Australian Track Nationals In Photos
Last week the Subaru Australian track championships were held in Sydney at the Dunc Gray Velodrome and photographer Tim Bardsley-Smith was there to capture the action. There were many world class performances which showed amazing depth in Australian track cycling ahead of the World Championships in Belarus only three weeks away.
SBS had fantastic coverage of the entire championships and you can see all of the video highlights here.
I wasn’t there covering the Track Nationals but Cycling Australia sent out a comprehensive media release showcasing the week’s highlights. If you’re only interested in the spectacular photos, skip down to the gallery below compliments of Tim Bardsley-Smith.
Edmondson siblings shine, Morton claims treble, Taylor triumphs in keirin
South Australian siblings Annette and Alex Edmondson added more gold to the family trophy cabinet with victories in the scratch and points races on the final night of the Subaru 2013 Cycling Australia Track National Championships in Sydney on Saturday night.
The wins came after three superb sprinting displays from Stephanie Morton (SA) who claimed her third gold medal of the week, this time in the women’s keirin, and Andrew Taylor (NSW) who secured an emotional maiden individual national crown in men’s keirin.
The South Australian under 19 team sprint trio also wowed the crowd with an Allcomers record (fastest time on Australian soil) on their way to winning gold.
In the men’s keirin, Taylor, 27, claimed a thrilling win by sprinting over the top of the field on home straight in front of a parochial home crowd.
“This is one of the best and biggest victories I’ve ever had,” Dubbo’s Taylor said after collecting his second gold medal of the Championships. Taylor teamed with sprint champion Mitch Bullen and Jamie Green on Wednesday to win the team sprint.
The men’s keirin field featured Bullen, two-thirds of Australia’s team sprint world champions and the last two champions in the event in Matthew Glaetzer (SA) and Scott Sunderland (WA), plus Victorian teenagers in dual 2012 junior world champion Jacob Schmid and Emerson Harwood.
At the gun, Taylor sat in fifth wheel behind the derny, with Schmid holding the wheel ahead of Sunderland, Glaetzer, Bullen and Harwood.
After the derny left the track, the Victorian youngsters made the first major move with a lap and a half remaining, leading the six riders into the bell lap.
On the back straight, a powerful burst from Sunderland saw him in a good position heading into the finishing straight, however it was Taylor who rose over the pack with a surge in the final twenty metres to take the win.
“I’ve made every keirin final for the last six year and been bridesmaid and finished third. So to win this is unbelievable with the field we had,” said Taylor.
“I had a really big gear on and just couldn’t wait any longer and just lit it up down the back straight and just happened to come four wide and it worked out.”
In the women’s keirin, Stephanie Morton (SA), 22, capped off her most successful national championships by winning her third title of the week.
“Far out this is really awesome, I just can’t believe it,” described Morton, who added to her sprint and team sprint (with Rikki Belder) crowns.
“Last year I didn’t even get to ride nationals because I was in the Para-cycling program so I thought I’d go in and try my hardest but wasn’t expecting to come away with three gold.
It was a national affair with five states and territories being represented in the final, with Catherine Culvenor (ACT) taking first wheel behind the derny ahead of Caitlin Ward (VIC), Kaarle McCulloch (NSW), Morton, Stephaine Fernandez-Preiksa (NSW) and Taylah Jennings (QLD).
Jennings, a former endurance cyclist, used her skills early by attacking over the top of the field as the derny left the track to lead the pack into the final lap.
Caught at the back, Morton found herself having to take the long way home, launching an attack at the bell and reeling in the field on the back straight before powering home for the win.
Fernandez-Preiksa (NSW) held on for silver with Jennings claiming bronze.
“The race didn’t go to plan, I got pushed out really wide but when it happened I knew I just had to put the hammer down and use my strength,” Morton commented..
Morton, who piloted Felicity Johnson to gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games, claimed the Oceania keirin title last November and teamed with Kaarle McCulloch to win gold in the team sprint at the Track World Cup in Mexico last month.
“I’ve totally surprised myself,” Morton remarked. “I thought coming back from Mexico I’d have jet lag and that it would be hard to back up with all the training and racing in my legs but it seems to have had the opposite effect.
“I peaked right in time for nationals, so it is really handy,” Morton added.
Morton’s South Australian teammate Annette Edmondson also claimed her third national crown of the Championships, this time in the women’s 10km scratch race.
Edmondson took the title over Melissa Hoskins (WA) and Isabella King (WA), adding the title to the points race and individual pursuit crowns and taking her career tally to 17.
“I wanted to finish on a high and to win this is just fantastic,” Edmondson exclaimed. “This is a pretty important one from me, last year I won silver so I came out hungrier to win.
“The individual pursuit was my main goal and I wanted to have a strong race there, that win was probably my favourite.
