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Queensland State Track Championships - NE
Chandler Velodrome, Australia, January 2-7, 2006
Race 1 - January 2: Men/U19 Men: 4000m TP, 1 lap TT; Women/U19 Women: 500m TT
World Class show to open Queensland Track Cycling Championships
Sibling rivalry intensifies for Commonwealth Games as Kerrie Meares wins time trial gold
By John Michael Flynn in Brisbane, Australia
Picture this! The Olympic Champion and world record holder in the 500 metre women's time trial, Anna Meares, is forced to watch her pet event from the grandstand after aggravating a back injury. Her sister, Kerrie, who also happens to be the Commonwealth Games Champion, returns to top form with a gold medal winning performance in the same event, as she prepares to launch her Games defence.
Then to cap it off, the world junior keirin champion Chloe Macpherson chimes in with a world class time, to win the silver medal in the 500 metre time trial in her first major race in the senior ranks.
Then consider the plight of New Zealand sprint champion Elisabeth Williams, who travelled from Auckland to Brisbane in a last ditch effort to qualify for her country's Commonwealth Games team, but finished just a fraction of a second outside the qualifying time! Suffice to say, the Elite Women's 500 metre time trial was clearly deserving of 'Main Event' status on day one of the Queensland Track Cycling Championships.
Hot and steamy week of racing
With Australia's East Coast in the grip of a summer heat wave, the air thick and the humidity hovering around 90 per cent, it was never going to be a day for record breaking performances on the outdoor concrete track at Brisbane's Chandler Velodrome.
Still, with the a top class field assembled in the Women's 500 metre time trial and the big name riders on an upward taper towards the March Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, expectations were surely high. Unfortunately, the much anticipated clash of the Meares sisters at their home state title didn't eventuate. Anna Meares, the world record holder and Olympic Champion in the 500 metre time trial, was forced to withdraw at the last minute.
"I was scheduled to race however last week I did a gym session on Wednesday and aggravated my back injury," Anna told Cyclingnews. "I've had a week off and it's better now, but because I've had a week off and haven't ridden the bike it wasn't smart for me to go back into a five hundred metre time trial as the first thing back."
The withdrawal of Anna Meares, ensured the favouritism rested squarely on the shoulders of older sister Kerrie and the senior of the Meares girls didn't disappoint. Kerrie's time trial split of 36.30 was enough to win gold on the day, and place everyone, including her younger sister on notice that the Commonwealth Games champion is on a mission.
"To defend my titles of course, keep them away from Anna," Kerrie Meares affirmed to Cyclingnews while catching her breath after the all out TT effort. "Obviously Victoria Pendleton's another, she's the current world champion at the moment.
"I haven't raced State's (Queensland titles) for a couple of years so it's nice to come back and be amongst the likes of very tough competition."
Tougher competition than expected
With one of Rockhampton's famous cycling sisters forced to sit and watch the time trial event, it was the 'kid from up the road' who surprised everyone by posting a time of world standard. Chloe Macpherson of Mackay (the neighbouring city to Rockhampton in Australia) proved her recent world junior championship in the keirin was no flash in the pan, giving up just eight tenths of a second to Meares with a time of 36.38.
"Best in the world come out here today. Good to go against people from Australia knowing that they've done so good in other places," the World Junior champion said of her first championship race in the senior ranks. "Coming down and doing a time like that means the training's paid off."
It was an effort that clearly caught the eye of both of the Meares sisters. Anna Meares is predicting a bright future for the latest Central Queensland cycling talent to emerge.
"Fantastic time for a first year senior," Anna said. "I really look forward to seeing what she can bring to the plate when we step up to national's and the international level as well."
Commonwealth Games build up
Macpherson will join the Meares sisters as they continue their Commonwealth Games buildup in Adelaide during what is expected to be a rigorous phase of training. "Chloe's coming down to the institute and training with us next couple of weeks," Kerrie Meares told Cyclingnews of the upcoming program. "At the moment we're getting a bit of endurance strength base, some hard work on the road as well on track and in the gym, and slowly taper up towards the Commonwealth Games in March."
The Meares sisters also have a World Cup event to look forward to in Los Angeles in just over two weeks, before they carry Australia's hopes in the four-yearly contest of Commonwealth Nations. But neither sister is willing to talk up her chances in the contest which holds great prestige among Australia's sports mad public.
"I've started from square one this season with an injury and had to take my time with the season's preparation," Olympic Champion Anna Meares admitted after watching her sister race from the stands. "So I'm looking at medal chances (in the 500 TT and women's sprint) but I want to do what I did leading into Athens and that's basically just do my best and that should bring out whatever result."
