Olympic and Commonwealth Games champion, Ryan Bayley, 24, picked up his second ever senior national crown tonight when he won the sprint at the Australian Track Cycling Championships at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome. In a repeat of the 2003 final, Bayley lined up against Victorian Mark French, 22, who despite posting the fastest 200m qualifying time was no match for the experience of the West Australian champion who claimed the gold in two straight in the best of three heats.
"I think I've raced more races than him," said Bayley who admits his qualifying time of 10.400 seconds, more than a tenth of a second slower than French gave the Victorian the edge on paper. "Speed wise I don't have much speed at the moment but I have a lot of horsepower and determination ..."
Bayley led out from the bell in the first heat and opened up a big gap on his rival. "I've noticed with a lot of sprinters that if you beat them once you've beaten them, but with me if you beat me once you're in a lot of trouble," explained Bayley.
French agreed that lining up against Bayley can be intimidating. "He took me for a ride and I can't explain how frustrating it is," said French. "It's a bit of a confidence thing you have to get over when you're racing Ryan and I think he's already one up when you go to the line.
"Hard to get the right tactics against him and definitely after the first one the thought of having to race him three times - it doesn't appeal too much," said French. "I was trying to get to the front but there was no door to open and it's one of the frustrating things with racing him and in that last one he took me for a ride."
Anna Meares one step closer
Queensland star Anna Meares, who last night won the sprint title, moved another event closer to her goal of a gold medal clean sweep in the women's sprint events when she paired with sister Kerrie to win the women's teams sprint. The Meares pair posted a new Australian best time of 34.553 seconds to win gold.
The duo continued Queensland's unbeaten run of victory in the event which was introduced in 2002 and in which a Meares sister has figured every year, both for four of the six wins.
"It's really special for the Queensland girls the way ... [we] have been able to dominate that event since it's beginning at nationals and I hope we can keep it in our state," said Anna.
"We're really impressed - both jaws have dropped [when we heard the time] we were staring at each other going 'holy crap,'" laughed Anna Meares. "I said to her I reckon that was your lap cause I didn't feel so good and she said I reckon it was your lap cause I didn't feel so good - so we'll both take it."