On a magical Friday night for Australia, it was Queensland’s Jordan Kerby who stole the spotlight with an astonishing performance while on his world championships debut.
Kerby rocketed to his maiden world title in the individual pursuit just hours after notching the third-fastest time in history in the afternoon’s qualifying ride.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d wear a senior rainbow jersey,” said the reserved Kerby post race after becoming the seventh Australian to claim a world title in the discipline.
“I’ll have a good kit to roll to the brew shop in now,” he added jokingly.
The win continues the return of Kerby to the boards after the dual 2010 junior world champion Kerby, after focusing on the road in recent years where he claimed under 23 national titles in both the time trial and road race.
Kerby booked his ticket to Hong Kong’s worlds after winning the national title on his home town track in Brisbane in March.
“If you spoke to me three or four months ago, I wouldn’t even think to be here in the first place,” said Kerby, who revealed his track fire began burning late in 2016 at a time his road career was at the crossroads.
“I was sitting in an apartment in Girona watching the Rio Games) and at the same time I was made aware I was going to lose my contract with Drapac and I was watching and thinking ‘it would be great to go back and just have a go’.
“See in this sport you can go through some terrible lows and something like this happens it just erases everything, it’s amazing, I can’t explain how good it feels.
“Getting here was a bonus and winning is just surreal.”
Earlier in the day, Kerby scorched to the third fastest time ever recorded in the afternoon qualifying, with a blistering 4mins 12.172secs just outside of Jack Bobridge’s legendary 2011 world record.
In a drama-filled finale, Kerby’s battle with reigning world champion Filippo Ganna (ITA) was stopped by commissaires after four laps due to a timing malfunction.
Kerby however was not distracted by the commotion, and in the restarted final, he powered to his maiden world title (4:17.068) by more than four seconds.
“If I’m going to do something I’m going to do it properly,” said Kerby of his performance. “4:12 I never thought I’d do that, we came to Hong Kong a week before and I was doing similar efforts to home and they were all two and three seconds quicker.
“I can’t say the same for the final, not even sure what happened there but they re-started us and Filippo and I both did a kilometre full gas and the gun went off twice, so a bit of a shock to the system.
“It definitely wasn’t the most fun pursuit I’ve ever done … I was just trying to hold on.”
18-year-old debutant Kelland O’Brien – who last night formed part of Australia’s team pursuit winning outfit – won the bronze medal, his first individual world championship medal.
Earlier in the day, O’Brien surprised himself with a stellar eight-second personal best time of 4mins 15.794secs before taking the bronze medal (4:16.909) by over two seconds.