Master classes from Matthew Glaetzer (SA) and Stephanie Morton (SA) in the keirin finals, plus dual gold to Amy Cure (TAS) and Kelland O’Brien (VIC) capped off the 2018 Cycling Australia Track National Championships at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane on Sunday afternoon.
Glaetzer’s win completed the clean sweep of all four sprint titles, the first time a rider has achieved the feat at a Nationals Championships in ten years, while Morton equalled her 2013 triple crown campaign.
Cure clinched a second gold medal as many days with a photo finish deciding the scratch race podium, while 19-year-old O’Brien, who won team pursuit gold on day one, clinched his maiden individual gold medal in the 40km points race.
Championship’s ‘Champion of Champions’ Awards:
- Elite Men: Matthew Glaetzer (SA)
- Elite Women: Amy Cure (TAS) & Steph Morton (SA)
- Under 19: Black Quick (QLD) & Alana Field (VIC)
- Champion State: South Australia
It was a masterful performance from Matthew Glaetzer and Stephanie Morton in the keirin finals, with the pair celebrating commanding wins in Sunday’s finals.
Glaetzer’s win completed the clean sweep of all four sprint championships, the first time a rider has achieved the feat at a Nationals since Shane Perkins in 2009.
On Thursday afternoon, Glaetzer’s one-kilometre time trial sea-level world record set a scorching tone for his week, before anchoring South Australia’s team sprint victory in the evening. On Friday, he posted the fastest time on Australian soil in the flying 200m, before roaring to sprint gold on Saturday evening.
“Always a tough start with the team sprint and the kilo in the first day but you have to take it one race at a time,” said Glaetzer, whose career national championships tally moved to 14.
“That’s what I was doing staying in the good mindset because the last day of racing is always tough and to try and keep in those winning ways. It’s a good test for the mental part of the race.
In Sunday’s keirin, a precise ride in his heat saw Glaetzer move straight through to the afternoon’s final. It was more of the same from the powerful South Australian early in the final, before switching on the afterburners in the final lap to rocket to the title by over two bike lengths.
Pat Constable and Thomas Clarke completed the all South Australian podium.
“It was really good making sure I was in control of the first one. I had Tommy Clarke on my wheel so I knew I needed to be careful in the first final and not go to the repechage because it’s worth making sure you’re in the final,” Glaetzer explained.
“The final was all about making sure I am in a decent position and giving it everything and I was proactive, instinctive in how I race and made the first move.
“It was only Jacob [Schmid] in front of me so I just had to make sure I got on the front foot and made sure I had some pretty good legs on the last day of completion.
“It was a good way to finish the week.”
It was a deliberate and calculated keirin campaign for Morton in 2018, who crashed out of 2017 final. She ensured she stayed out of any trouble by surging to the front early in both her heat and again in the final.
In the title bout, Morton surged at the bell with defending champion Kaarle McCulloch close on her wheel. On the final lap, there was a clip of wheels causing sprint silver medallist, Caitlin Ward, to hit the deck inside the final lap on the back straight.
“I did hear the crash so I knew someone had come down and I just had a quick look behind and I could see the visor flying across the floor,” said Morton, who hammered to the finish while fending off a late sting from McCulloch in the front straight. Following the win, Morton went straight to the back straight to check on Ward who has just returned to the nationals the following injury.
“At the end of the day that’s bike racing and I know how it feels to be the one on the deck. So I went over to make sure she was okay, I know she’s had a tough battle with injury.
“Bike racing is bike racing so whatever happens, out there stays out there and when you see a teammate down you always need to make sure they’re okay.”
For Morton, the keirin title capped off a triple gold medal haul for the Championships after claiming the team sprint crown (with Takos and Belder) on the opening day, before roaring to take the sprint title on Saturday.
And while she may have to pay excess baggage at the airport, Morton is measuring her results on more than just her medal hauls as she continues her rise through the ranks to as one of the world’s leading sprinters.
“You go from being the greyhound to the rabbit, so it’s about learning to deal with the pressures,” explained Morton. “For so for long it was Anna and now she’s gone it’s all eyes on me.
“But I’m really happy, that’s part of the development as a rider. Having to work with expectation and you know it’s just part of that development and transition to one of the senior riders.”
With her 2018 Nationals campaign coming to a close, Morton switches focus to the World Championships which will be held at the end of the month. By which time Morton will know if she will head to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April as part of the Australian Team.
“Hopefully, I step up again at the World Championships, I have my script and I keep going through it and you know by the time the Games comes around, I’ve got it all down pat.”
Men’s 40km Points Race
Days after anchoring the Victoria to its first team pursuit gold medal in a decade, 19-year-old Kelland O’Brien took his maiden individual gold medal in the elite men’s 40km points race.
