Aussie Focus

Clonan the new queen of the sprint at track nationals

Kristina Clonan has shown that she's the new fastest woman on two wheels, winning both the 500m time trial and the women's sprint at nationals in the past few days at the 2021 AusCycling National Track Championships at the Anna Meares Velodrome.

Kristina Clonan, AusCycling Track National Championships 2021

Kristina Clonan enroute to the sprint win at the AusCycling Track National Championships 2021 Source: John Veage

SBS Cycling Central's Facebook page will have all the action from the Day 3 session of the 2021 AusCycling Track Nationals Competition, starting from 7.25pm AEDT.

Brisbane's own Kristina Clonan has impressed at the track nationals in her home city, continuing her rise through the sprinter's ranks with wins in the traditional sprinter's events, the 500m time trial and the match sprints.

Making it even more impressive has been Clonan's transition from the endurance and road disciplines of the sport to the more specialised focus of track sprinting with seeming ease.

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Clonan looked comfortable in each of her sprint events, winning the 500m time trial by .45 of a second with her time of 34.151. She then backed that up by posting the fastest qualifying time for the sprint events and then winning every match sprint to take out the title emphatically.



In doing so, Clonan overtook the mantle as Australia's top sprinter with a clear victory over Kaarle McCulloch when the pair matched up in the semi-final of the competition.

"To be here amongst riders such as Kaarle, she's been my idol for such a long time, and it's just awesome to get amongst it," said Clonan ahead of the event.

“I feel like where I’m at in this moment … I’m kind of just riding everything. I honestly show up every day with the mindset I’m going to go hard and I’m not boycotting anything.”

Kaarle McCulloch, the London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist and four-time world champion, is coming off a back injury that has meant that she's had a long and hard road back to getting near her best form. She didn't participate in the 2020 track nationals in December but showed promising signs on the road to Tokyo with her bronze medal performance.



In the other elite events, it was wins for Conor Leahy (WA) in the elite men's pursuit and Sam De Riter (VIC) in the elite women's pursuit. 

Leahy posted a time of 4.14.43, edging out James Moriaty (QLD) in the gold-medal ride. Leahy defended his 2020 title, which now sits as part of his impressive, growing palmares, joining his silver medal in the road Under 23 national time trial. Pat Eddy (VIC) was the bronze medallist with his impressive just a few weeks after returning to the track over Oliver Bleddyn (WA) in fourth.

De Riter was more comfortable in her win, her time of 3:35.070 over two seconds faster than Lauren Perry (TAS), with Amber Pate (SA) winning the bronze in the face-off with Sophie Edwards (SA).

In the juniors, Zac Marriage and Leo Zimmermann were the chief animators of an electric U19 Madison final which opened the night session of Day 2.

The South Australian pair was steadily eating into the points lead of Victorian pair Tarun Cook and Alex Jones, but with 30 laps remaining, they turned the race on its head with a courageous surge off the front in search of a lap on the main bunch.

Marriage and Zimmermann persisted for close to 25 laps off the front in search of the tantalising 20 points for lapping the field, which came in the dying moments and proved to be the gold medal-winning moment.

Rising star Alessia McCaig continued her undefeated run at the Championships by winning the U19 women’s keirin final.

It was a day to remember for McCaig, who had earlier in the day broke her own national 500m time trial record on the way to winning gold in the U19 500m time trial final.

The Victorian stopped the clock at 34.354secs, which is just under half a second quicker than her winning time at the 2020 Championships last December.

One of the team highlights of the day was the New South Wales podium sweep in the U19 men’s keirin final.

Daniel Barber, Ryan Britten and Daniel Samuel dominated the final and had the blue corner of the Anna Meares Velodrome up on their feet.

SBS Cycling Central's Facebook page will have all the action from the Day 3 session of the 2021 AusCycling Track Nationals Competition, starting from 7.25pm AEDT.


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4 min read
Published 26 March 2021 at 11:06am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS