Meares confident ahead of World Championship tilt

Anna Meares claimed her 23rd Australian senior track title in Adelaide overnight, with victory in the women's keirin final overcoming a late lunge from her World Championship-winning partner in the team sprint, Kaarle McCulloch.

The performance netted Meares her third gold medal of the Australian Track Championship, having earlier claimed victory in the sprint and team sprint. It brings Meares' career tally of Australian track titles to a phenomenal 29.

Meares and the rest of the Australian team now shift their focus to the fourth round of the UCI Track World Cup in London at the Olympic Velodrome held from February 17 and then a home UCI Track World Championships in the first week of April in the run in to the London Olympic Games.

"I'm actually really excited, I feel like I've taken a great deal of confidence from these championships," Meares told reporters.

"The plan that Gary [coach Gary West] has for me is working and that goes a long way when you're out there on your own – sometimes that trust or backing is all you have.

"I will be leaning on that for sure."

Meares was placed first rider behind the derny from the gun, taking the advantage to gain a considerable margin on her opponents once it left the track. McCulloch powered home leaving Meares with only centimetres to spare on the finish line.

"When I saw I'd drawn one and Kaarle had drawn six, I thought that was a good opportunity to put some distance between us and make her work really hard as well," Meares explained.

"I realised the gap was significant, but not enough to withstand a good run from Kaarle, so I had to really commit otherwise I was going to find myself in the position where I was going to be run down," she said. "This is the most level event for the two of us to come head-to-head, you saw that, I won it by half a tyre. [But] I'd rather almost lose than almost win."

It was McCulloch's third silver medal of the Championship, having also placed behind Meares in the sprint and team sprint. The 24-year-old won her third-straight 500m time trial crown on the opening night of the event.

"I wasn't quite expecting the gap to open up that quickly, but I bided my time and I went as hard as I could, but I guess I just needed five more metres of track," said McCulloch. "But I am happy with how I rode today as I think it was probably one of the first keirin championships where I had a little bit of patience.

"Plus, I was a good deal off her at the 200m mark and I almost got her, so I have to be pretty happy with the speed in my legs right now," she said.


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