• Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch celebrate their silver at the 2017 Track World Championships Hong Kong in the women's team sprint (Getty)Source: Getty
Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton nabbed Australia's first medal of the Track World Championships in Hong Kong. Earlier, Australia's men's team pursuiters displayed their blistering form.
Source:
Cycling Australia
13 Apr 2017 - 9:06 AM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2017 - 9:09 AM

Reigning world champions, the Russian pair Anastasia Voinova and Daria Shmeleva (32.520) were just too good for the Australians in the race for gold. But Morton and McCulloch (32.570) did break the five-year old Australian record of 32.597 set by McCulloch and Anna Meares. 

"We had been training really well back home in Adelaide so I just knew tonight I had to do my job," Morton said. "We managed to lift every time, we executed the plan we wanted to, it was the little things we got right."

"I was a little nervous to start off with as I haven't done any start work since Rio," McCulloch said. “It was actually something Simon Jones said to me this week, he said ‘You might not have done many starts lately, but you have done many starts during your career. I just remembered that and I absolutely nailed it.

“Plus, this (silver medal) is pretty special, particularly as I don’t think we were expecting to ride off for the rainbows tonight."

In their qualifying heat against Great Britain, the Australian men's team pursuiters set a time of 3:50.577, just 0.3 of a second off ironically, Great Britian's world record set in Rio last year of 3:50.265.  The quartet of Cameron Meyer, Sam Welsford, Alex Porter, and 18-year-old Kelland O'Brien caught and passed their fierce rivals with two laps to go, the catch perhaps hindering a world record time. 

With just a win needed in their next heat and not a time, Australia, who subbed in Rowan Wight for Meyer, moved easily past France, doing enough with a slower time of 3:54.125,to set up a gold medal race-off against New Zealand on day two. 

Earlier in the women's team pursuit, Australians Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure, Rebecca Wiasak and debutant Alex Manly set the second fastest time in qualifying (4:18.659) bested only by USA's time of 4:17.722. They race in round one later tonight against Canada.