Australia successfully buried the demons of the Rio Olympics over the last five days with a dominant display at the 2017 Track World Championships in Hong Kong. Arriving with a new kit, fresh young talent and an incoming High Performance Director, an aura of determination exuded from the green and gold contingent with athletes from across the nation.
Beginning the championship momentum was the pairing of Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch with a silver medal in the Team Sprint, the first outing at a world level for the new combination since the retirement of Anna Meares. “We had been training really well back home in Adelaide so I just knew tonight I had to do my job,” Morton said. “We managed to lift every time, we executed the plan we wanted to, it was the little things we got right.” The pair were also quick to dedicate the win to former sprint coach, Gary West, after being diagnosed with MND.
The first rainbow bands for the contingent came from the blue-ribbon Team Pursuit event where Sam Welsford, Alexander Porter, Cameron Meyer and Nicholas Yallouris stormed to gold, making it Australia’s sixth world title in the event in the last eight years. Temporarily falling behind on the lead mid-way through the race, the team fought back with an eventual 2.476-second win over New Zealand.
In the Womens Team Pursuit, a gold medal remained elusive for the squad up gainst the formidable quartet from the USA. Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure, Rebecca Wiasak and Alexandra Manly were ahead riding into the final lap with a 0.412 second lead, yet Chloe Dygert powered the US home to take the win in the event.
Comeback kid Jordan Kirby rode the third-fastest time in history while qualifying for the Individual Pursuit and continued the explosive efforts to secure a rainbow jersey after winning the national title earlier this year. Fellow comeback kid Cameron Meyer added his eighth career world title to his palmares with a dominant display in the Points Race, a fourth world win for the West Australia. “I’m back to what I love doing and to win two rainbow jerseys in my first proper season back on the track… I’m over the moon,” Meyer stated after the race.
Amy Cure rode to Bronze in the Womens Omnium in the same session Stephanie Morton secured a silver in the Individual Sprint, a career PB in the event. Kristina Vogel (Germany) was simply too good for the South Australian who closed her campaign with a fourth in the Kerin.
Ashlee Ankudinoff secured a silver medal in the Individual Pursuit with defending world champion Rebecca Wiasak finishing fourth in her pet event. Cameron Meyer and Callum Scotson also rode to a silver medal in the Madison, with the French duo of Benjamin Thomas and Morgan Kneisky winning the gold medal.
Amy Cure became the first cyclist to medal in all six endurance events after taking home a bronze medal in the inaugural Womens Madison with Alexandra Manly. The medal took Australia’s total to 11 medals, topping the overall medal tally at the 2017 event.
Images C/O Getty