By Agence France Presse
Australia finished the top nation in this weekend’s opening round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics in Sydney, propelled by its women riders.
Australia’s women won four gold medals and their consistent performances across the board lifted the team to 103 points to finish four points clear of defending series champion the Netherlands after 16 events over three days.
Russia finished third with 90 points ahead of Germany (75), France (54) and Great Britain (50).
The highlight of the round was the world record ride by Australian Anna Meares, whose time of 33.944 seconds for the 500-meter time trial eclipsed the record she set to win gold at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Meares claimed a second gold medal at the meet when she joined with sister Kerrie in the team sprint, while Katie Mactier took home the gold in the 3km individual pursuit.
Kate Bates kicked off the Australians’ medal haul on the opening night with victory in the points race.
Russia’s Olympic points race champion Mikhail Ignatiev was the standout in the men’s competition with gold medals in the points race, teams pursuit and Madison events.
Head coach Martin Barras said the Australians’ objective was to be competitive in six or seven events.
“We can see from the medals and performances that we have achieved that goal, but it was a case of hits and misses over the three days,” Barras said.
“The hits were obviously the women, (Anna) Meares, Bates and Mactier, but some of the men posted impressive performances as well.”
After two days of competition without a trip to the podium for the U.S. Cycling Team, Jennie Reed (Spike) provided a much-needed spark with a silver-medal performance in the women’s keirin Sunday.
Reed breezed through her two qualifying heats to earn a trip to the finals where she finished behind Guo Shuang of China to claim the first and only medal for the U.S. team Down Under.
The second round of the series takes place in Moscow from December 15-17.
UCI Track World Cup
1. Mikhail Ignatiev/Nikolai Trussov (RUS) 22pts, 2. Michael Morkov/Alex Rasmussen (DEN) 15, 3. Sebastian Donadio/Jorge Pi (ARG) 12.
Great Britain (Ross Edgar, Chris Hoy, Craig McLean) beat Netherlands (Theo Bos, Teun Mulder, Tim Veldt)
Science in Sport (Matthew Crampton, Jason Queally, Jamie Staff) beat AIS (Ryan Bayley, Shane Perkins, Scott Sunderland).
1. Vera Koedooder (NED), 2. Charlotte Becker (GER), 3. Alena Prudnikova (RUS).
1. Guo Shuang (CHN), 2. Jennie Reed (USA), 3. Dana Gloss (GER)
Australia (Anna Meares, Kerrie Meares) beat Germany (Jane Gerisch, Dana Gloss)
France (Virginie Cueff, Clara Sanchez) beat Italy (Annalisa Cucinotta, Elisa Frisoni)
World Cup team standings
1. Australia 103
2. Netherlands 99
3. Russia 90
4. Germany 75
5. France 54
6. Great Britain 50