Australia's team pursuiters know pressure comes with success

Russians making gains ahead of critical 2012

There may be 491 days until the London 2012 Olympic Games begin, and another world championship competition to be run and won however back-to-back team pursuit world champions Australia know the pressure to perform is only going to increase.

The foursome of Jack Bobridge, 21, Rohan Dennis, 20, Michael Hepburn, 19, and debutant Luke Durbridge, 19, were the only team of the competition to ride under four minutes for the four kilometre, 16 lap event.

Clocking a time of 3:57.832, the Australians defeated the Russians (4:02.229) in the gold medal ride off.

Hepburn explained following the win that all eyes were on the Australians as defending champions.

"There was a lot of pressure and a lot of teams looking at us as the top team here," Hepburn explained. "Some class competition out there but the track was a little bit slower than we expected and we were a little bit surprised by some of the times in qualifying but in saying that we knew we had to be right on our game and not let our ball down."

And the Russian team might just be the team to watch heading into the big events next year with the Australian men's track endurance coach, Ian McKenzie coach saying he was happy for the added competition.

"There's no doubt the Russians are coming," said McKenzie. "Our plan was to ride to schedule on a 3.58 to the 2km mark and then see where we were against them but they hit the front (on lap six) so we started racing then.

"I'd much rather have a race than qualifying, just going for a time. To get a good time is rewarding but I reckon it's all about the racing for me, for the spectators and the riders enjoy it more too."

Durbridge claims maiden elite world title

Western Australia's Luke Durbridge, a three-time world champion as a junior was left feeling overwhelmed by his first senior title.

"I'm lost for words a little bit and it will take a while to sink in," he explained. "I trained with these guys all last year and the year before and it's so good to come here and experience it. It keeps you hungry for the next year and I'm really happy and glad I could win it with these guys."

Durbridge had fallen just short of earning a place on last year's team for the world championships in Copenhagen so the result went some of the way to making up for the disappointment felt with his omission.

"Durbridge's made a huge step from last year and I'm very pleased with the way he went in both rides today but the big bonus for me is now he'll be even hungrier to make the Olympic team and the more the better," said McKenzie.


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