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2006 Australian Senior Track Championships - CN
Adelaide, South Australia, February 6-11, 2006
Day 1 - February 6: Under 19 men 3000m pursuit qualifying, AWD 1000m & 500m TTs, , Women 500m TT, Men 1km TT, Men U19 IP, Women U19 500m TT , Men U19 1km TT
Session 2: Adelaide 'Night-Meares' herald arrival of new cycling siblings
By John Flynn in Adelaide
When the evening program commenced at the Adelaide Superdrome with the staging of the women's 500 metre time trial, the focus quickly turned from the Meares sisters to another pair of cycling siblings, the Bayleys of Western Australia.
Chasing a breakthrough senior National Championship, Flyin' Ryan's sister Kristine emerged from the shadow of her Olympic Champion brother, recording the first (and what would turn out to be the only) sub 36 second time for the night in the 500 metre time trial. It was left to Queenslanders Chloe Macpherson and Kerrie Meares to lay down the challenge, and Macpherson, the junior keirin world champion, showed her arrival in the senior ranks wasn't before time, with a bronze medal winning ride of 36.27 seconds.
Weeks away from lodging her Commonwealth Games gold medal defence, Kerrie Meares then made a mess of the start, all but giving the 500 metre time trial national title away to Bayley.
"I was a little bit optimistic with my gear, my start was a little bit off too," Meares told Cyclingnews post-race. "Nearly collected the lap board, I still gave it everything I had, considering the circumstances."
In the end Meares clocked 36.061 seconds, well outside her best, but coming at a time when Australia's track cycling team is in the midst of solid training, the objective being to suffer now and taper closer to the Commonwealth Games.
"I reckon my legs blew up with maybe a quarter of a lap to go," Kerrie admitted. "Maybe if I'd tried a smaller gear I might have spun out so I'm not sure. We're still training, even though it's national's, we're training through national's so a little bit tired."
There was also no taking away from the performance of Kristine Bayley, with Meares among the first to congratulate her regular National Team training partner following the race.
"Oh it really hurt, I've got a massive headache now my legs are really sore," Bayley said upon snaring gold. "I'm so happy, I've been chasing a senior national title for a few years now."
The result, due in no small part to the assistance and inspiration provided by brother. "Huge inspiration, he's not racing tonight so he's helped me out with my bike and everything like that, just seeing the things he's done has pushed me to train a lot harder."
Kersten wins the kilo
It was a night when pain faces weren't hard to come by among Australia's track cycling elite, and New South Wales sprinter Ben Kersten was certainly wearing his. Officially at least, there was nothing riding on Kersten's performance at the Adelaide Super-Drome, given he had already been named in Australia's Commonwealth Games team. But the presence of his rivals, Victorian Joel Leonard (who controversially missed Commonwealth Games selection) and the emerging Grant Irwin from Queensland, ensured Kersten would have to be close to his best on the night.
At it turned out 'close' was the best Kersten could manage, with the current heavy training program taking its toll physically and mentally. "Pretty tired and shagged," Kersten admitted post race. "No reason to have a day off for national's, making it non-selection."
And what of the Commonwealth Games selections? "I don't feel there's any pressure on me that I took his (Joel Leonard's) spot," Kersten said. The New South Welshman, who has met all selection requirements, added, "I don't think that I should be looked at as the one that stole his spot."
Under 19's on show
The talk among coaches at the 2006 Australian Senior Track Cycling Championships was of the talent on show in the Under 19 men's division at this year's event.
The afternoon program, which saw the heats of the Under 19 3000 metre pursuit, proved a perfect prelude of what was to come. The gold medal ride off between Queensland's Hayden Josefski and Western Australia's Cameron Meyer turned out to be one of the races of the championships so far. Josefski's tactic of going out hard early, proving almost the perfect foil for Meyer's strong back end to the race.
Unable to reproduce the same sizzling speed of his sub 3 minute 20 second effort during the heats, Meyer still had enough left in the tank to chase down the Queenslander and put himself in contention for the same event at the World Championships.
