Track Cycling

Aussies take gold on day one at track cycling world championships – Sydney Morning Herald

Kaarle McCulloch has pursed her fourth team sprint world crown, powering with Stephanie Morton to gold on the opening night of the track cycling world championships in Poland.

The pair were unrivalled at the Pruszkow Velodrome on Wednesday, topping the afternoon qualifying session, before setting a new national mark of 32.368 seconds in their first-round defeat of China.

Kaarle McCulloch celebrates after winning the team sprint final with Stephanie Morton at the world championships.

Kaarle McCulloch celebrates after winning the team sprint final with Stephanie Morton at the world championships.Credit:AP

They bettered that in the final against Russia, McCulloch bolting from the gates and Morton surging home in 32.255s to earn their rainbow jerseys and send a statement ahead of Tokyo’s Olympics next year.

‘‘I am speechless, and it takes a lot for that to happen,’’ Morton said.


‘‘It is pretty surreal; we had pretty high expectations tonight, and we have absolutely exceeded them. Gold was just a bonus.’’

McCulloch had emerged from behind Anna Meares’ wheel to win three straight titles between 2009-11.

But she had no trouble moving to first-wheel position to help Morton to her first elite world championship.

‘‘We just got better and better with every ride,’’ McCulloch said.

‘‘We are really proud, and happy that this is all building towards Tokyo.

‘‘This is a nice step in that direction we will take a lot of confidence out if this.”

Meanwhile Patrick Constable, Nathan Hart and teenage debutant Matthew Richardson finished sixth in the men’s team sprint, edged out of the finals by eventual silver medallists France.

Day two action includes the men’s 15km scratch race, women’s and Australia’s men’s team pursuit stars Sam Welsford, Alexander Porter, Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien.

That quartet will take on Great Britain in the final after they set a world record at last year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Britain’s Elinor Barker claimed the opening gold medal on day one, holding off Dutch defending champion Kirsten Wild to win the 10km scratch race.

The Dutch men then dominated in their defence of the team sprint title, leaving France trailing by almost a full second in the gold medal race.

The flying trio of Roy van den Berg, Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland proved untouchable as they retained the title they took on home boards in Apeldoorn last year.