Defending world champions in the Madison, Leigh Howard and Cameron Meyer of Australia, put in a commanding display of tactical and sporting prowess in claiming gold in Apeldoorn on the final night of the 2011 world championships.
"We knew we'd be heavily marked, and we spoke about it. We knew we had to keep cool, because when you get caught up in the moment and get frustrated, then you can make mistakes," explained Howard.
"We played it well, we waited and were patient and chose the right moment to make our move."
After several aborted attempts at breaking away throughout the first half of the race, the duo finally broke free of the stranglehold of the 16-team peloton in the last quarter of the race to draw ahead of the team from the Czech Republic (Martin Blaha/Jiri Hochmann) on points and then steal the lap to claim the gold.
"It took us a fair few attacks to go, and in the end we knew it would come in the latter half of the race. The [other teams] were heavily marking us, any time we made any attempt at an attack there were five teams chasing us straightaway, because they knew it's chase us and they get a free lap. But when the whole field thinks the same thing it doesn't work. So we had to wait until there were plenty of tired legs and then we made our move.
The Czech team took their own lap earlier, with 67 left in the race at a time when Spain, the Netherlands and France were battling for the lead on points alone.
The Czechs quickly took their lap, but failed to win any sprints. The Australians, however, timed their catch of the back of the peloton until just after the claimed sprint number eight. The five points gave them the buffer they needed to ensure gold as long as they could prevent any more teams from gaining a lap or the Czechs from taking more points.
"That's part of the Madison," Howard explained of the slight delay in taking the lap. "We were finding it hard to take the lap in the first place. We were out there 10-12 laps, which is a long time. It's a tactic to make sure you're there and when you attack you get some points while you're at it."
Taking home the rainbow jersey was particularly special for Howard, who narrowly missed out on being selected for the men's pursuit team, leaving the Madison as his sole chance to join in on the unprecedented Australian success story.
"The Madison has always been my favourite event, it's been my passion. This year was about the team pursuit, and all my training was for that event, but I just missed the cut in the end. It was disappointing, but I've just come away with the world title, so now I'm ecstatic."
The Czech team said it was disappointed to walk away with silver after taking the lap and then being unable to reply when the Australians got away.
"They were the strongest for sure," Blaha said through a translator. "That is the strategy - you can either race for laps or for points. If you have a strategy for laps, you don't get points. The Aussies were waiting behind the peloton to get the five points during their lap. It's a little disappointing because we were hoping to take home the world title, but congratulations to the Australians."
The first half of the race was a battle for points, as every attack was quickly reeled in. France took the first sprint, while Spain followed suit. Spain surged to the lead with a second sprint win before the Dutch team became active, taking second in sprint four, and winning sprint five.
France rallied back with top points in the following sprint, but it was then that the Czechs made their move, relegating the other teams to chasing them or chasing silver.
Unfortunately for them, they lapped the field too quickly and failed to claim any sprint points while they were away. Once they were reunited with the peloton, the points in the next sprint went to the Italians before the Australians made their move.
Meyer and Howard made their move with 50 laps to go, taking the sprint with 40 remaining before latching onto the tail end of the peloton.
It was then a battle for bronze, with the Dutch team drawing even for the top points tally with Spain as the Australians were away, but when the Australians finally took the lap, the French team attacked and took out the penultimate sprint to move into the bronze medal position.
It was only through an heroic final push, with Schep slinging Bos in as the pace wound up for the final sprint that finally broke the will of the young Frenchmen Morgan Kneisky and Vivien Brisse.
Bos took home the final sprint, pushing his team to bronze with 21 points to the French's 18. Spain's second place in the last sprint served only to extend their hold on the fourth place position.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|3 (-1 lap)||Netherlands||21||pts|
|Unai Elorriaga Zubiaur|
|David Muntaner Juaneda|
|Kenny De Ketele|
|Weimar Alfonso Roldan Ortiz|
|Carlos Alberto Uran Arroyave|
|14 -2 laps||Argentina||1|
|Gerardo Luis Fernandez|
|Ho Ting Kwok|
|Ki Ho Choi|
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