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2006 Australian Senior Track Championships - CN
Adelaide, South Australia, February 6-11, 2006
Day 4 - February 9: AWD tandem sprint, Men U19 10km scratch, Open team pursuit, Men U19 team pursuit final, Open team pursuit final, Women sprint final, Women U19 7.5km scratch, Women U19 sprint final
Session 8: Meares sisters in sprint showdown - Anna gets the gold
By John Michael Flynn at the Adelaide Superdrome
In what is surely a taste of things to come at next month's Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Rockhampton's 'sisters of speed', Kerrie and Anna Meares, turned on a show for the Adelaide Superdrome crowd in the women's sprint final at the Australian Track Cycling Championships.
The clash of the reigning Commonwealth Games Champion and her World and Olympic Champion sister in the gold medal ride-off turned out to be every bit as exciting as anticipated, with neither giving an inch in the fight for sibling supremacy (and a national title).
"Honestly it was going through my head thinking of the headlines, Kerry comes back, beats little sister," Anna said of her motivation to win. "There was only one thing for me to do."
Both Meares girls earned the right to contest the final after hard fought semi-finals. Anna Meares was matched up in her semi against Western Australia's new national 500 metre time trial champion Kristine Bayley, while Kerrie Meares also needed to use her speed weaponry against U.S. Champion Jennie Reed.
But the older of the Meares sisters saved her best for the clash with her younger sibling. Kerrie Meares turned on the afterburners in race one of the final, catching Anna by surprise.
"It really was a very tough final, I was gasping for air after every single round," Anna revealed post race. "When she come around me in the first one it really woke me up and I went 'whoa she's really got some speed here tonight.'"
But any plans Kerrie Meares might have had of bullying her little sister in the next two races proved fruitless as Anna used plenty of old fashioned track cycling tricks, stopping and standing, waiting to see if Kerrie would crack under pressure.
"That was the same tactics we tried against each other at the World Championships in the bronze medal race," Anna said of the mind games. "I thought 'yes she's pretty good at it but I'm going to give it a go anyway.'"
The second and third sprints both went the way of the reigning National Champion in the discipline. Anna Meares coming out on top and winning the gold, but not by much.
"I always win the first round and then she seems to win the next two," Kerrie said while eyeballing her sister. "I might lose the first round, then she'll think she's on top of things."
A preview of coming attractions
So competitive are the Meares sisters you could easily picture Kerrie and Anna racing to the breakfast table at home, or to grab the TV remote controller. It's difficult for one sister to even finish a sentence without the other chiming in.
Pity anyone who has to come up against this deadly sister act on the track at the Commonwealth Games!
"We really push each other at every opportunity," Anna told Cyclingnews. "Whether we're on the road bikes doing a road ride or on the velodrome or racing go karts, we try to hook each other in the corners."
It's a rivalry which has heralded amazing results in recent years as the Queenslanders have dominated their sport at every level and pushed each other to greater heights. The good news for both sisters is that their Commonwealth Games campaigns appear very much on track.
"This is definitely a very good indicator on how our training is at the moment and the more racing I get against Anna and obviously Victoria Pendleton, the better for me," Kerrie Meares said.
"Some of the things that some people take for granted, I just look at her, it's just Anna and you know you she's a world and Olympic champion and a world record holder and that doesn't register sometimes; you know we're sisters and competitors and we go out there and race and want to beat each other."
For Anna Meares, the success against her sister brought a sigh of relief. The younger of the Meares sisters has been struggling with a back injury which she aggravated in the gym at Christmas time. Earlier this week, Anna sat out her pet event, the 500 metre time trial and in the sprint there were few signs of discomfort.
"It's just a confidence booster on the bike knowing that my back can take that work load," Anna admitted. "I really look forward to the next four weeks, to taper and get some speed into our legs and hopefully be really on fire for Melbourne."
At that point sister Kerrie interjected, tongue-in-cheek: "I'm hoping to taper too, I'm waiting for my taper. Sorry I'm just being an idiot!"
Records tumble in the team pursuit
In another promising sign for Melbourne, several of Australia's team pursuit squad members were on show in the final of the men's 4000 metre team pursuit at the national championships, and there was jubilation when Mark Jamieson drove his Tasmanians to a second consecutive national title in a championship record time of 4.08.823.
The talented young team featuring fellow Commonwealth Games team member Matthew Goss, along with Stephen Rossendell and Nathan Clarke, put in a brilliant performance and had every reason to celebrate after being pushed to new heights by Victoria in the final.
"Oh awesome mate, awesome, strongest team Tassie's had," Jamieson said after putting in some huge turns on the front in the gold medal winning ride. "Same team as last year, the boys were just amazing, can't believe it, awesome."
