Commonwealth Games champion, Ben Kersten, collected two gold medals on the final day of competition at the Australian Track Cycling Championships in Sydney picking up the one kilometre time trial crown, his third straight, and backing up to win the inaugural men's omnium.
Kersten came into the Championships as the defending champion in the sprint, kilometre and keirin but, apart from a silver medal with the NSW trio in the teams sprint, he had struggled to find top form in the wake of back surgery last July.
"I haven't trained at all, it's been ten months since I did a standing start (in the kilometre at the World Championships in Bordeaux) so I'm just going through the motions at the moment," said Kersten who won the time trial gold with a time of 1min02.870sec. "It's a good confidence booster and a 1:02 when you're unfit is pretty good.
"I'm sort of getting used to the fact that I'm not on top of the world this week, so I'm not expecting to match last year's sort of things and I'm taking each day at a time and being happy with things within a race rather than the result," he said as he prepared to line up for a further four events to complete the five race omnium. "I was really hoping it wasn't (going to be a rebuilding year) and I would pick up where I left off. But they wouldn't operate until July and then it took me four months to be able to ride again."
But despite the setback Kersten put in a super effort today to also claim gold by winning three of the five events that make up the omnium. He opened with the kilometre time trial victory, followed by a second win in the flying 200m. Kersten was second in the scratch race, won the individual pursuit and did enough with his third place in the points race to cement his victory with 8 points, six ahead of silver medallist Joel Leonard with NSW rider, Jackson-Leigh Rathbone third.
"Because I'm not world class at the moment I'll try and eye something like the omnium (for World Championships) so I don't have a year off," he said. "I get to do an event that suits me, it's not an Olympic event, but it will keep me motivated and then I'm going to Japan in May (keirin racing) which will keep me fit through the winter which is good for me for when we start trying to put times on the board (ahead of Beijing selection)."
For a full report, results and photos from the final day of the Australian Track National Championships, click here.