Two Australian riders, Mark French and Annette Edmondson, claimed their third gold medals of the national track championships at the Dunc Grey Velodrome on Saturday evening.
Earlier this week, French won both the individual and team sprint races. The Victorian's third medal came with an emphatic win in the keirin when he finished ahead of a world-class field including dual Olympic Champion Ryan Bayley, four-time World Champion Shane Kelly, 2004 junior World Champion Shane Perkins, 2006 junior World Champion Scott Sunderland, 2006 junior World Championship medallist Daniel Ellis and French, himself a four-time junior World Champion.
Two and a half laps from the finish Sunderland was the first to make his move hoping his recent top form in the kilometre time trial might see him through but he was swamped by the speed of the pure sprinters who overtook him. In the back straight on the final lap French turned on the afterburners and surged clear leaving his rivals to fight it out for silver and bronze. Kelly, who at 36 years-old is at least ten years more senior than anyone else in the race, saw a gap emerge and dived into it to claim the silver medal while Canberra's Ellis pipped Perkins in a photo finish for third place.
"I am very happy," said French. "It has been a big day and big week.
"I knew I could win, it was a matter of being patient as I am a shorter rather than longer sprinter and I knew all the riders were going to go fast on the last two and a half laps," French said. "I was going to go with one lap to go, but reconsidered at that point (and) I just waited and waited then put the gas down and (it) all worked and I was in the clear."
Feeling the effects of a long week of intense competition French retreated to the velodrome access tunnel prior to the final where he found himself slapping his face and splashing himself with water to fire himself up.
"I was considering if I should even be riding the keirin as I just didn't feel sharp, not bad, (but) just couldn't switch on," the 24 year-old said. "I have been really working on one thing at a time, not worrying about races I haven't even got to, everything is starting to come together for me."
In the U19 women's racing, South Australia's Annette Edmondson claimed her third gold medal of the championships with a dominant performance in the U19 women's keirin. The 16 year-old, who earlier this week won the 500m time trial and individual sprint, led out and rode a controlled race to stay in front until the end with West Australia's Melissa Hoskins collecting silver and Edmondson's team-mate Stephanie Morton the bronze medal.
"I was lucky enough to draw number one and as the race went on it all started going to plan and everything seemed to work out all right," said Edmondson.
See full coverage of the Australian National Track Championships.
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