2012 UCI Track World Championships
Day 5 - Shanks wins Pursuit and Meares breaks world record to take Gold in 500mTT
Alison Shanks (NZL) is world pursuit champion again. Wendy Houvenhagel (GBR) silver and in the battle for Bronze, the more experienced of the two Australians, Ashlee Ankudinoff beat the young Amy Cure.
After posting a personal best in the qualifying round, Shanks always looked like she was going to win gold. She started a little slower than Houvenaghel but was soon in control. By 2500m, the New Zealander was 2 seconds up.
In the battle for Bronze, the two Australians were evenly matched. Ankudinoff, had the edge and the experience (former World Team Pursuit Champion) however and finished in 3 minutes33.593 seconds just .049 seconds ahead of Cure
500m Time Trial
Anna Meares (AUS) was in great form early in the week during the sprint competition and on a high after winning the Keirin gold yesterday. But today was a repeat of her first World Championship in 2004 and in front of the home crowd she did not disappoint. Starting 7th, Meares set a blistering first lap and completed the 500m in a time of 33.010 seconds, .286 faster than the record of 33.296 seconds, set by Lithuanian, Simona Krupeckaite in 2009.
In the battle for Silver, the inform Miriam Welte (GER) knew she had to ride a personal best to get a medal and did that. Completing the 500m in 33.626 seconds. The young British rider Jess Varnish secured the bronze after beating the time of the Australian Kaarle McCulloch. Varnish completed the 500m in a 33.999 seconds.
Anna Meares (AUS) was set for a perfect 500m TT, ďI got my timing perfect getting myself up to maximum speed as fast as possible so I could sit down at top speed into turn three, good transition onto the bars into turn four, hold a nice line through the bends and just stay smooth. I felt like I was in walking speed in the last quarter lap. I havenít grit my teeth that hard in a race for as long as I can remember. I was just fighting for everything that I could get out of my body today."
ďI love the event. Itís so precise. Itís like having a target line out there and just holding it. I was fairly confident by the time I had ridden. I thought (silver medalist Miriam) Welte would go close.Ē
On her perfomance at these world championships, Anna Meares reflected, ďThis track has been so good to me in the past and I havenít ridden a time trial in 18-months and I knew tonight was going to be special I was looking forward to it, I did forget how much the old legs were hurting afterwards. My goodness I couldnít believe how loud this crowd was for me tonight."
ďI think itís the best form Iíve ever been in. Result wise, it hasnít been the best for me obviously with last year, the three gold medals. Only two women have ever done that, myself and Victoria Pendleton (GBR). I think with the Olympic year looming, itís fair that no women was going to dominate here at all such with the level of competition, the bar has been raised. For me to come out and medal in each event and be consistent, Iím really, really pleased with."
On her future after these world championships and the 2012 Olympics, Meares added, ďThis is definitely my last world championships in Australia. I know that. I donít know what Iím going to do after London yet. I think Iíll do exactly what I did after Beijing (Olympics). Iíll walk away from the sport and allow myself to think whether I want to continue and I can only do that if I know my heart is in it. Iím that sort of person. I make a decision and stick with it.Ē
Miriam Welte, (GER) finished the World Championships with two medals, ĒI know I canít go as fast as Anna [Meares]. When I saw the time of Jess [Varnish] and Kaarle [McCulloch], I knew I had to go under my personal best to get a medal here and I did and set a new German recordĒ
On a successful world championships, individually and for Germany, Welte added, ĒIíve enjoyed my time in Australia. (I feel) free in my head to race here. Weíve got no pressure from the (German Cycling) Federation. Just race as good as you can. The Olympics count. I think thatís the way why it was so good here.Ē
Jess Varnish (GBR) new it was going to be tough to beat the time of Anna Meares but she gave it everything for the experience, "This was the last time I will be in the start gate in a competition before the Olympics so I wanted to give it everything and I did. To come away with a bronze is great," said Varnish
Alison Shanks, (NZL) was overjoyed at winning the world title again, ďOh man, what a great feeling. Iíve had the rainbow jersey once. Itís so hard to get, to be able to come out here tonight and do it again itís so satisfying.Ē
ďItís a great feeling, Iíve been world champ once before but its so hard to get andÖonce youíve had that feeling once you want it again more and more. There were really fast times in the qualifying and I thought id have to do a personal best, just to make the final and I was absolutely stoaked with my rides tonight.Ē
The Australian crown had a large contingent of New Zealanders, ďThereís a massive Kiwi contingent that flew over. It really did feel like a bit of a home worlds in a way. It was so amazing to have that support of the crowd, especially as you come round there every lap and theyíre just roaring and it was amazing.Ē
ďIt was a little bit of a disappointing result in the team pursuit, where we obviously wanted that bronze (medal) but to come out tonight and be a world champ again its super exciting.Ē
Shanks and Houvenaghel always have great battles, ďWendy and I have had a few battles. Last time we raced on this track though she beat me by 0.2 of a second a few world cups ago but I tend to back up pretty well and I was confident that if I went out and executed the plan in the first half of the race Iíd be able to really push it and race her home.Ē
Wendy Houvenaghel (GBR) recovered from the disappointment of not making the Team Pursuit team to win silver in the Individual Pursuit, ďI was devastated when I was told I was not in the team on Thursday and knew I had to come out here today to prove that I was still in the mix for London. When I rode close to my personal best in qualifying, I knew I was in with a chance for gold. Alison [Shanks] and I have always had a great fight and tonight was no different,Ē said Houvenaghel.
Ashlee Ankudinoff, (AUS) could not have been happier with her Bronze medal, "I was the 2010 world champion and then I was out with injury in 2011, so I fought back so hard in the start of the season for 2012. Itís disappointing not making the (team pursuit) team after getting such good results. I just came out here put no pressure on myself. Iím happy to come away with a 3.28 to be honest. I mean thereís four strong girls amongst me so thereís going to be a little bit of weakness here and there. I donít train as well as the other girls. I know that I really step up on race day but youíve just got to be consistent all the time to make the team. Iím disappointed that Iím not making it but I know what I need to work on.Ē
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