• Australia rode to its sixth team pursuit world title in eight years with a win over New Zealand. (Getty)Source: Getty
Australia successfully defended their men's team pursuit title at the UCI Track World Championships, storming to victory over New Zealand at the Hong Kong Velodrome.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Reuters
14 Apr 2017 - 6:45 AM  UPDATED 14 Apr 2017 - 5:00 PM

Australia, who were favourites after coming within a whisker of breaking the world record in qualifying on Wednesday, fell behind midway through the race but recovered impressively to surge to victory with a 2.476-second gap over their rivals.

The win for Sam Welsford, Alexander Porter, Cameron Meyer and Nicholas Yallouris is Australia's seventh world title in the past 11 editions of the event, while Italy took bronze over a new-look Britain side.

The win gave Cameron Meyer, already Australia’s most decorated track cyclists, his seventh world crown and second in the team pursuit after winning the title in 2010.

"It's been a long time between drinks I guess you could say,” Meyer said. “The feeling is still the same, it's unbelievable to win a world title and I couldn't have started the championships any better and I'm ecstatic for the rest of the guys.

"I think we got everything we wanted out of it, three really consistent, solid rides, and we used six riders,” said Meyer, 29, of his younger squad-mates which featured three debutants including one teenager in O’Brien.

"So the experience we got, some might have only done one round, but they did it at world class times and under enormous pressure.

"The ultimate goal we kept talking about was the win, we wanted the world title first and if the record comes that's a bonus.

"To ride a 51 and win the world title is what we wanted to do.”

AUSTRALIA WOMEN RIDE TO SILVER

The day ended with the U.S. women's pursuit team defending their title in a thriller against Australia that had the crowd on its feet.

The U.S. team of Kelly Catlin, Chloe Dygert, Jennifer Valente and the veteran Sarah Hammer charged into an early lead, but Australia recovered by the 2,500-metre mark and the teams raced to the finish with neither able to stay in front.

Australia was ahead by 0.412 seconds going into the final lap, but an inspired effort from Dygert pulled the Americans over the line with a 0.417-second margin of victory, while New Zealand took bronze over Italy.

Despite the near-miss, team veteran Ashlee Ankudinoff was proud of the effort made by Amy Cure, Rebecca Wiasak and Alexandra Manly across the two-day event.

“I’m over the moon, it is a pretty special moment to win silver,” she said. “I was confident we could produce something special here, but we were just beaten by a better team on the day.

“We knew we had been putting in some consistent training back in Adelaide and I was lining up with three other girls who had done everything they could in the lead up to this.

“Bec has stepped up and is now a powerhouse in the team full credit to her, Alex Manly has really stepped up at her first world champs. I am really looking forward to the next four years with these ladies.”

Poland's Adrian Teklinski won the men's scratch race for his first world title after risking everything with a surprise attack in the final kilometre that saw him open up a half-lap lead over the pack.

Germany's Lucas Liss, the 2015 champion, chased hard as Teklinski tired but could only manage silver, while Britain's Chris Latham held on in third for his first championship podium finish.

Azizulhasni Awang won Malaysia's first world title with a comprehensive victory in the men's keirin, finishing three lengths clear of silver medallist Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata of Columbia, with Czech cyclist Thomas Babek in third.

Awang, known affectionately as "Pocket Rocket Man", won bronze in each of the last two editions of the world championships.