New world record for Meares

By Shane Stokes in Palma Anna Meares came to this world championship wanting to win back the 500 m...

By Shane Stokes in Palma

Anna Meares came to this world championship wanting to win back the 500 m TT title she took in 2004, but she also had another goal in mind; beating the world record of 33.944 seconds she set during the Sydney World Cup last November.

She duly delivered on that target, tearing around the two laps in a time of 33.588 seconds and going almost 0.4 seconds quicker than her old mark. That saw her finish well clear of the 34.015 seconds set by silver medallist Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez (Cuba) and the 34.430 seconds posted by Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus).

"When I came here, I honestly thought I could be chasing a world record," the Olympic champion said on Saturday evening. "Lisandra went very, very close to the old one. I was quite proud of myself, too, because I saw the quick time, I registered it, but I didn't let it affect my mental preparation. I saw it, though 'quick, great, now back to me'. Congratulations to her, too - she is only a second year senior and that is a fantastic performance on her part."

"I didn't really know until I finished how the time was going. When I saw it, I was just so happy. By the time I got to the 500, I was hurting little bit after two days of hard racing in the team sprint and the sprint. The fatigue was setting in, I was getting tired. My coach sat me down and said, 'look, you have had two hard days of racing and all I want from you tonight is just one effort. It doesn't matter what else comes from tonight.'"

"That was the thought process for me, I was just going to go out and do one effort as hard as I can. And lo and behold, I came up with bronze in the sprint as well."

Landing two medals on the same day is a very tough task, and particularly when her first heat against Guerra Rodriguez in the bronze medal ride-off came less than half an hour after she set her world record in the 500m TT. She said the right mental approach was crucial.

"It is difficult but the secret is doing one thing at a time, and that is what got me through these world championships. I have still got the keirin tomorrow but I didn't worry about the 500m TT until I got here tonight. Before that, it was just a case of getting through the team sprint, getting through round one of the sprint, get through round two, get through quarterfinals, get through semifinals.

"I lost the semifinals, I went home, had a nap and didn't even think about 500 until I got back here. It is just a matter of not looking too far ahead when you have got such a big programme. I have still got the keirin tomorrow. I will have drug testing tonight and hopefully I will get home, get a bite to eat and then get some sleep."

She said that she will take a relaxed approach on Sunday. "It is fun for me, I am not particularly stressed about the keirin. That works for me in that event. It can be too stressful, but I will just go out and go for it."

Longer term, she will have a shift in focus as she works towards the Olympics. "Having the world record is very special. It is just a shame that the 500 is not in the Beijing Games. I think it is a real disappointment, although I'm a little bit biased.

"I am a fan of the 500 but the sprint is still there and that is something that I need to work on. To be an Olympic champion this time round, you will have got to be the sprint champion and that is something that has eluded me my whole career so far. So next season will be focused on the sprint and not so much the time trial. I will still ride time trials but will be more about the sprint for me."

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