Brilliant Aussies set scorching pace at world championships

Brilliant Aussies set scorching pace at world championships

Eleven medals, including six gold medals and a world record, were among the highlights of Australia's outstanding return at the UCI Track Cycling World Championship in Pruszkow, Poland, between February 27 and March 3

Annette Edmondson

AUSTRALIA'S highly regarded cycling team starred again on the big stage with 11 medals and an overall second placing behind the Netherlands at the recent UCI Track Cycling World Championship in Pruszkow, Poland.

There were highlights everywhere with Australia's men's and women's pursuit teams winning gold medals, beating Great Britain each time.

Not to be content to just win the men's pursuit, the team of Sam Welsford, Kelland O'Brien, Leigh Howard (ex road athlete) and Alex Porter (SASI graduate) stormed home to set another world record of 3:48.012, beating their 3:49.804 set at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last year with coach Tim Decker again calling the shots.

For Porter it was a stunning comeback after breaking a collarbone and ribs and puncturing a lung about two months ago.

"I spent more time rehabbing than I have riding my bike this season and 10 weeks ago, when I'd broken 10 bones and punctured a lung, I was hoping just to make it here," Porter said at the track.

Alex Porter (Middle)

An hour later Welsford produced a stunning effort to win the scratch race.

In the women's team pursuit the inspired combination of Annette Edmondson (SASI graduate), Ashlee Ankudinoff, Alex Manly (SASI graduate), Georgia Baker and Amy Cure grabbed the gold in 4:14.33 over Great Britain in 4:14.537.

Annette Edmondson (far left) and Alex Manly (far right)

Ashlee also took out the individual pursuit. Alex Manly finished the meet strongly with a gold in the points race (29 points), while Georgia Baker/Amy Cure won silver in the women's madison.

Alex Manly

Steph Morton (SASI graduate) and Kaarle McCulloch also had outstanding competitions. Morton paired with McCulloch to win the women's team sprint gold medal by beating Russia Federation. Morton also won a silver medal in the women's sprint, beaten by Hong kong's Wai Sze Lee, to give the SASI and national champ three consecutive medals at the past three world championships.

Steph Morton (Left)

Morton also finished fourth in the women's keirin, also won by Wai Sze Lee. McCulloch was on the podium again with a bronze in the women's 500m time trial and silver in the women's keirin. Matt Glaetzer (SASI graduate) found tough competition in aiming to defend his men's sprint title by finishing fourth in the battle for the bronze medal - beaten by Poland's Mateusz Rudyk.

Steph Morton (right)

The Australian team, based in Adelaide, was outstanding - finishing top six in all bar one Olympic event. Seventeen nations won medals with Australia finishing one medal behind the Netherlands (four silver to three) with both outfits winning six gold medals.

Meanwhile, Glaetzer is expected to head to Japan at the end of March for three months to compete in the keirin series. There, he will race on the Olympic track which he says should hold him in good stead for the Tokyo Olympics.

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