By Agence France Presse
Anna Meares, Australia’s Olympic and Commonwealth Games track cycling champion, set a world record for the women’s 500-meter time trial on Saturday.
Meares clocked a time of 33.944 seconds to break her own world record by eight one-thousandths of a second in the final of the event at the UCI World Cup track meet in Sydney.
The 23-year-old Queenslander set her last world record when she won gold at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.
Meares beat reigning world champion Natalia Tsylinskaya of Belarus in the final, and her achievement was all the more welcome after a back injury last year threatened to end her career.
“I thought it was possible, simply because this season I’ve had an uninterrupted preparation and the back injury has just gone,” said Meares.
“Things have been stepping up slowly each week, times were improving and power was improving and I thought if I could ride a 34.5 I would have been really ecstatic with that.
“And when I looked up, I saw Natalia’s (Tsylnskaya) time first and I thought, ‘Nice time’, and then mine was flashing and it caught my eye. ‘What the … Oh my God!’ I won’t say what I thought.”
Meares’ record time also came in rather unfriendly racing conditions. It was only 24 degrees Celsius with 48 percent humidity, while her Athens time was set in 40-plus degrees and almost no humidity.
The Sydney World Cup is the first of the four-round series and kicks off the the season which has Meares believing she can lower the mark again at the world championships in March next year in Spain.
Unfortunately for Meares, she will not be able to defend her Olympic crown in Beijing. The UCI dropped it and the men’s kilometer time trial from the Olympic track program.
UCI World Cup
Team pursuit (4000m)1. Russia (Mikhail Ignatiev, Ivan Rovny, Alexander Serov, Nikolai Trussov). 4:05.506
2. Denmark (Michael Morkov, Casper Jorgensen, Jens Erik Madsen, Alex Rasmussen). 4:07.659
3. Ukraine (Roman Kononenko, Lyubomyr Polatayko, Maksym Polischuk, Vitaliy Shchedov). 4:08.534
Points race (30km)
1. Mikhail Ignatiev (RUS) 31pts
2. Greg Henderson (NZL) 17
3. Vasili Kiryienka (BLR) 15
1. Craig McLean (GBR) 10.937
2. Ross Edgar (GBR) 10.684
3. Teun Mulder (NED)
500m time trial
1. Anna Meares (AUS) 33.944 (world record)
2. Simona Krupeckaite (LTU) 34.802
3. Yvonne Hijgenaar (NED) 34.901
Individual pursuit (3000m)
1. Katie Mactier (AUS) 3:38.742
2. Wendy Houvenhagel (GBR) 3:39.706
3. Vilija Sereikaite (LTU) 3:40.887
1. Australia (Anna Meares, Kerrie Meares) 34.504
2. Germany (Jane Gerisch, Dana Gloss) 35.041
3. France (Virginie Cueff, Clara Sanchez) 35.259