As one would expect, both of the Meares siblings are taking much the same approach, however tough it must be racing against each other. "I've just gotta do the best I can and see how it goes," Kerrie Meares said. "It never ends (the rivalry) but that's OK, it's what keeps pushing me harder."
At least the Meares sisters can be thankful they've posted qualifying times for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games! New Zealander Elisabeth Williams travelled to the West Island (Kiwi speak for Australia) with the express purpose of sneaking under 36 seconds for the 500 TT, but on a humid and slightly windy outdoor track, it was always going to be a big ask.
"I can tell you now I'm not really happy with the time," the New Zealand sprint champion told Cyclingnews post race. "I haven't qualified for Commonwealth Games, I haven't broken 36. I thought coming here would be a good opportunity to do that and as it happened I didn't do it."
There was no point offering up excuses to the New Zealander, who has until January 20th to book a place in the team for the Commonwealth Games, an event her country, like Australia, holds dear.
"But, but, but," Williams lamented, half laughing, half crying. "It's gotta be easier to do it here in 40 degrees than at home in like ten (degrees) in gale force winds."
Strong regional showing
In the Under 19 Women's 500 metre time trial, there was yet another strong showing, with Balmoral's Courtney Lee Lay posting a time of 38.74 seconds, a result which would have placed her third in the senior ranks.
Cyclists from regional Queensland featured prominently in the remaining events. In the under 19 Men's standing one lap time trial, World Championship medalist Jeremy Hogg and club mate Lachlan Plane completed a Rockhampton quinella. In the open men's standing one lap time trial, Townsville's William Draffen claimed the gold medal.
The final of the Men's 4000 metre team pursuit finished up a close affair. While the times were slow by any set of conditions, the Queensland University team led by National Club Road Champion Peter Herzig performed well enough to win gold on the day in just under 4 minutes and 50 seconds. The Queensland Senior State Track Cycling Championships continue at Brisbane's Chandler Velodrome over the next five nights.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by John Flynn/Cyclingnews.com
Elite Women 500m time trial 1 Kerrie Meares (Rockhampton Cycle Club) 36.30 2 Chloe Macpherson (Mackay Cycling Club) 36.38 3 Elisabeth Williams (Counties Manukau CC) 36.47 4 Alexandra Bright (Rockhampton Cycle Club) 38.90 5 Julie Barnett (Broncos) 39.28 6 Jacqui Klowss (Broncos) 43.02 DNS Anna Meares (Rockhampton Cycle Club) Junior Under 19 Women 500m time trial 1 Courtney Le Lay (Balmoral Cycle Club) 38.74 2 Terese Mcauliffe (Balmoral Cycle Club) 42.70 3 Alexandra Mathewson (Toowoomba Cycling Club Inc.) 42.78 4 Elicia Pretorius (Sunshine Coast Cycling Club) 43.53 Junior Under 19 Men standing lap time trial 1 Jeremy Hogg (Rockhampton Cycle Club) 24.29 2 Lachlan Plane (Rockhampton Cycle Club) 24.68 3 Byron Davis (Kangaroo Point C C) 24.81 4 Tyler Wright (Rockhampton Cycle Club) 25.17 5 Malcolm Rudolph (Maryborough & District CC) 25.22 6 Tarquin Wallace (Balmoral Cycle Club) 25.32 Elite Men standing lap time trial 1 William Draffen (Townsville Cycle Club) 24.12 2 Benjamin Simonelli (Broncos) 24.21 3 David Miller (Port Adelaide C.C.) 24.34 4 Lindsay Mcmaster (Rockhampton Cycle Club) 24.57 5 Wade Cosgrove (Rockhampton Cycle Club) 24.71 6 Daniel Mcculloch (Ffast Cycle Club) 24.99 7 Paul Jackson (Uni Cycle Club) 25.00 8 Craig Mclennan (Mackay Cycling Club) 9 Stephen Storer (Gold Coast Goldstars C C) 25.06 10 Jay Callaghan (Rockhampton Cycle Club) 25.14 11 Patrick Dennis (Victor Cycle Club) 25.53 12 Clayton Berg (Broncos) 25.74 13 Jordan Roberts (Kilkenny C.C.) 25.94 14 Christopher Wilson (Kangaroo Point C C) 26.38 15 James Bondio (MTBA) 26.55 Elite Men 4000m team pursuit 1 University Cycling Club 4.49.49 Peter Herzig Murray McClymont Robert Blum Nigel Kee 2 Victor Broncos 4.57.20 Tim Chiverton Kurt Dutton Ben Phillips John Hickson 3 Kangaroo Point Cycling Club 4.58.06 Joel Davis Matt Wood Cameron Ward Alistair Hartley