Tasmanian Belinda Goss added to an impressive list of victories when she collected her fourth straight points race gold medal at the Australian Track Cycling Championships at Adelaide’s Super-Drome on Wednesday.
“I am so excited, I was sick last week, so I was a little bit nervous coming in not knowing how I was going to pull up, but I couldn’t be happier,” said a glowing Goss. “Women’s track cycling in Australia has certainly stepped up and the standard we have here is world class, so to win here tonight, I am really happy.”
In a dominant display Goss secured points in all but two of the ten sprints contested in the 100 lap race. She had the gold medal wrapped up 19 laps from home ended the race with 22 points, six ahead of reigning omnium World Champion, Josephine Tomic on 16 points. Six time junior World Champion, Megan Dunn, lined up for the first time in an elite points race at an Australian Championships and her debut was impressive. The 18 year old from Dubbo returned last week from the Beijing World Cup round where in her elite debut she won the points race. Tonight in Adelaide the gutsy teenager overcame a mid race crash to recover and ride home with 14 points for the bronze medal.
“It was a fantastic ride by Belinda and Josephine, but I am disappointed with a few mistakes on my behalf, but you live and learn and at the end of the day it is just another bike race,” said Dunn. “The fall did happen, and I missed out on a sprint, but it is what it is and you can’t say what if.
“The points is my main event and what I was focused on, so I will be putting everything into the scratch race now with lots of motivation after tonight’s result.”
In her return to the track, 2004 Australian points race Champion and now established road professional Alexis Rhodes (SA) launched three attacks during the race in a bid to gain points but was unable to hold off her rivals who kept her to 11 points and a fourth place finish.
Earlier in the night Canberra’s Daniel Ellis won his first senior individual Australian Championship claiming the gold medal in the men’s sprint.
“It feels great, to come out here with the training our whole group has had, to come out with the win, it is a perfect lead up to the World Championships in March,” said Ellis who claimed silver in the team sprint and bronze in the keirin at the recent Beijing round of the World Cup Series.
Ellis posted the fastest qualifying time yesterday of 10.266sec and cruised through the rounds to a gold medal showdown with Perth’s Scott Sunderland. The pair are usually on the same team in Team Jayco colours in the team sprint but in tonight’s final it was all business.
“It hurt, it hurt a lot, but being up against Scotty, one of my teammates, we know how to ride each other, so it made it a little bit easier,” explained Ellis. “First individual gold medal at an Australian Championships, it is a great feeling, to come out with the green and gold jersey, it is excellent.”
Ellis powered around Sunderland in the first of their best of three heats to clear away for a win but in the second heat the pair played cat and mouse in the final lap until Ellis jumped with 200m to go. Sunderland challenged but it was Ellis who crossed first to clinch the gold medal.
Defending champion, Shane Perkins, was forced to withdraw from the Championships last week with a bulging disc in his back opening the way for the 2009 silver medalist to claim the crown.
“It would have been nice to have Perko around, to have a rematch from last year, but I will just have to wait and see come the World Championships,” he said. “It is a big boost for my confidence, even with just the time of 10.2 (qualifying), it should qualify me up in the top seven at the World Championships.
“To go faster than that would be great, but to get that extra speed is a whole process between now and worlds, and as we are in a building block in training, it can only get better from here.”
Canberra’s Alex Bird was awarded the bronze medal after Victoria’s Jason Niblett, the second fastest qualifier, was forced to withdraw due to illness prior to his scheduled semi-final match up against Sunderland.
A consistent performance by Tasmania’s Amy Cure saw her collect her second gold medal of the Championships as she rode to victory in the Under 19 women’s points race.
Cure, who claimed gold in the 2km individual pursuit last night, collected points in all eight sprints, taking a maximum five points three times, to finish on 24 points.
“I just wanted to try and get points in each sprint as I knew the West Australian girls had a strong team and I had to keep an eye on them,” said the seventeen-year-old. “Once I was out in front early in the race, I was just trying to keep calm and keep up in the sprints.”
West Australia’s Isabella King took the silver medal on 20 points, with South Australia’s Letitia Custance powering home to take the final sprint points and the bronze medal with a final tally of 13 points.
After yesterday’s record breaking day in the pursuit, more records tumbled in this afternoon’s sprint qualifying.
New South Wales’ Kaarle McCulloch set a new Championship record in the women’s sprint qualifying with a time of 11.383sec for the flying 200m, beating the mark set by Anna Meares in 2007 of 11.390.
With Meares and fellow Queenslander Emily Rosemond absent from the Championships, McCulloch, who with Meares is the reigning team sprint World Champion, was anxious for a good performance.
“There is obviously a little bit of honor to uphold here and I have put a little bit of pressure on myself too, but I really wanted to come out here and stamp my authority and put a good time on the board which I did, so I am very happy,” said McCulloch.
South Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer set a new Australian record in the U19 qualifying with a time of 10.410, breaking Scott Sunderland’s record of 10.452 and erasing the Australian Championship record of 10.590 set by Sydney’s Ben Kersten in 1999.
West Australian Holly Williams clocked 11.782 in the U19 women’s sprint qualifying to break the Championship record of 11.840 set by Victorian Rahna Demarte in 1999.
The finals of all three events will be held on Thursday.