Let the good times roll - SASI athletes celebrate success at #TrackNats22

What a week at the 2022 AusCycling Track National Championships in Brisbane.

Maeve Plouffe, Chloe Moran, Amber Pate and Alli Anderson

SASI athletes and graduates were outstanding, claiming several podium positions over the five-day event.

Highlights include:

Matthew Glaetzer winning his fifth elite men’s sprint national title and the men’s keirin.

Matthew Glaetzer knows what it means to go deep.

The triple-Olympian did just that on night one of the 2022 AusCycling Elite, Under-19, and Para Track Championships, winning the elite men’s sprint national title in a manner that signals the South Australian is back to his best.

The 29-year-old failed to drop a matchup all day at Brisbane’s Anna Meares Velodrome after qualifying second behind defending back-to-back champion Matthew Richardson (WA), who he would go on to defeat in the gold medal final.

“This is a big one. Didn’t really expect to be in this condition after starting training three or four months ag,” Glaetzer said.

“(I) had a big holiday after the (Olympic) Games and I’m just rebuilding for the Commonwealth Games later this year.

“This was just a chance to get into the race head again and (I) went deep tonight – I'm in absolute bits at the moment.

“Really, really happy to get the win – there was some tough racing out there and I was pushed all the way.”

Zac Marriage winning rollercoaster points race national championship.

18-year-old Zac Marriage has claimed a breakthrough win at the first time of asking at the elite level, stunning a deep elite men’s field in the dying stages of the 160-laps to grab gold.

The final 30 laps of the elite men’s points race was a deserving conclusion to one of the biggest points race fields seen at the Track Nationals in several years, with 24 riders on the start list.

Marriage’s path to victory began with an opportunistic lap-gain in a chaotic finale, with the only sprint points he received all night coming just before his group at the head of the race made the catch of the main bunch.

The three points earned from that the 10-laps to go sprint proved vital, with the teenager besting teammate Oliver Bleddyn by one point to win the title.

“The last couple of laps were pretty hectic, I was just going as hard as I could and when I looked up at the board and heard the commentator speaking it was pretty surreal,” Marriage said.

“We knew Oli (Bleddyn) is going really well at the moment and he has a really good sprint so I could just kind of ride my race and see how I went.”

Maeve Plouffe reclaiming the women’s individual pursuit national championship and smashing the championship record.

Plouffe won gold with a time of 3:22.557 and caught silver medallist Amber Pate (SA) with two laps to go in the 3000m event.

The 22-year-old now adds a second individual pursuit national championship to her trophy cabinet after winning in 2019.

“It was a race against the clock more than competitors for me today, so I was very competitive with myself, and I did want to get a personal-best, I didn’t quite hit that goal, but I think I had a bit of a personal-best in execution as weird as that sounds,” Plouffe said.

“I think my execution and my mental state out there … being calm and controlled which is something I’m trying to work on in a more technical side of my IP … I executed that better than previously.

“I didn’t have the legs today to do the times that I wanted, I really wanted to break that 3:20 mark again and potentially do a low 19 or high 18 but I think that is coming.

“I didn’t have the most incredible prep running into this, I actually had a bit of a concussion after the Madison Nationals, so I had to take a whole week off the bike with no riding at all for seven days, which is obviously not the best situation two or three weeks before a national championships.

“I was just accepting that this is where I am right now and I think I still went out pretty hard.”

The Tokyo Olympian became just the third woman in history to break the 3 minutes and 20 seconds barrier back in February at the 2022 AusCycling Track State Championships – South Australia at Adelaide Super-Drome, setting a new national record of 3:19.994.

Leigh Hoffman, Matthew Glaetzer, James Brister and Carlos Carisimo take out gold in the elite men’s team sprint.

South Australia has returned to the top of the men’s team sprint hierarchy, overpowering defending champions New South Wales in an electric gold medal final.

The trio of Leigh Hoffman, Matthew Glaetzer and James Brister led from start to finish to take gold by the slimmest of margins, with Thomas Cornish (NSW) unable to repeat his #TrackNats21 heroics and flip the script on the final lap, falling 0.2 seconds short of South Australia’s third man Brister.

South Australia has now won the men’s team sprint on six occasions over the last decade, while Glaetzer has now astonishingly won his 19th elite national championship.

