Fresh from her under 19 ITT and road race victories in Ballarat in January, Victorian Sarah Gigante has added a third gold medal to her 2018 track national championships haul with a win in the under 19 points race.
The 17-year-old pegged back a 13 point deficit to Alex Martin-Wallace (QLD) at the halfway point by winning sprint after sprint. Martin-Wallace crashed with six laps to go and while she was able to rejoin the race, Gigante's lead was just too much.
Gigante's two other gold medals came in the under 19 women's madison with Jemma Eastwood and in the under 19 women's team pursuit with Eastwood, Alice Culling and Ashlee Jones.
South Australia's Matthew Glaetzer completed a clean sweep of the four men's sprint national titles on offer with another blistering performance in the men's keirin. The powerhouse won the final by more than two bike lengths.
“Always a tough start with the team sprint and the kilo in the first day but you have to take it one race at a time,” Glaetzer said.
“That’s what I was doing staying in the good mindset because the last day of racing is always tough and to try and keep in those winning ways. It’s a good test for the mental part of the race.
It was a closer affair in the women's keirin with Kaarle McCulloch (NSW) pushing Morton all the way to the win.
This year's track national sprint silver medallist Caitlin Ward unfortunately crashed out of the race.
"I did hear the crash so I knew someone had come down and I just had a quick look behind and I could see the visor flying across the floor,” Morton said. “At the end of the day that’s bike racing and I know how it feels to be the one on the deck. So I went over to make sure she was okay, I know she’s had a tough battle with injury.
“Bike racing is bike racing so whatever happens, out there stays out there and when you see a teammate down you always need to make sure they’re okay.”
Although his second gold medal of this year's meet after winning the men's team pursuit with Victoria, 19-year-old Kelland O'Brien's victory in the 40km points race was still somewhat a surprise. South Australia's Joshua Harrison was expected to better his silver from last year's race. During the race, the pair formed a breakaway with Stephen Hall (WA).
At the halfway point, the breakaway trio took a lap and the associated points and while the bunch hauled them in with 50 laps to go, they worked together to contest sprint lap after sprint lap.
Ultimately though, the youngster won the day with a 62 points over Harrison (45 points) and Stephen Hall (38 points).
“It was really good, I didn’t feel too good the first 50 or so laps, so it took a while for me to ride in. It was definitely a tough race out there but it just goes to show that the depth in Australia is just growing and the racing is getting harder and harder," said O’Brien.
“Josh is an amazing competitor, I have so much respect for him coming out later in the week. It’s been an amazing week of riding from him.”
Tasmanian Amy Cure bagged her second gold medal of the track nationals in the 10km scratch race. But it came down to a photo finish with team mate Georgia Baker.
"Alex [Manly] did the late attack there which made it quite tough, but G and I just happened to be in a perfect position and I just laid off her wheel a bit and left my run to the last minute,” Cure said.
“So it was quite close! I wasn’t planning for it to be that close but like you say it was coming across the line not knowing the position you’re in and to have the photo finish with a one-two for Tasmania is just an awesome feeling.”
“I really love the bunch races so to go back to back (gold in the points race) with both of them is a huge achievement for me and if you said leading into the comp that I’d go back to back, I wouldn’t believe you,” Cure said. “It’s great to see that all the hard work I’ve put in is paying off.”
The other title winners on the final day of the championships included Tom Cornish (NSW) in the under 19 men's kilo time trial, Alana Field (VIC) in the under 19 women's sprint, and Luke Plapp and Nathan Bof (VIC) in the under 19 men's madison.