The Tasmanians knew they would have to shave several seconds off their qualifying team to achieve the championship record. And racing against a sharp Victorian outfit, they were pushed to new heights.
"We were pretty confident we could go quicker," Matt Goss told Cyclingnews. "But not sure if we all thought we could go five seconds quicker."
The in-form Jamieson, who also took out the individual pursuit at the championships, beaming. "An impressive time from a state team, we were rapt, never expected to go that quick and set a record," he said. "We've become accustomed to the way each other rides and we've become really smooth together and everyone's kind of progressed another year."
Competition for Commonwealth Games spots
Australian coach Ian Mackenzie no doubt has some tough decision ahead deciding the makeup of Australia's team pursuit for the Commonwealth Games. On form, Mark Jamieson is likely to be one of the first riders picked and the Tasmanian has done his chances of both a team pursuit and individual pursuit berth no harm.
"With Matthew and myself being part of the team now for the Comm. Games it's a great thing not only for us but also for Ian Mackenzie the head coach," Jamieson told Cyclingnews. "You know he's looking at us for performances for the Nationals and for us it looks great."
Matt Goss, though, is a little more realistic about the weeks ahead. "It is tight for spots and I wouldn't want to be the coach picking four guys to field at the Games," Goss admitted. "I'm not sure. He'll pick the fastest four guys, the strongest four guys and I just want to be one of them. Things can change and people get better and people get slower so I don't think any decisions will be made until the last minute."
Ashley Hutchinson, whose Queensland team was handed a bronze medal at the championships after New South Wales pulled out due to an illness to Stephen Wooldridge, didn't get the chance to perform at his best this time around.
Hutchinson's Queensland teammates were a little off the pace, but the Cairns cyclist, a team pursuit specialist, isn't overly concerned.
"There's no point putting in big turns and blowing your team up," Hutchinson said. "It's probably better that you ride within yourself, keep your team together and do what they're capable of."
The 2004 World Championship team member is willing and eager to show his wares in Melbourne. "I'm feeling really well at the moment, training's going really well," Hutchinson said. "I'm quietly confident I'll ride the team pursuit, a bit of hard work between now and then."
Western Australians break national record
In what proved to be one of the highlights of the National Championships, Western Australia's under 19 pursuit team of Cameron Meyer, Travis Meyer, Duane Johansen and Doug Repacholi left scorch marks on the track on their way to a new National Record of 4.13.062.
Their was an air of anticipation surrounding the Western Australians in the event, taking into account both their strong heat ride and the form of team leader Cameron Meyer, who has arguably been the rider of the National Championships so far. The WA boys were pushed along by the Victorians (Leigh Howard, William Ford, Ricky Peoples and Alexander Smyth), but in the end were racing against the clock in the final kilometre as the national record came clearly into view.
"That's the best feelin' ever, absolutely brilliant, we knew we had it in us," an ecstatic Cameron Meyer revealed as the Western Australians celebrated post race. "When we were that far up on the Vics, we knew at halfway if we had the Vics under control that we'd go for the record and we just stomped as a team, came out and did it."
Travis Meyer was also jubilant, paying tribute to his brother, whose form has been a talking point at the National Championships. "It was bloody awesome. We never expected the Australian record, you know, but we knew we had the team to do it here if we could," Travis said. "He (Cameron) played a huge role actually not just the way he rode, it spurred us all on because we knew we had the best rider out there."
Victorian double in scratch races
The Victorians scored some revenge in the under 19 scratch races which capped off the day four program at the National Track Cycling Championships. In the under 19 men's scratch race, a sizzling sprint by Leigh Howard gave Victoria the gold.
The final laps saw a gutsy effort from the Queenslanders as Hayden Josefski tried to bring it home for teammate Byron Davis, but Howard produced his electrifying turn of speed, coming out of the final turn.
"I was sprinting pretty well considering the point score the other night, I rode pretty average," Howard admitted at race end. "I just had a bit of kick in the finish which was what I needed; as I said I wasn't leaving this week without at least one gold."
Neither was Howard's Victorian team-mate Tess Downing.
A perfect lead-out from pursuit gold medalist Peta Mullens placed Downing very much in the zone at the finish of the under 19 women's scratch race, and Tess didn't waste the opportunity.
"My teammate Peta was on the front and she won the gold the other night and we both want to go away together, so she was on there and I just told her to drive it for me," Downing revealed of her motivation to win. "She's a good person she did what I wanted her to do and I'm really grateful for that."
