Meares, McCulloch keep Aussie... | Australian Olympic Committee

Meares, McCulloch keep Aussies winning

Author imageAOC24 Mar 2011

Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch continued Australia's winning ways at the track cycling world championships by capturing

Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch continued Australia's winning ways at the track cycling world championships by capturing their third straight team sprint title on Thursday night.

The pair comfortably accounted for the British pair of Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish to lift Australia to the top of the medal tally after two days of competition.

Athens Olympic gold medallist Meares provided a strong platform in Apeldoorn, leading her partner out to a half-second advantage before McCulloch held on against sprint supremo Pendleton to win in 33.237 seconds with a victory margin of almost three tenths of a second.

World record holder Jack Bobridge topped off the night for Australia by winning his maiden world title in the non-Olympic individual pursuit after the women's team pursuit missed out on the medals.

The results gave Australia three golds and a bronze from the opening two days of action.

Meares said she had been confident that her teammate had the legs to hold off Beijing Olympic sprint champion Pendleton.

"Victoria Pendleton has one of the fastest laps in the team sprint but I am backing my teammate the whole way," she said.

McCulloch said she had been a bit edgy in qualifying but had believed she had a slick ride in her for the final.

"I always knew I was going to rip it up in the second ride and I certainly did that," she said.

Bobridge (4minutes, 21.141seconds) raised his right arm in triumph after prevailing in the final against New Zealand's Jesse Sergent (4:23.865).

He soaked up the warm applause of the modest crowd but said it had been hard work on the night.

"Started breathing pretty heavy about halfway through but managed to control it and hold him off and finally get the individual title," the 21-year-old said.

Australia's Michael Hepburn held off teammate Rohan Dennis in the bronze medal race.

With only one member of last year's world-title winning women's pursuit team in action in Apeldoorn, Australia (3:24.422) slid off the podium with New Zealand (3:24.065) edging them out for bronze.

Josephine Tomic, the sole surviving member from Copenhagen, said watching the Brits (3:23.419) defeat the USA in the final had fired her up in the lead-up to next year's London Olympics.

"There are a few girls who missed out on the ride, Sarah (Kent), and a few at home and we are all going to be really motivated," she said.

"It is a new team and there was a bit of the unknown coming into tonight but no excuses, we had plenty of time to gel but we just did not do it on the day.

"I know speaking for myself I just saw the Pommy girls win that and gee, I am motivated already."

Tom Wald