoorer claimed the bronze medal.
Victoria’s Shane Perkins, 22, qualified fourth fastest for the men’s sprint and won his way through to a bronze medal ride against Jason Kenny where the British rider proved to strong defeating Perkins in two straight heats of the best of three medal round.
Canberra’s Dan Ellis, 21, (Team Jayco) drew the short straw with his seeding coming up against an unbeatable Sir Chris Hoy (GBR – Sky+HD) in the quarter finals.
Hoy then made short work of Perkins in the semi-final before easily beating compatriot Matthew Crampton for the gold medal giving the home team a clean sweep of the sprint podium.
In the Madison Australia’s Leigh Howard and Glenn O’Shea, both 20, won the first sprint but couldn’t snag any more points and finished in eighth place. No laps were taken in the race which was won by Belgians Kenny De Ketele and Tim Mertens who collected 17 points one more than Germany’s Roger Kluge and Robert Bartko. Russia’s Sergey and Alexey Shmidt claimed bronze with 11 points.
Yesterday’s scratch race winner Belinda Goss, 25, had a bumpy ride into the points race final after crashing with three other riders in her qualifying heat. But the Tasmanian rejoined the race to earn a start in the medal final. Goss scored seven points to finish fifth with the victory going to Great Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead who amassed 16 points. Cuban Yumari Gonzalez was second with 11 points and Russian Evgeniya Romanyuta collected the bronze medal with 10 points.
There is one day of competition remaining in Manchester before attention turns to Australia. Next weekend’s International Grand Prix in Perth will see a host of stars in action including Meares, Goss, Tomic, Perkins and Cameron Meyer.
The world’s star track cyclists will then line up in Melbourne for the second round of the Track World Cup being held at the Hisense Arena from 19 to 21 November.
Source: Cycling Australia