After an uncustomary lean patch, four-time Olympic and ten-time world champion Sir Chris Hoy has returned to form on the final day at the opening round of the 2011-2012 UCI Track World Cup Series in Astana, Kazakhstan overnight.
Hoy took out the men’s sprint to lay down the challenge to Australian hopeful Shane Perkins (VIC) and remind the cycling world of his intentions ahead of April’s world championships in Melbourne and the London Olympics.
The 35-year-old Scotsman will be hoping the victory is the perfect kick start to his Olympic campaign after a tough nine months that included his first world championships without a gold medal since 2003, withdrawal from a star line up at the European Championships due to sickness and a rare defeat in the keirin this weekend.
Perkins, who won the bronze medal behind Hoy, was impressed with his ability but warns the statesman that the world is coming.
“Of course Hoy is looking good,” Perkins said from the airport on his way home to Australia this morning.
“I have never had any doubts about his ability to keep improving but the world is getting faster.”
For Perkins, this weekend’s racing was just as promising, breaking the Australian record in the men’s team sprint alongside the new line up of Scott Sunderland (WA) and Matthew Glaetzer (SA) in what is a sure sign of things to come for the green and gold outfit.
“The team sprint was the first time we have ridden together so to come away with an Australian record, let alone a world high-standard time shows that the makeup can be even stronger with future rides together,” he said.
“We are all looking towards what is needed come April for the world championships in Melbourne and the London Olympics and from my point of view we are very happy with the standard we produced here considering the specific preparation for the team sprint.”
The performance headlined a number of strong results for Australia finishing with three gold, three silver and one bronze.
World champion women’s sprint duo Anna Meares (SA) and Kaarle McCulloch (NSW) came within a mere 15-thousandths of a second of the world record they rode to win the 2010 world title in Copenhagen, whilst 22-year-old Glenn O’Shea (SA) picked up an impressive double in the men’s individual pursuit and madison with Alexander Edmondston (SA).
Australian Results Summary
Women’s team sprint (Anna Meares & Kaarle McCulloch)
Men’s madison (Alexander Edmonston & Glenn O’Shea)
Men’s individual pursuit (Glenn O’Shea)
Women’s sprint (Anna Meares)
Men’s team sprint (Matthew Glaetzer, Shane Perkins & Scott Sunderland)
Men’s team pursuit (Glenn O’Shea, Mitchell Mulhern, Edward Bissaker & Alex Edmondson)
Men’s sprint (Shane Perkins)
The next UCI Track World Cup is December 1-3 in Cali, Columbia. The series then moves to China in January and London in February before the track season culminates at the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships at Hisense Arena in Melbourne from April 4-8.
The UCI Track Cycling World Championships stand at the pinnacle of world track cycling, attracting up to 350 of the world’s best riders from more than 40 countries. The final qualifying event in the lead up to the London Olympic Games, The 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships will be held at Hisense Arena in Melbourne from Wednesday 4 to Sunday 8 April.