On the third day, Meares made it three

Australia top of world cup, New Zealand punches above its weight

Australia advanced up the World Cup standings on the final night of competition in Melbourne, becoming the meet’s best team and the highest ranked nation after two rounds of this season’s series.

A brace of victories for Anna Meares made it three gold medals in three days for the women’s team sprint World Champion, claiming the keirin and her pet event, the 500m time trial. New Zealand made a great impression in the endurance events with two gold medals on the final night, taking the men’s Madison and the women’s team pursuit.

Men’s Madison

New Zealand provided the crowd with an indication of things to come on the final night as the duo of Tom Scully and Marc Ryan took out an engaging Madison. Riding with poise beyond his years, Scully built upon his success in the last night’s scratch race to ride intelligently with Ryan.

Ryan’s experience at this level shone through whilst Scully’s raw power provided the horsepower necessary to negate the advantage gained early by the Ukrainian team of Sergiy Lagkuti and Myhaylo Radionov. Ukraine’s representatives hit out shortly after the first sprint and within the space of 10 laps had put the field on the back foot as it went down one lap.

While Spain’s pairing of Unai Elorriaga and Antonio Tauler put in a spirited effort in an attempt to counter Ukraine’s advantage, their endeavors were in vain – save for collecting the points in the sixth sprint - as the Kiwis and Polish team brought the field back.

Soon after the New Zealanders were at it again, setting off with the Germany’s two riders in pursuit of a lap on the field to draw level with the Ukrainian duo and did so following the penultimate sprint. With a maximum of 10 points on offer the ‘men in black’ took out both remaining sprints using a combination of positioning and horsepower to secure 15 points in the finale and take the gold medal.

Waiting for his second appearance on top of the World Cup podium this meet, Scully modestly appraised the duo’s performance. "Marc’s got the experience and I just like to be able to get in the right position at the right time," said Scully. "The young guys keep me young," said Ryan, who at 27 is one of the squad’s older members.

"None us has a whole lot of experience for Madison riding; I can give the cue when to go hard and when to take it easy and Tom holds good bunch position," he explained. "It’s good having him around me – he puts me in the position I need to be and when to apply the pressure, which paid off tonight.

Men’s sprint

Whilst Great Britain’s team pursuit squad was soundly beaten in the gold medal final last night, the British men appeared to be on song during the men’s sprint on the final day of competition in Melbourne.

Team Jayco’s Shane Perkins emerged as the early pacesetter, the Australian qualifying fastest ahead of Kévin Sireau, Ross Edgar and last night’s keirin victor, Carsten Bergemann of Germany.

With two men in the semi finals, British hopes were high as Edgar lined up against Perkins and Matt Crampton took on Sireau. After the first heats the gold medal final seemed destined to be an Anglo-Gallic affair as both Edgar and Sireau accounted for their opponents in the opening heats with what appeared to be a deal of ease.

But whilst Sireau disposed of Crampton in two rides, Edgar’s earlier form eluded him in the third match up as Perkins hit out early and rode a mammoth sprint over the final lap, forcing Edgar to roll up the track and concede in the home straight.

The stage was set for a battle of the day’s two fastest men, a match up greatly anticipated by the healthy crowd, which had already seen some great racing. Despite Sireau’s electric form in the preceding races, the gold medal races belonged to the Australian, with Sireau making very similar mistakes in the same section of the track during both heats to give Perkins the edge and take his second overall victory of the meet.

Women’s 500m time trial

What more can be said about Anna Meares’ pedigree in the 500m time trial when a 33.583 speaks volumes? Having declared she was back after winning the women’s sprint on the opening night, the golden girl of Australia’s track team set a new record on home soil – the second fastest in history - with a consistent ride that returned her to the sub-34 second club.

Australian riders made it on the top two steps of the 500m TT podium, as Kaarle McCulloch took second with a time of 34.267, an encouraging sign for the young woman from Sydney as she progresses through the world’s sprinting ranks.

A feature of her riding during this round of the Track World Cup is her ability to lift tempo and hold her position in the sprints. She’s made marked improvements and was pleased with the outcome over the three days. "I’ve made some huge improvements since coming back from worlds; I’ve just got this confidence after taking the title [team sprint] with Anna and it has helped me through the off season," said McCulloch afterwards.

"We’ve been toying about with gear choice – I’m a strong girl, I’m made for the big gears and I’m finally pushing them as I get stronger."

Women’s team pursuit

Boasting individual pursuit world champion Alison Shanks, New Zealand’s squad of Rushlee Buchanan, Lauren Ellis and Shanks went into the gold medal final with optimism following Great Britain’s near-disaster in the qualifying rounds.

It was a well-founded sense of buoyancy, with the kiwi trio bettering its time of 3:26.890, the fastest of all teams during the qualification rounds but in the gold medal final Buchanan, Shanks and Ellis went over two seconds faster, recording a fantastic time of 3:24.771.

"We’ve spent a good couple of weeks in training camp and have a really good squad going now; we put out a solid ride this morning but there were so many things we knew we could improve on. We started a bit harder and it was just a case of even splits and much smoother riding," said Shanks.

Asked if Great Britain’s world record mark of 3:21.875 could be achieved by the world championships in Copenhagen next March, Shanks replied, "Totally. There’s still a good four months or so before worlds and that’s a long time. We’re just really starting our track season here."