The young rider romped in the win with a massive 62 points, besting South Australia Joshua Harrison (45pts) and Stephen Hall (38pts).
The breakaway group of three who animated the race from the halfway point by taking a lap. The trio drove hard to quicken the pace of the event in a tactical move that took all three to the podium.
“It was really good, I didn’t feel too good the first 50 or so laps, so it took a while for me to ride in. It was definitely a tough race out there but it just goes to show that the depth in Australia is just growing and the racing is getting harder and harder,” said O’Brien.
When asked about his dual against Harrison, he added “Josh is an amazing competitor, I have so much respect for him coming out later in the week. It’s been an amazing week of riding from him.”
In front of an exuberant home crowd, Queensland’s Jake van der Vliet worked with Ryan Cavanagh to reel back in the trio with 50 laps to go, however, it proved to be too little too late with the trio working together to win sprint lap after sprint lap.
The last event of Track Nationals, the depth of the field in the points race gave fans their money’s worth in what is the final event on the Anna Meares Velodrome prior to the Commonwealth Games in April.
Women’s 10km Scratch Race
Amy Cure clinched a second gold medal as many days with a photo finish deciding the scratch race podium at the Anna Meares Velodrome on Sunday afternoon.
Tasmania’s Cure, who successfully defended her points race crown on Saturday, won by millimetres over Georgia Baker and Queensland favourite Kristina Clonan in a thrilling sprint to the line to end the 40-lap, 10km, race.
“It was a really tough race, all of the girls rode really well and I am so happy to come off with the win,” said Cure.
Like the points race twenty-four hours earlier, the country’s best endurance riders entertained the crowd with an animated race. Cure, Baker, Clonan and national team members Alex Manly and Annette Edmondson keeping close to each other’s wheels throughout the entire race.
“Alex [Manly] did the late attack there which made it quite tough, but G and I just happened to be in a perfect position and I just laid off her wheel a bit and left my run to the last minute,” Cure added. “So it was quite close! I wasn’t planning for it to be that close but like you say it was coming across the line not knowing the position you’re in and to have the photo finish with a one-two for Tasmania is just an awesome feeling.”
Cure’s second gold caps a three-medal week for the cyclist from Penguin who also grabbed silver behind Ashlee Ankudinoff in the individual pursuit.
“I really love the bunch races so to go back to back with both of them is a huge achievement for me and if you said leading into the comp that I’d go back to back, I wouldn’t believe you,” Cure said. “It’s great to see that all the hard work I’ve put in is paying off.”
Cure will find out in late February whether her hard work will be rewarded with a second Commonwealth Games team selection.
“Fingers crossed I’ve got enough to be selected. I’m just looking forward to when that team is finally announced, just giving it everything for that last preparation leading towards the Games.”
U19 Men’s 1 Kilometre Time Trial: Sydney’s Tom Cornish claimed his maiden individual national title with a rousing win the under 19-time trial. “I’m absolutely stoked. I was coming into this Championships hoping for a result like this, but I was a bit shocked at the time with how fast I was!” said Cornish after wining his fourth medal of the week. Cornish also grabbed gold in the team sprint on the opening day, sprint silver and keirin bronze.”It’s pretty good, this is my first individual gold in the under 19 category, so It’s a big one for me and it’s really important.”
U19 Women’s Sprint: Victoria’s Alana Field added the sprint crown to her keirin gold claimed on Saturday with a strong win in the women’s under 19 sprint competition. Fastest qualifier Field took the title without dropping a race, edging South Australia’s Brooklyn Vonderwall in a hotly contested final. Bronze went to South Australia’s Heather May.
U19 Men’s Madison: Victoria’s Luke Plapp and Nathan Bof claimed gold in the under 19 men’s Madison. The duo finished the 30-kilometre race with 56 points, ahead of Thomas Lynch and Daniel Gandy from New South Wales (44pts) and the second Victoria team of Jensen Plowright and Bill Simpson (38pts). Victoria’s Plapp celebrated a second gold of the day just hours later after winning a thrilling under 19 men’s scratch race ahead of Daniel Gandy (NSW) and Zachary Marshall (NSW).
U19 Women’s Points Race: Victoria’s Sarah Gigante won her third gold medal of the 2018 Track National Championships. The 17-year-old was down by 13 points to Queensland’s Alex Martin-Wallace at the halfway point, with Martin-Wallace in control until Gigante drove hard out the front and animated the race to take sprint after sprint. Alex Martin-Wallace tried to counter but crashed down with six laps to go. She later rejoined the race however, Sarah Gigante’s lead was too large and the young Victorian surged to her third straight gold medal with a total of 24 points.
The bronze was awarded to South Australia’s Olivia Wheeler who came away with a total of 16 points.