Aussies claim three gold at World Cup

Australia claimed three gold medals on the opening night of the 2008-09 UCI Track Cycling World Classic at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena with Great Britain claiming two and the Ukraine picking up the sixth medal decided.
Nineteen year old Australian ‘Cyclones’ talent Jack Bobdridge won the men’s 4km individual pursuit and Team Toshiba riders collected two more gold for Australia through Glenn O’Shea’s points race win and victory for Daniel Ellis, Jason Niblett and Scott Sunderland in the men’s team sprint.
South Australia’s Bobridge lined up against four time Olympian and dual Olympic medallist Alexei Markov of Russia but showed little regard for the experience of his opponent as he launched himself out of the gate and chased down the Russian. Bobridge lapped Markov at the 1750m mark and continued on with a view to gaining as much experience as possible over the four kilometre distance.
“I am stoked with my form at the moment, though it’s a bit of a shock really, didn’t think I would be going this well so early after having a break after the Games,” said Bobridge. “I think my good form is because of all the training we did pre-Olympics as I flogged myself pretty hard going into the Games, and the break since has really done me well.
“It’s all just still training for me here and getting the feel for things, I mean only last weekend I posted my first good time in the IP (to win Oceania Championship) so we are just trying a few things on my start and finish.”
O’Shea, the 2007 dual junior World Champion took a thrilling men’s 30km points race on a count back after finishing level on 59 points with Korea’s Joon Yong Seo at the end of the 120 lap race. The bronze medal went to Eloy Teruel Rovira of Spain with 56 points.
“This is up there, as it’s my first win as a senior international level, so it’s quite high up there, especially in front of a home crowd it’s pretty special,” said O’Shea.
O’Shea, 19, came out firing early scoring in four of the first five sprints, and taking two laps on the field by the mid way mark. With only four riders having taken two laps, including Seo, it became a two man contest.
O’Shea, the home town favourite, collected points in the final four sprints and was awarded the win because he crossed the line ahead of Seo on the final lap.
“I used that freedom of having two early laps so I just tried to put on points the rest of the way,” said O’Shea. “I stuffed that second last sprint up, I got boxed in on the back straight but I came back at him as I had pretty good speed and I was pretty confident that I had the speed to come back and win or at least get past him on that last sprint.
O’Shea has another chance for glory on Saturday night when he pairs with fellow Victorian Leigh Howard in the Madison.
“The Madison is my main goal for this meet, so it’s a good way to start it off and hopefully it continues.”
In the men’s team sprint, Beijing Olympian Daniel Ellis led Team Toshiba out of the blocks with a blistering first lap, to put almost half a second into their Japanese opponents (Kazuya Narita, Yudai Nitta and Kazunari Watanabe).
Jason Niblett was solid in the second lap and Scott Sunderland brought it home strongly in the final lap to stop the clock in 44.744sec, seven tenths of a second faster than Japan (45.749).
“This is the start of the season and we are very happy with the time we have done here,” sid Niblett. “Though everyone has little improvements to make and we can make up half a second if we keep working on that.”
“We’ve come out of a few weeks preparation, so anything under 18 seconds, I was going to be happy with,” said Ellis who rode 17.7sec laps for both the qualifying and final ride. “We’re still a young group, so give us another couple of weeks, hopefully we can catch up on the Brits, maybe a few months.”
In the women’s individual pursuit, West Australia’s Josephine Tomic, 19, had to settle for behind Great Britain’s Joanna Rowsell.
The 2007 Junior World Champion over the 2km distance is in her first season riding in the senior ranks and went out fast to establish a lead of almost a second and a half midway through the race.
But having contested less than a handful of pursuits over the elite 3km distance Tomic faded in the final two laps to finish in a time of 3:42.692. Rowsell came home strongly to finish in 3:41.183 for gold. The bronze medal went to Czech rider Lada Kozlikova (3min40.793sec)
“(To go out fast) is my natural style of riding a pursuit. Having just come up from juniors only riding two kilometres, I am used to going out hard but I know that I have to work on that last bit now,” said Tomic. “I have got to be happy with a silver medal at a World Cup and it can only get better from here.”
In the women’s sprint it was an all Australian battle for bronze between veteran Kerrie Meares and rising star Kaarle McCulloch, with Meares outclassing her younger opponent in straight heats. The gold medal went to Lyubov Shulika of the Ukraine who beat Germany’s Christin Muche in two straight.
Of the Australian’s in the women’s scratch race Team Toshiba’s Belinda Goss finished seventh HP Teschner’s Rochelle Gilmore was ninth. Great Britain’s Elizabeth Armitstead ahead of Annalisa Cucinotta of Italy and Evgeniya Romanyuta of Russia.

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