Tandems turn it ON
In the midst of national records in the pursuit, and the head to head clash between the Meares sisters, the evening produced an absolute show stopper in the multi discipline men's tandem sprint final. On paper, the New South Wales pairing of Junior World Champion Shaun Hopkins and Ben Demery looked to have it all over their opponents, Benjamin Holmes and Ben Macfie of Queensland, but the underdogs had other ideas.
The 'heart in your mouth' action of tandem sprint racing had spectators on the edge of their seats, and the performance turned on by both pairs made for great entertainment as the final went down to a decider.
Commissaires were even forced to stop one of the races mid-flight as tactics got a little ugly, and the crowd erupted when the Queenslanders edged out their New South Wales rivals by a tire width in the final sprint.
Cyclingnews has been following the progress of the boys known in Queensland as B1 and B2 during their preparation for the championships.
Holmes, a former gymnast, and Macfie who one coach even quipped was like a 'visually impaired Sean Eadie', dreamed of winning a national title. Now they have it for keeps.
"We've put so much time and effort into this," Holmes said with great emotion. "We put everything we had in just to get here."
Ben Macfie is now reassessing his goals, as the boys dream of Beijing, 2008. "Fantastic result, amazed to see how quickly we've reached our goals that we've aimed for," Macfie said. "It's now time to go reassess things and work towards those World Championships that we're looking like in strong contention."
Session 7: Macpherson disqualified from women's sprint as Bayley crashes
By John-Michael Flynn in Adelaide
Any hopes of an all-Queensland podium in the women's sprint at the Australian Track Cycling Championships quickly vanished this afternoon when Chloe Macpherson was disqualified following a rough and tumble quarter final against Western Australian Kristine Bayley.
The world Junior Keirin Champion was penalised heavily by the commissaries, who weren't amused by the tactics of the junior BMX world champion following an incident on turn three which saw Bayley hit the deck hard. The Western Australian escaped without serious injury, but was far from impressed with the aggression of her opponent.
"Oh it was interesting, I was in the sprinters lane and Chloe thought she could be there too," Bayley told Cyclingnews. "When you're riding that fast coming into a corner, you don't fit - I'm alright, just got a lot of splinters to pull out."
Macpherson provided a different version of events. The Mackay cyclist, known for a lightning turn of speed, had already lost the first race in the best of three sprint quarter final. "I went with her and I thought I went into the sprinter's lane before her," Macpherson said of her role in the incident. "I wasn't going to give it up; I tried to hold my ground and she ended up slipping by herself in bend three."
The commissaires ruled in favour of Bayley who will progress through to the medal rounds, along with the Meares sisters who both looked impressive while breezing throught the sprint quarter finals.
Along with the women's sprint, tonight's 4000 metre team pursuit finals will be an event to savour.
The Tasmanians, led by Mark Jamieson, and the Victorians will fight it out for gold medal, after the Victorian lineup featuring Zak Dempster, Sean Finning, Michael Ford and Richard England qualified fastest in 4.13.21.
New South Wales has withdrawn from the bronze medal ride-off against Queensland, following an illness to lead rider Stephen Wooldridge. In the Under 19 Division, the Western Australian lineup headed by individual pursuit gold medalist Cameron Meyer burnt up the track in qualifying with a time of 4.17.617 and looks a strong chance for a gold medal.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by John Veage
Images by John Flynn/Cyclingnews.com
