Hosts Australia won the men’s and women’s team pursuit titles on the opening day of the International Cycling Union (UCI) Track Cycling World Cup in Brisbane.
Reigning world champions Georgia Baker, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Annette Edmondson and Alexandra Manly, plus Podium Potential Academy member Maeve Plouffe, guided the home nation to gold in the women’s event at the Anna Meares Velodrome.
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An enthralling final saw the Australians stop the clock at 4 min 13.237sec to take victory by 0.316 seconds over New Zealand’s Rushlee Buchanan, Holly Edmondston, Bryony Botha, Racquel Sheath and Michaela Drummond.
The result evened things up between the two teams after the Australians took the silver medal behind New Zealand at last week’s UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Cambridge.
“We don’t get the opportunity to race in front of a home crowd, especially at a World Cup, so we wanted to go out firing and win gold,” Edmondson said.
“I think we are heading in the right direction and have been working pretty hard behind the scenes.
“We wanted to do some fast times here in Brisbane, we have ticked some boxes and will use it as inspiration to keep the momentum for the Olympics.”
Canada beat the United States to the bronze medal with a time of 4:17.509 to their rival’s 4:21.540.
In the men’s team pursuit, world champions Sam Welsford, Leigh Howard, Kelland O’Brien and Alexander Porter, plus Podium Potential Academy member Luke Plapp, secured Australia’s second gold medal with an emphatic vwin over New Zealand’s Campbell Stewart, Jordan Kerby, Thomas Sexton, Corbin Strong and Regan Gough.
The two teams fought hard over the first two kilometres, before the Australians rode away to win in 3:49.776, 3.825 seconds ahead of New Zealand.
Two other events were decided today, with Japan and Poland claiming the gold medals in the men’s and women’s team sprints, respectively.
In the women’s team sprint, Poland’s Marlena Karwacka and Urszula Łoś triumphed over Russia’s Ekaterina Rogovaya and Anastasiia Voinova in an exhilarating final, decided by a photo-finish after both pairings clocked 33.029.
Reigning world champion Stephanie Morton teamed up with Caitlin Ward to take the bronze medal ahead of New Zealand’s Natasha Hansen and Olivia Podmore.
Morton and Ward finished in 33.164 to Hansen and Podmore’s 33.511.
In the men’s team sprint, the Japanese trio of Tomohiro Fukaya, Yoshitaku Nagasako and Yudai Nitta clinched gold in 42.912, defeating Poland’s Maciej Bielecki, Krzysztof Maksel and Mateusz Rudyk by 2.496 seconds.
New Zealand overcame Great Britain in the bronze-medal race, by a margin of 0.771 seconds in 43.406.
Action in Brisbane is due to continue tomorrow.
Finals are scheduled for men’s omnium, women’s madison, men’s keirin and women’s sprint.