SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AFP) — Australian Anna Meares won a historic 11th women’s world title as France ended the UCI World Track Cycling Championships in Paris in celebratory style.
Meares won the women’s keirin to eclipse the record gold-medal mark of 10 she previously shared with Frenchwoman Felicia Ballanger.
But there was plenty to cheer for the home fans as Gregory Bauge won his fourth men’s sprint title and ninth world crown in total while Bryan Coquard and Morgan Kneisky claimed gold in the Madison.
Australia shared the limelight as Annette Edmondson won the women’s omnium but the hosts topped the medals table with five golds ahead of the Aussies (four) and Germany (three).
Britain, after their Olympic dominance two-and-a-half years ago, failed to win a single gold and finished down in 10th — their worst record since 2001.
Still the star of the day — in all but French eyes — was Meares, who claimed a 25th world championship medal.
“I had a dream before the Paris worlds were announced that the world titles were in France, that I got to win my 11th world title, and that I got to meet Felicia Ballanger,” said Meares.
“Two of those have happened — I still haven’t met the great woman, but there’s still time.”
Meares was in complete control of the keirin final, helped perhaps by teammate Stephanie Morton being disqualified from competing after suffering a mechanical problem on the opening lap.
The two were separated by just one thousandths of a second in their semi-final, although Meares did win it.
Shanne Braspennincx of the Netherlands took the silver ahead of Cuba’s Lisandra Guerra in third.
Australia’s women finished with four gold medals from a possible nine as Edmondson beat Olympic champion Laura Trott of Britain to the omnium title.
It was the 23-year-old’s second gold medal of the championships having been part of the Australian world record-breaking team pursuit squad on Thursday.
Edmondson had never before beaten Trott at a world championship or Olympics, four times taking a minor medal behind the Brit, who was also world champion in 2012.
Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands, who won the scratch race world title on Saturday, took bronze.
Bauge wins sprint
Bauge was a hugely popular winner of the men’s sprint in an ecstatic finish to the five-day competition for the home fans.
Frenchmen won the final two disciplines as Bauge thrilled with his powerful sprinting.
And he raised his hand up to the sky showing all five fingers, in reference to the 2011 world title he was stripped of for missing three doping tests.
Bauge won four sprint titles in a row from 2009 to 2012 but lost the 2011 one — as well as France’s team sprint title that same year — on a back-dated ban.
He was too strong for Russia’s Denis Dmitriev in the final and succeeded compatriot Francois Pervis as sprint champion, also winning his second gold of the championships to add to the team sprint snared Wednesday after New Zealand was demoted for an early changeover.
France ensured they would finish top of the medals table, despite winning just seven compared to Australia’s 11, as their Madison pair won a bewildering if exciting race.
Coquard and Kniesky beat Italian pair Liam Bertazzo and Elia Viviani by one point while Belgian duo Jasper de Buyst and Otto Vergaerde pipped the reigning champions David Muntaner and Albert Torres of Spain to bronze on finishing position.