Carlos Carisimo was the fourth member of the team on the podium after riding in qualifying.

South Australia smash team pursuit championship record to claim gold.

South Australia defended their women’s team pursuit national title on Day 4 of #TrackNats22 in a rapid championship record-setting time of 4:19.836.

The South Australian quartet of Maeve Plouffe, Amber Pate, Chloe Moran and Alli Anderson caught and passed Queensland seven laps into the gold medal final but were determined to push on and smash their own 2018 mark of 4:27.450, set by Plouffe, Annette Edmondson, Alexandra Manly and Breanna Hargrave.

“We wanted the Australian championship record, South Australia has a really rich history of doing really well in this event in the team pursuit at nationals,” Plouffe said.

“We’ve had teams in the past with Olympic and world champions, so to break the Australian championship record out here tonight in Brisbane with this team is absolutely incredible and I think the girls deserved it.”

Tuesday’s success adds another crown to South Australia’s dominance in the women’s team pursuit event, only relinquishing the title once since 2016 to New South Wales in 2020.

Plouffe said the depth of South Australian talent in the women’s field was a credit to the system put in place by coach Brett Aitken and the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI).

“I think all the girls in the team were brought through the program by Brett Aitken, so that’s incredible and I remember being here in 2018 breaking the Australian championship record and I think I got dropped from that team actually,” Plouffe said.

“It’s always been a fast team; we’ve always been pushing records and to be around that always having someone up there to chase ... I think that’s an integral part of performance and going well.

“This is also actually believe it or not the first time we’ve all ridden together as a team, obviously we’ve got some girls like Amber and Chloe in the Australian Cycling Team group in Adelaide and then the young girls are coming up.

“This is a great opportunity for the girls to get exposure to a fast team pursuit team and hopefully work their way up to Nations Cups and World Championship events.”

Moran ending #TrackNats22 with a bang

Having ended #TrackNats22 on a gold medal high, Chloe Moran is very quickly putting a bumpy COVID affected start to 2022 behind her.

The South Australian ended the elite women’s #TrackNats22 racing on Wednesday night in the best way possible, defending her points race national championship to make it three national championships for herself in Brisbane, after success in the omnium and team pursuit.

It’s a huge confidence booster for the Australian Cycling Team athlete, who was elevated to Podium Ready categorisation at the end of 2021 and was ready to stamp her mark on the summer of cycling with big goals in mind before a COVID infection derailed her summer racing schedule.

“I actually missed the whole summer of cycling out with COVID and then a few heart issues, so I had to have a month off the bike recently, so I’ve been consistently building my form since then and this is sort of the first racing back since coming back from COVID,” Moran said.

“I’m just keen to build the form throughout the season.

“I’m really stoked tonight though, to defend this title is extra special.

“The points race was my first-ever individual title in under-19s I believe, so it’s an event I really enjoy and I was stoked to get that tonight.

“I’m pretty happy with the week.”

Leo Zimmermann winning the under-19 scratch with a daring flyer.

Eighteen-year-old Leo Zimmermann (SA) has left his mark as a name to remember in the aftermath of #TrackNats22, adding a sensational scratch race national championship to his tally following individual pursuit (IP) success the day prior.

Zimmermann brought the crowd to their feet as he launched a lethal attack with five laps to go, creating a gap and holding it narrowly to the finish line.

The moment was delirium for the South Australian, who soaked in the moment.

“The IP yesterday was emotion whereas today was just excitement - I can’t believe it, it’s crazy,” Zimmermann said.

“I saw Cam (Rogers) and Tarun (Cook) were sort of pinned up high by a line of riders at the top of the track and it was short enough range (to the finish) and I just went bang and got a gap and somehow held that gear at bay and crossed the line first.

“I couldn’t believe it, I was on a cloud – I can barely remember it, it was just insane.

“I will relive that one for a little bit.”

Max Liebeknecht, Dylan Stanton and Jackson Williams bringing home gold in the U19 men’s team sprint.

Darren Hicks claiming top position on the podium in the Para C2 men individual pursuit.

Candice Kennedy (with pilot Kelly Fettes) winning the Para women’s tandem individual pursuit in national record time along with the sprint.

Beau Wooton (with pilot Luke Zaccaria) taking out first place in the Para C2 men time trial.

Check out all the results on the AusCycling website.