Double team pursuit triumph for Australia at Track World Cup in Cali

18/01/2015 by Steve Knowles

Day two of the third and final round of UCI Track World Cup Series in Cali, Colombia netted Australia two gold with both men's and women's teams victorious in team pursuit, while former world champion Shane Perkins took silver in the keirin. 

In November's opening round of the UCI Track World Cup Series in Guadalajara, an Australian 'teenage team' claimed gold in the men's event. 

The season has been book-ended with the same result by the women with the team - averaging just 18 years of age - of Macey Stewart (TAS), Alex Manly (SA), Lauren Perry (TAS) and Elissa Wundersitz (TAS) storming to gold on day two in Cali, Colombia.

Later in the session, the 'elder' men's team - averaging a tick under 21 - of NSW trio of Scott Law, Jackson Law and Tirian McManus (NSW) and Joshua Harrison (SA) made it a team pursuit double for Australia when they won the men's event.

The result was just the third time in history that Australia has won the men's and women's team pursuit in the same round at at World Cup, the other times being Beijing and Melbourne both in 2010.

In other events, Shane Perkins (VIC) a former keirin world champion made it three medals for Australia on day two after claiming silver in the keirin, while Caitlin Ward (VIC) finished 12th in the sprint.

Day Two Events Recaps

Women's 4km Team Pursuit

Reigning team pursuit junior world champions Macey Stewart, Alex Manly and Lauren Perry were joined by Elissa Wundersitz in Cali, with the quartet leading from start to finish in their first round heat to post the fastest time of the event 4mins 28.278seconds.

The time, an improvement of over nine seconds on their third-fastest qualifying time recorded on Friday, booked the team a spot in the gold medal ride against China (4mins 33.591secs).

"Heading into the qualifying round our aim was to make the top eight, and we would have been happy! So when we qualified third it was an achievement in itself," said Stewart.  "To make the gold final in a time that would have qualified us first at last year's World Championships was unbelievable."

In the final, a fast start saw Australia take the early lead before China came back in the middle stages of the 16 lap, 4000m event.

Having kept plenty in reserve, Australia was able to power home in the final kilometre to take the win in 4mins 31.527secs, two and a half seconds ahead of China in 4mins 34.105secs.

"I am overwhelmed and shocked," added Stewart "We as a team have taken so much confidence from this result, and are so proud of each other. We worked as a true team out there and it paid off."

The United States claimed bronze in 4mins 32.482secs.

The victory also saw Australia finish the 2014/15 UCI Track World Cup series as the top nation in the women's team pursuit following second in the second round held London and fifth in the opening round held in Guadalajara.

Significantly, Australia used 11 riders across the three rounds, highlighting the depth of talent in the endurance ranks.

Men's 4km Team Pursuit

In the first round, Denmark took the lead just after the one kilometre mark, however the experienced Scott Law and former team pursuit World Cup gold medallist Tirian McManus steadied the ship with 2013 junior world champion Joshua Harrison and debutant Jackson Law.

An exceptionally strong final 500m saw Australia book a spot in the gold medal ride in 4mins 3.409secs.

Russian team Rusvelo posted the fastest time of the round in the previous heat, 4mins 1.702secs to face Australia for gold.

After a strong start in the final, Australia gained the early advantage before Rusvelo forged a comeback with just over one kilometre to go.

Rusvelo briefly took back the lead before the Australians upped the pace to claim gold in 4mins 3.2secs ahead of Rusvelo (4:04.229). Great Britain claimed bronze (4:05.391).

Australia finished second in the men's team pursuit World Cup rankings after taking two victories in Guadalajara and Cali.  And further signifying the depth of the endurance pool at a national level, a total of 14 riders were used across the three rounds in the men's event.

Men's Keirin

2011 keirin World Champion Shane Perkins won his first round heat to move through to the second round, while 2012 Junior World Championship keirin silver medallist Emerson Harwood finished second in his heat, before winning through via the repechage.

Perkins won his second round heat to advance to the final, while Harwood displayed some nifty bike handling to narrowly avoid a crash in his heat, but missed out on making the 1-6 final.

In the final, Perkins took first position behind the derny and was well positioned throughout the race, before a fast finishing kick saw a photo finish saw Fabian Puerta (Colombia) awarded the gold by just two thousandths of a second over Perkins, with Matthew Baranoski claiming bronze.

Emerson Harwood finished 11th.

Women's Sprint

2012 Junior World Championship sprint silver medallist Caitlin Ward set the third fastest time in qualifying of 11.334secs before finishing with the twelfth fastest time after all riders had set to the track. Elis Ligtlee (Netherlands) was the fastest qualifier in 10.805secs and only rider to post a time under 11 seconds.

A win over Helena Casas Roige (Spain) in the 1/16 final saw Ward proceed to the next round, however fastest qualifier Ligtlee (Netherlands) was too strong in the 1/8 final and advanced over Ward.

A strong effort by Ward in the repechage came up just short to Jessica Varnish of Great Britain. Ward finished 12th overall.

Gold went to Ligtlee (Netherlands), silver Shuang Guo (Max Success) and bronze Wai Sze Lee (Hong Kong).

Women's Omnium

Oceania Championship bronze medallist Elissa Wundersitz (WA) opened her omnium campaign with 20th in the scratch race. In the individual pursuit Wundersitz posted a time of 3mins 58.782secs to finish 23rd.

A very quick turn around from the team pursuit saw Wundersitz the first eliminated in the elimination race. At the half way point Wundersitz is sitting in 23rd position.

Men's Omnium

A bunch sprint in the scratch race saw silver medallist from the 2014 Junior World Championships Sam Welsford (WA) finish 22nd. Welsford finished his 4km individual pursuit in a time of 4mins 43.055secs, finishing in 22nd position.

In the final event of the day Welsford claimed 11th in the elimination race.