Two days after grabbing an emotional silver in the team event, Sydney’s Ashlee Ankudinoff soled to the individual pursuit silver medal and her sixth career world championships medal.
It was a welcomed return to the individual race against the clock for Ankudinoff, 26, and to the podium after claiming bronze five years ago at the 2012 Melbourne Worlds.
“It was nice to have something else to concentrate on other than the team pursuit as all the focus was on that leading up to Rio (Olympic Games),” said Ankudinoff. “It was great to be given the opportunity to race the individual pursuit here and I am stoked to finish with silver.”
The USA’s Chloe Dygert (3:24.641) was just too good for the field and for Ankudinoff (3:31.784) as powered to the gold medal by seven seconds.
“I can’t complain, I came here with high expectations obviously chasing those rainbows, and just missing out on the rainbows in the team pursuit gave me a bit of fire in the belly to come out here on IP day,” said Ankudinoff, who shared the team pursuit podium Amy Cure, Alex Manly and Rebecca Wiasak on Thursday evening.
“I had my work set out for me against Chloe, but I stuck to my game plan in qualifying and did a 29 (3minutes 29.554secs).
“Then, in the final I had nothing to lose, I was up against it, but I just gave it my all and that’s all I can ask for.”
Earlier in the day, Ankudinoff powered to the second fastest qualifying time (3:29.554) to set up a clash with event favourite Chloe Dygert (USA). Dygert – who broke Australian hearts in the team pursuit after powerful effort at the front to guide USA claim the unlikeliest of final lap victories – sizzled in a near-world record qualifying time of (3:22.920).
As she reflected on her eighth worlds campaign, Ankudinoff lauded praise on the Gary Sutton lead women’s track endurance program, particularly after the disappointment of their Rio Olympic Games campaign.
The women’s endurance squad has enjoyed tremendous success in these World Championships, netting a medal in all but one event, in which teenage debutant Kristina Clonan glistened to a top ten finish. The squad has another chance to add to the tally with Amy Cure to tackle the points race on the final day of competition on Sunday.
“It is a great vibe amongst the group here, it is a relaxed vibe after the Olympics,” said Ankudinoff, who has her sights squarely set on building towards a home Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“I will walk away with my confidence as we lead towards the Commonwealth Games and future world championships.
“We came here with limited expectations, more to have fun, and I think we have exceeded it. We have medalled in every event except one and Kristina was fantastic on debut in the scratch race.
“It is really promising looking forward to the next four years.”
Dual reigning world champion Rebecca Wiasak (ACT) clocked the third fastest time in the afternoon’s qualifying (3:30.938) before being narrowly edged off out of the medals in fourth (3:31.173) behind USA’s Kelly Catlin (3:30.365) who took bronze