"Very hard, didn't feel as good in that one as I did in the heat," Meyer later admitted. "But I knew if I held with him until four to go that I could roll over the top of him."
Josefski's silver medal effort provided yet another podium performance for the talented Queenslander, who continues to excel on both the track and the road. "I'm happy to just make it to the final," Josefski said. "I knew I had tough competition trying to stay with him at the end I knew he'd come home pretty quick, just ended up running out of legs."
More medals headed west
The final event of the night at the Adelaide Super-Drome brought together another quality field in the under 19 division to contest the 1000 metre time trial. Among the emerging talents on show, Victoria's 2005 Under 17 track sensation Leigh Howard, Queenslanders Byron Davis and Jeremy Hogg and Western Australian powerhouse Scott Sunderland.
In a fitting finale, it was Sunderland, who as expected burnt up the track, his gold medal winning ride of 1.05.027, more than a second faster than Hogg and Howard. Better still it was a 'leave it all out there' ride from the gutsy Western Australian, who collapsed post-race and very clearly used every ounce of energy his legs could muster.
"I was trying not to black out half way through that last lap," Sunderland whispered as he tried to regather his composure. "Going into the third lap I thought I was finishing, then I realized I had one more to go and I thought that can't be good, so I started to dig deep and breathe and kept going."
Sunderland will be a warm favourite going into the Under 19 men's sprint at these championships.
Another five days of racing lie ahead at the Australian Senior Track Cycling Championships, which continue until Saturday night at the Adelaide Super-Drome.
Session 1 - Pursuit pacesetters set the mark at Australian Track Nationals
By John Flynn in Adelaide
The Australian Senior Track Cycling Championships began in sensational fashion at the Adelaide Superdrome this afternoon, when Western Australian Cameron Myer edged below the elusive 3 minute 20 second barrier in the heats of the under 19 3000 metre individual pursuit.
Seasoned track insiders were hailing it one of the best performances since Bradley McGee made his way through the junior ranks, as Meyer rocketed home in a time of 3 minutes 19.632 seconds - averaging along the way a slick 54.1 kilometres per hour.
Meyer collapsed after finishing the all-out effort, the Western Australian knowing all along he would have to ride out of his skin with Queensland's Hayden Josefski breathing down his neck. Josefski earlier clocked a time 3.22.72, setting the scene for an exciting gold medal ride off.
But there were other impressive performances with Queensland's Joel Lewis and South Australian Jack Bobridge also very much on the pace.
An exhausted Myer, from the Midlands Cycling Club in Perth, wasn't expecting the result and faces a tough assignment against Josefski in tonight's gold medal ride off. "I'm not really a natural pursuitist," Meyer told Cyclingnews. "But I've been working on it this year to try to go well at Nationals.
It was a big afternoon for the Western Australians at the Adelaide Superdrome. In the Athletes with disabilities events, which are also being staged at the championships, Perth's Jane Armstrong, set a world record in the LC3 500 metre time trial.
Meares out with injury
Breaking news at the track is that World Record Holder and Olympic Champion Anna Meares won't be contesting tonight's 500 metre Time Trial for women.
Meares who was planning ride for a fourth consecutive National Title in her pet event is still feeling the effects of what's described as a disk injury in her back.
"It was a really hard decision," Meares told Cyclingnews. "Would have been four in a row, I really really wanted to ride tonight.
The injury occurred in July of last year, and it was aggravated by the Olympic Champion in the gym, shortly after the Manchester World Cup. But Meares is adamant she will contest the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
"It's just precautionary me not riding the time trial tonight," the World Record holder in the 500 metre time trial said. "If I'm gonna break my back I wanna do it in Melbourne."
Meares' sister Kerrie will go into the 500 metre time trial as favourite, with big improvement expected from fellow Queensland Chloe Macpherson.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by John Veage
Images by John Flynn/Cyclingnews.com
Images by John Veage
Images by John Flynn/Cyclingnews.com