UCI World Track Championships Day 5: Meares seals hat-trick as Brailsford defends GB's week
Team GB boss says country's cyclists medalled in events that mattered despite Aussie dominance
Anna Meares of Australia capped a great week at the UCI Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, winning her third rainbow jersey with victory in the keirin to seal Australia’s dominance of the medal table. Victoria Pendleton failed to make the final but proved a point of sorts by putting in a determined effort to win the race for 7th to 12th place, with Great Britain performance director Dave Brailsford insisting that he was satisfied with the team’s work over the past few days.
"We were here to look at the ten Olympic medals, he explained to the BBC. “With omnium world champion Ed Clancy heading home ill and Lizzie Armitstead injured, we were down in two Olympic events straight away.
“That meant we were down to eight events that we were focusing on and we have medalled in seven. It's not nice not to win gold but we have set the bar so high that when we don't win people ask what's going on.”
Meares, who earlier this week had won the individual and team sprints, partnered in the latter by Kaarle McCulloch, stayed out of trouble in the final as Cuba’s Lisandra Guerra, who had attacked the moment the derny rider pulled off the track, crashed.
Attacking on the final bend, she held off Olga Panarina of Lithuania and Clara Sanchez of France to clinch the rainbow jersey for the first time in the keirin.
The 27-year-old Australian, who must now be viewed as the favourite to dominate the women’s events at next year’s Olympics in London – although before that, there will of course be the World Championships in Melbourne next April – took her country’s haul in The Netherlands to eight gold medals. The Cyclones also won two silvers and a bronze.
That’s only two medals more than Great Britain managed, but only one of those was gold, picked up by the women’s team pursuit trio of Wendy Houvenaghel, Laura Trott and Dani King.
Trott was in action today, putting in the fastest time in the final event of the women’s omnium, the 500m time trial, to move up to 11th overall after lying 18th overnight. Gold went to Tara Whitten of Canada, with Sarah Hammer of the United States getting silver, while Dutch rider Kirsten Wild took bronze.
Two other events were decided today as the championships drew to their close. Home favourite Teun Mulder just ran out of steam in the closing lap of the men’s kilo to be pipped to gold by Stefan Nimke of Germany, with Francois Pervis of France taking bronze.
The Dutch also missed out on the top prize in the men’s madison, with Theo Bos and Peter Schep taking bronze in a race in which British riders were absent, with the event now dropped from the Olympic programme.
The race proved to be yet another success for the dominant Australians, with Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard taking gold form the Czech pairing of Martin Blaha and Jiri Hochmann.