In the bronze medal ride, the local ladies added to the pursuit spoils of their male teammates the previous night as the Australian trio of Sarah Kent, Josie Tomic and Ashlee Akudinoff beat Ukraine’s team of Svitlana Galyuk, Lesya Kalitovska and Iryna Shpylova, never letting them within a tenth of their time throughout the three kilometres to finish with a time of 3:26.869.

Women’s keirin

There was one woman with a target on her back in this race: Anna Meares. The Australian is often a marked rider but with the form she’s developing of late the Australian was always going to come in for attention.

And she rode with the composure of a favourite, winning her opening heat and the semi final as Team Jayco rider and Meares’ team sprint world champion Kaarle McCulloch made it through to the gold medal ride.

In the final, both Australians capitalised on their good form, although it was Meares who added to her tally in a controlled performance. Having enjoyed an excellent meet, McCulloch couldn't quite match the finishing kick of Guo, Muche and Sanchez, although her team sprint partner at the world championships made it three gold medals in three days.

"I didn’t really get a chance to celebrate [the 500m TT win]; I was just straight to the next heat of the keirin," explained Meares afterwards. "I was tired and hurting then I bumped the gear up and actually felt half decent," she added. "The motorbike actually came slowly compared to the last two rounds and it stuffed me so I had to go to the back. Then I just went for broke and pulled it off."

Men's madison
1New Zealand (Marc Ryan/Scully Thomas)15pts
2Germany (Robert Bengsch/Kalz Marcel)8 
3Ukraine (Sergiy Lagkuti/Radionov Mykhaylo)5 
4 -1 lapSpain (Unai Elorriaga Zubiaur/Tauler Llull Antonio)13 
5Denmark (Daniel Kreutzfeldt/Madsen Jenserik)10 
6Italy (Fabrizio Braggion/Ciccone Angelo)8 
7Poland (Lukasz Bujko/Glowacki Dawid)7 
8Switzerland (Tristan Marguet/Perizzolo Loïc)6 
9Netherlands (Tim Veldt/Vermeulen Jeff)5 
10Korea (Seung Choi/Shin Dong Hyun)5 
11Japan (Makoto Iijima/Mori Kazuhiro)2 
12Great Britain (Steven Burke/Fenn Andrew)1 
13Argentina (Gerardo Fernandez/Perez Walter Fernando)1 
DNFCespa Euskadi (Martzel Elorriaga Azpitarte/Leanizbarrutia Cruz Iban)  
DNFIreland (Simon Llewellyn/Llewellyn Timothy)  
DNFMalaysia (Muhamad Adiq Othman/Rusli Amir)  
DNFUnited States of America (Austin Carroll/Cody O'Reilly)  
DNSHong Kong (King Lok Cheung/Ho Ting Kwok)  
Women's 500m time trial
1Anna Meares (Australia)0:00:33.583 
2Kaarle Mcculloch (Australia)0:00:34.267 
3Sandie Clair (France)0:00:34.339 
4Lin Junhong (People's Republic of China)0:00:34.781 
5Jessica Varnish (Great Britain)0:00:34.979 
6Wai Sze Lee (Hong Kong, China)0:00:35.016 
7Yvonne Hijgenaar (Netherlands)0:00:35.154 
8Fatehah Mustapa (Malaysia)0:00:35.989 
9Won Gyeong Kim (Korea)0:00:36.056 
10Huang Ting Ying (Chinese Taipei)0:00:36.501 
11Apryl Jessica Eppinger (Philippines)0:00:37.172 
12Angeliki Koutsonikoli (Greece)0:00:37.318 
13Joanne Kiesanowski (New Zealand)0:00:38.743 
DNSOlga Streltsova (Russian Federation)  
Men's sprint semi-final 1
1Shane Perkins (Australia)0:00:10.699 
2Ross Edgar (Great Britain)  
1Ross Edgar (Great Britain)0:00:10.552 
2Shane Perkins (Australia)  
1Shane Perkins (Australia)0:00:10.606 
2Ross Edgar (Great Britain)  
Men's sprint semi-final 2
1Kévin Sireau (France)0:00:10.596 
2Matthew Crampton (Great Britain)  
1Kévin Sireau (France)0:00:10.453 
2Matthew Crampton (Great Britain)  
Men's sprint final
1Shane Perkins (Australia)0:00:10.5960:00:10.580
2Kévin Sireau (France)  
3Matthew Crampton (Great Britain)0:00:10.6520:00:10.720
4Ross Edgar (Great Britain)  
Women's team pursuit
1New Zealand0:03:24.771 
2Great Britain0:03:25.938 
Women's keirin second round heat 1
1Shuang Guo (People's Republic of China)  
2Clara Sanchez (France)  
3Jessica Varnish (Great Britain)  
4Willy Kanis (Netherlands)  
5Sandie Clair (France)  
6Wai Sze Lee (Hong Kong, China)  
Women's keirin second round heat 2
1Anna Meares (Australia)  
2Kaarle Mcculloch (Australia)  
3Christin Muche (Germany)  
4Emily Rosemond (Australia)  
5Agnes Ronner (Netherlands)  
Women's keirin final
1Anna Meares (Australia)  
2Shuang Guo (People's Republic of China)  
3Christin Muche (Germany)  
4Clara Sanchez (France)  
5Kaarle Mcculloch (Australia)  
6Jessica Varnish (Great Britain)  


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