South Australia’s Jack Bobridge broke the unbreakable this afternoon with a scintillating world record ride in the men’s 4km individual pursuit at the 2011 Scody Cycling Australia Track National Championships.
Bobridge, 21, scorched around the hot and humid Dunc Gray Velodrome to post the new mark of 4:10.534 eclipsing the 15 year old record of 4:11.114 set by Great Britain’s Chris Boardman at the 1996 World Championships in Manchester by more than half a second (0.580)
Boardman’s time was set using the now-banned ‘superman’ position whilst Bobridge set was was considered the ‘unofficial’ world record in the conventional position at last year’s Australian Championships in Adelaide.
"I can’t really explain it at the moment, I am still stunned,” exclaimed Bobridge, “I didn’t think that (record) was going to come for a long time, I certainly didn’t think it would come while I was on the track.
“To come around and see that on the board, I was honestly quite shocked.
"I thought the clock had stopped a lap early, so I had to look at it a few times, but then I saw everyone going crazy, and then it started to get a little overwhelming,” added Bobridge. His splits over the distance saw him clock 1:06.477 for the first kilometre, 2:07.270 for the second kilometre, 3:08.798 for the third kilometre before he brought it home with a final kilometre just under 1:02.
Before his record breaking ride, Bobridge was forced to watch as fellow South Australian Rohan Dennis posted the second fastest time in history with 4:13.399 during his heat. Dennis’ time broke the Australian, Australian Championship and the All Comers record for the fastest time on Australian soil, held by Bobridge.
“Today, when Rohan came out before me and pulled a 4:13, I was sitting in my seat and I was definitely scared,” said Bobridge, adding “But I am quite a competitive bike rider and obviously I didn’t want all my records to be taken.”
Bobridge’s last competitive individual pursuit came at last November’s Oceania Championships and last month he was crowned Australian elite men’s road race champion and finished runner up in the time trial at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships. He has just wrapped up the Santos Tour Down Under in South Australia with his professional team Garmin-Cervelo and flies out tomorrow to race the Tour of Qatar.
“I had no idea that I was going to ride that today as I haven’t really been on the track since Oceania’s, and have been training hard on the road, so to come here and ride that it is a massive surprise,” said Bobridge. “This morning I decided to come down a gear because it is quite humid in here and obviously it was the right decision, it was perfect gearing.
“Then after the first few laps, once I got my breathing right, I knew I was on. I really controlled that third kilometre and tried to stay comfortable and then really let everything out over the last four laps.”
Bobridge returned to the track tonight for the gold medal final against Dennis. The pair both went out hard from the gate with Bobridge up at the halfway point before Dennis surged to a lead of 0.2 seconds at the 3km mark. That forced Bobridge to dig deep which he did to claw back the lead and crack his younger rival.
Bobridge crossed the line in 4:15.533 to clinch the gold medal with Dennis taking home the silver medal with his time of 4:17.482.
"I knew it was always going to be a good battle, Rohan put up an awesome challenge and I had to respond and luckily I did," said Bobridge. "I had a feeling he was going to have a go at me, but unfortunately he made his move too early with eight laps to go so I stayed calm and just waited till the last few laps and thankfully he got a bit tired and I was able to bring it home.
In the women’s final, Bobridge’s partner, West Australia’s Josephine Tomic, 21, claimed her third Australian pursuit title with a dominant display in the final against elite debutant Amy Cure, 18, from Tasmania.
The pair have much in common from a cycling perspective with Cure breaking Tomic’s junior world record for the 2km pursuit at last year’s Junior World Championships.
Despite a quick start from Cure in the final, fastest qualifier Tomic used her experience to overcome her younger opponent over the longer distance, crossing the line in 3:35.829, just over three seconds ahead of Cure’s 3:39.000.
"I was pretty disappointed to lose it last year so it is a nice feeling to have it back," said Tomic, the 2009 and 2008 champion, who clocked two person best times in competition today.
"Amy is only in her first year in the three kilometre, so I am kind of lucky that this was her second real one, otherwise I might have been in real trouble," said Tomic of her young challlenger.