Edmondson was reserved during the 40 lap race saying she felt the pace and tactics of her rivals played into her hands.
“I had to be aware of the people who would try and get away,” Edmondson explained.
“I expected a few more attacks but it all came back together quite quickly each time an attack went and it played into my hands for a bunch sprint
“But I knew from yesterday that my legs were fast, so it worked out well.”
The men’s 40km points race was won in fine fashion by South Australia’s Alex Edmondson (36 points), with a gallant ride from Peter Loft (33 points) resulting in silver for Tasmania. New South Wales’ Caleb Ewan (21 points) claimed the bronze.
“I have won lots of team pursuits before, but this is my first individual national track crown,” a visibly exhausted Edmondson gasped post race. “So to come away with an individual title is a dream come true, it’s so amazing.
The 160 lap race began with a flurry of attacks, with a bold solo attack from Loft after 60 laps paying off as the Tasmanian lapped the field.
From there, Edmondson began a slow but calculated comeback, amassing a multitude of sprint wins to catch and surpass Loft inside the final 30 laps.
Loft tried desperately to regain the advantage, but was a marked man and Edmondson held on for the win.
“I couldn’t really believe what was really happening, I had to keep asking my coach if the scoreboard was correct as I didn’t think I had that many points,” Edmondson explained.
“Loft was very strong tonight, very relentless, so I had to try and keep up the front on him and I managed to do that, just,” Edmonson concluded.
The under 19 men’s Madison saw the New South Wales pair of Jack Edwards and Bradley Heffernan claim the title in a dominant display.
The pair finished on 28 points, twelve ahead of Victoria’s Mitchell Barry and Mathew Ross who claimed the silver medal (16 points) and newly crowned scratch and points national champion Sam Welsford joined Theo Yates to snatch West Australia a bronze medal (9 points).
“I’m extremely excited to take the gold,” Heffernan said. “Especially because we took nearly every sprint.”
The duo flew around the track, flinging each other into the field with ease and precision, with Edwards and Heffernan meticulous in setting the other up on first wheel before each sprint lap.
The team won five of six intermediate sprints on offer, regularly blowing their competitors off their wheel. Even when Edwards and Heffernan’s fellow statesmen Nathan Bradshaw and Jordan lapped the field, the pair were instrumental in reeling in the escapees.
Overall, Heffernan claimed two sprints, while Edwards earned the honor of sealing the win, ensuring he had enough time to celebrate with a boisterous fist pump.
“After the scratch race on Friday night we were one of the marked riders,” said Edwards, who added to his individual pursuit gold and scratch race silver.
“We had come in pretty confident and to come away with the gold is such a good feeling.”
In the under 19 women’s sprint, Queensland’s Tennille Falappi clinched her national title in straight heats over Holly Takos (SA) after the pair progressed to the final unscathed.
In the bronze medal race, Tian Beckett (WA) narrowly defeated Sheridan Spark (QLD) in the third heat after losing the first head to Beckett.
“I’ve never been as nervous as I was today and it’s really exciting to take that win, it means so much to me,” Falappi said.
The South Australian trio of Jai Angsuthasawit, Patrick Constable and Alex Radzikiewicz showed their class, winning the under 19 men’s team sprint with a time of 46.217, breaking the Allcomers record and defeating Victoria’s Jay Castles, Braden Dean and Zac Shaw (46.741).
“We have been trying really hard for the last two months to get that record and we haven’t even come close until now,” said Angsuthasawit, who rode a personal best time for the opening lap.
Angsuthasawit lead the team from the blocks earning a 0.50second advantage after the first lap before Radzikiewicz opened up the lead to 1.03seconds by the bell lap.
“Jai gave me the best lead out I’ve probably ever had,” Radzikiewicz exclaimed post race.
That left Constable to finish off the job from a surging Shaw, leading his South Austalian team over the line 0.51seconds ahead of their Victorian rivals.
“Shawry is an exceptional rider, he’s a world champ in the kilo so he’s obviously going to finish very hard,” Constable said. “I just needed a good lead in from Alex and I was pretty certain I could hold it from there.”
The bronze medal race was won by the New South Wales trio of Mitch Docker, Max Housden and Travis Smedley (47.416) in a state of origin style race against Queensland’s Cameron Caldwell , Connor Christie and Sean Grimes (50.316).
2013 Championships Awards
· Robina Joy Trophy (best performed state in elite men’s events) – South Australia
· Champion of Champions Award (Elite) – Annette Edmondson
· Champion of Champions Award (Under 19) – Jack Edwards (NSW)
· Ride of the Series – Michael Hepburn (QLD) 4000m Individual Pursuit
2013 Australian Cyclones team for the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk, Belarus from 20 to 24 February 2013, will be named within the next week.