Open Men team pursuit Final For gold and silver 1 Nathan Clarke (Tas) 4.08.823 (57.87 km/h) Matthew Goss Mark Jamieson Stephen Rossendell 2 Zakkari Dempster (Vic) 4.10.131 Richard England Sean Finning Michael Ford For bronze 3 Kyle Bateson (Qld) Ashley Hutchinson Grant Irwin Miles Olman M19 team pursuit Final For gold and silver 1 Duane Johansen (WA) 4.13.062 (56.90 km/h) Cameron Meyer Travis Meyer Douglas Repacholi 2 William Ford (Vic) 4.21.084 Leigh Howard Ricky Peoples Alexander Smyth For bronze 3 Malcolm Rudolph (Qld) 4.19.006 (55.60 km/h) Joshua Edwards Hayden Josefski Joel Lewis 4 Jack Bobridge (SA) 4.23.376 Travis Frisby Reuben Meneaud-Young Christos Winter W19 Sprint Semi-finals Heat 1 1 Kaarle Mcculloch (NSW) 12.970 13.228 2 Jessica Hume (NSW) Heat 2 1 Josephine Butler (WA) 12.904 13.260 2 Samsiah Rice (WA) Finals For gold and silver 1 Kaarle Mcculloch (NSW) 13.369 13.856 2 Josephine Butler (WA) 13.031 For bronze 3 Samsiah Rice (WA) 13.123 13.547 4 Jessica Hume (NSW) Women Sprint Semi-finals Heat 1 1 Anna Meares (QLD) 13.070 12.690 2 Kristine Bayley (WA) Heat 2 1 Kerrie Meares (QLD) 12.966 13.076 2 Jennie Reed (USA) Finals For gold and silver 1 Anna Meares (QLD) 12.019 12.334 2 Kerrie Meares (QLD) 12.967 For bronze 3 Jennie Reed (USA) 13.184 12.524 4 Kristine Bayley (WA) Men Tandem Sprint Final 1 Benjamin Holmes (QLD) 11.714 12.295 Benjamin Macfie 2 Ben Demery (NSW) 12.218 Shaun Hopkins Women Tandem Sprint Final 1 Lindy Hou (NSW) 13.645 13.433 Janelle Lindsay 2 Vicki-Lynne Birks (SA) Felicity Johnson M19 10km Scratch Race 1 Leigh Howard (Vic) 11.40 2 Cameron Meyer (WA) 3 Jack Bobridge (SA) 4 Thomas Robinson (Tas) 5 Travis Meyer (WA) 6 Douglas Repacholi (WA) 7 Justin Tomlinson (NSW) 8 Byron Davis (QLD) 9 Travis Frisby (SA) 10 Aaron Jones (Tas) 11 Jack Rhodes (SA) 12 Ricky Peoples (Vic) 13 Richard Lang (NSW) 14 Matt King (NT) 15 Hayden Josefski (QLD) 16 William Robinson (Tas) 17 Joel Lewis (QLD) 18 Matthew Pettit (NSW) 19 Alexander Smyth (Vic) 20 Akito Sekine (Jpn) 21 Masato Oshima (Jpn) DNF David Trott (NT) DNF Keiic Hiro Mafune (Jpn) W19 7.5km Scratch Race 1 Tess Downing (Vic) 9.33 2 Josephine Tomic (WA) 3 Courtney Le Lay (QLD) 4 Loren Rowney (QLD) 5 Jessica Hume (NSW) 6 Tiffany Cromwell (SA) 7 Carlee Taylor (SA) 8 Grace Sulzberger (Tas) 9 Rebecca Macpherson (WA) 10 Lisa Friend (Vic) 11 Laura Meisel-Dennis (ACT) 12 Peta Mullens (Vic) 13 Josephine Butler (WA) 14 Kira Mason (SA) DNF Kaarle Mcculloch (NSW)
Open Men 4000m Team Pursuit Qualification 1 Zakkari Dempster (Vic) 4.13.216 (56.87 km/h) Richard England Sean Finning Michael Ford 2 Nathan Clarke (Tas) 4.13.693 Matthew Goss Mark Jamieson Stephen Rossendell 3 Ben Kersten (NSW) 4.15.518 Robert Lyte Phillip Thuaux Stephen Wooldridge 4 Kyle Bateson (Qld) 4.17.185 Ashley Hutchinson Grant Irwin Miles Olman 5 Duane Johansen (WA)** 4.17.617 Cameron Meyer Travis Meyer Douglas Repacholi 6 Leigh Howard (Vic)** 4.21.474 James Langedyk Ricky Peoples Alexander Smyth 7 Malcolm Rudolph (Qld)** 4.21.789 Joshua Edwards Hayden Josefski Joel Lewis 8 Jack Bobridge (SA)** 4.23.935 Travis Frisby Reuben Meneaud-Young Christos Winter 9 Richard Lang (NSW)** 4.29.268 Angus Morton Matthew Pettit Dale Scarfe 10 Masato Oshima (Jpn)** 4.37.621 Takashi Sakamoto Yuta Sunaga Masato Fuwa ** = U19 Women Sprint Quarter Finals Heat 1 1 Anna Meares (Qld) 12.815 12.696 2 Jennifer Loutit (ACT) Heat 2 1 Jennie Reed (USA) 12.561 12.334 2 Laura Mccaughey (Tas) Heat 3 1 Kerrie Meares (Qld) 12.642 12.722 2 Elizabeth Georgouras (NSW) Heat 4 1 Kristine Bayley (WA) 13.306 2 Chloe Macpherson (Qld) DSQ AWD Women Tandem Qualification 1 Lindy Hou (NSW) 11.847 (60.77 km/h) Janelle Lindsay 2 Vicki-Lynne Birks (SA) 13.097 Felicity Johnson AWD Men Tandem Sprint Qualification 1 Ben Demery (NSW) 11.236 (64.08 km/h) Shaun Hopkins 2 Benjamin Holmes (Qld) 11.371 Benjamin Macfie AWD M19 Tandem Sprint Qualification 1 Byron Page (WA) 12.478 (57.70 km/h) Joshua Yates