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Aussies charged up for track worlds

No fewer than nine defending champions will line up for Australia at the world track cycling championships later this month in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, Cycling Australia announced Tuesday.

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2011 Track World Cup, Manchester, England. Dennis Rohan
Australia's Dennis Rohan won individual pursuit gold at the Manchester World Cup last month.

No fewer than nine defending champions will line up for Australia at the world track cycling championships later this month in
Apeldoorn, Netherlands, Cycling Australia announced Tuesday.

Following a painful humbling by Britain at the 2008 Olympic Games, Australia’s resurgence as a track power continued apace last year when they topped the medals table at the worlds in Copenhagen.

Australian track worlds team

Women’s Sprint Events: Kaarla McCullouch, Anna Meares, and Emily Rosemund
Men’s Sprint Events: Daniel Ellis, Matthew Glaetzer, Jason Niblett, Shane
Perkins and Scott Sunderland
Women’s Endurance Events: Katherine Bates, Amy Cure, Melissa Hopkins, Sarah
Kent and Josephine Tomic (final seleciton to be made by March 9)
Men’s Endurance Events: Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge,
Michael Freiburg, Michael Hepburn, Leigh Howard, and Cameron Meyer

And with just over a year to go until the London Olympics, the ‘Cyclones’ are hoping some strong performances in the recent World Cup series helps them keep the momentum going all the way to the March 23-27 competition.

“We’re coming off the back of a strong World Cup campaign where we fielded both development and elite squads,” said Australia’s national performance director Kevin Tabotta.

“We used the series to chase Olympic qualification points and to ensure we qualified all the places we needed for the World Championships and now the team we’re sending to Apeldoorn is the cream of the crop.”

The men’s endurance line-up will be led by Cameron Meyer, who won three gold medals last year before going on to claim another triple at the Commonwealth Games.

Jack Bobridge last month clocked a world record time of 4min 10.534 seconds for the 4000m in individual pursuit qualifying at the national titles to eclipse the previous mark set 15 years earlier by Britain’s Chris Boardman riding in the now banned ‘superman’ position.

Rohan Dennis rode the third fastest time in history on the same day. The individual pursuit is no longer an Olympic Games event but remains on the world championships schedule and is one of the sport’s prestige events.

Anna Meares heads to the Netherlands quietly confident of success after a solid lead up to the championships.

Meares, whose silver in the sprint was Australia’s only track medal of the 2008 Olympic Games, claimed victory in the sprint at the final round of the World Cup in Manchester.

To do so she handed a straight heats defeat to 2008 Olympic champion and British favourite, Victoria Pendleton, in the semi-finals before winning a third heat decider over China’s Shuang Guo in the gold medal round.

Meares, 27, will head to Apeldoorn “in the best position she’s ever been in to deliver a sprint medal”, according to Tabotta, and hoping to land her first world title in the blue riband event.

In Manchester Meares and Kaarle McCulloch joined forces for the first time this season to win gold in the team sprint. They head to Apeldoorn with their eyes on a hat-trick having won the event in both 2009 and 2010.