After having her wisdom teeth extracted in December last year, Tomic believes that the forced time away from training helped her preparation for the championships.
"I had about two weeks where I was not doing anything, but at the same time, it forced me to kind of rush things over the last month and it seems to have worked," she said.
In the bronze medal ride, it was neck and neck between West Australia’s Melissa Hoskins and New South Wales’ Kate Bates over the first two kilometres, however Hoskins pulled away in the final few laps to cross the line in 3:41.065 to take the bronze medal over Bates who posted 3:44.214.
On his eighteenth birthday, Jackson Law (NSW) won gold in the under 19 men’s individual pursuit posting 3:17.913 in the final against Victoria’s Alexander Morgan (3:20.062).
"When I saw that the individual pursuit was on my birthday, I really wanted to win it as it’s my favourite event," said Law, the 2010 team pursuit junior world champion. "This is as good as the junior world championships as this is my main event, and there are so many good riders here doing great times, so it is a real honour to win this."
In the under 19 women’s 2km individual pursuit only two tenths of a second separated Queensland’s Emily Roper and South Australia’s Letitia Custance in qualifying, but Roper blitzed her competitor in the final, crossing the line in 2:28.721 ahead of Custance’s 2:31.836.
"I am pretty stoked with my effort today," said Roper, who took silver in the omnium final that was decided on Monday. "I was pretty surprised to come second in the omnium on Monday, so to come out with the win here, I am just so happy."
Omnium gold medalist Queensland’s Taylah Jennings (2mins30.348secs) won the bronze medal ahead if Tasmanian Georgia Baker (2:31.11).
In the women’s team sprint final, two-time reigning world champions Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch faced off in separate teams for the final. New South Wales pair of McCulloch and Cassandra Kell defeated South Australians Meares and Stephanie Morton.
Led out by Kell, the hometown team had a solid leadof 0.670 after the first lap and in the second lap McCulloch went head to head with Meares who was unable to claw back the deficit. McCulloch stopped the clock in an Australian Championship record 34.132 with SA posting 34.735.
"To ride with Cass this year, who rode so fantastically tonight, it is a really good achievement for both of us," said McCulloch, 22, who successfully defended her title after partnering Madison Lawto victory in 2010.
"To go up against Anna in a sprint match or a time trial, I sort of know what to expect," explained McCulloch who paired with Meares to win the 2009 and 2010 team sprint world titles. "But in this it was very strange and very daunting to see her in the rainbow colours on the opposite side of the track.
Likewise Meares saw the funny side of an unusual situation.
"It was a ‘bit of a giggle’ strange, but it was a good little battle between Kaarle and I as we always have a lot of fun," said Meares, 27, who won the title five times whilst representing Queensland, but who rode tonight in the unfamiliar second wheel position. "And as far as I am concerned, Kaarle can have the second wheel, it hurts."
The West Australian pair of Holly Williams and Allie Proud (36.159) took the bronze medal over Victoria’s under 19 pairing of Adele Sylvester and Caitlin Ward (36.708).
In the men’s kilometre time trial, Jackson Leigh Rathbone (1:03.335) of New South Wales took the gold medal by less than three one hundredths of a second over team mate Scott Law (1:03.360), with James Glasspool (SA) taking the bronze (1:03.664).
Victoria’s Rick Sanders won the under 19 men’s 10km scratch race ahead of the New South Wales pair of Tirian McManus and Caleb Ewan.
"I am pretty stoked, the last few weeks I have had a pretty big build up to this and had a pretty successful Oceanias considering this time last year I was a full time sprinter," said Sanders, 17, who took the silver medal in the omnium held earlier in the week. "Luckily I had my team mate Jack Cummings hitting out with two laps to go, and coming up with a lap to go, I knew the quickest guys were all behind me so I dug as deep as I could on the back straight and it worked," added Sanders.
The 2011 Scody Cycling Australia Track National Championships run from Sunday January 30 to Sunday February 6 at Sydney’s Dunc Gray Velodrome.
A detailed event schedule, ticketing information, entry list and results can be found on the Cycling Australia website.
Source: Cycling Australia