PARIS PURSUIT PERFECTION – AUSTRALIA CLAIMS WOMEN’S TEAM PURSUIT WORLD TITLE
It was a display of pure pursuiting brilliance by Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW), Amy Cure (TAS), Annette Edmondson (SA) and Melissa Hoskins (WA) as they soared to Australia‘s first world title of the 2015 UCI Track Cycling Championships.
The quartet mesmerised the packed Paris National Velodrome as they blitzed four-time defending champion Great Britain in a world record time of 4:13.683seconds to clinch Australia’s second world title in the history of the event.
Australia’s Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW), Amy Cure (TAS), Annette Edmondson (SA) and Melissa Hoskins (WA)] powered to a historic team pursuit victory in Paris on Thursday.
Fastest qualifiers in a national record time (4:18.135) on the opening day of competition on Wednesday, the quartet lowered that mark again with 4mins 17.410secs in Thursday afternoon’s first round defeat of New Zealand.
In the Ashes on the Track women’s final, Great Britain took an early advantage after the first two laps, before Australia settled in to the fast Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome.
The quartet built a lead of just over a second at the halfway mark, before extending their advantage to almost two seconds heading into the final kilometre.
With the rainbow jersey coming into sight with every lap travelled, the team kicked into a higher gear in the final few hundred metres, roaring home to end the four-year British reign on the event and stamping their own mark with a world record time of 4:13.683secs, three seconds ahead of their opponents, and almost three seconds better than the old work mark (4:16.552).
“It’s still a bit surreal. I just can’t believe it,” said Cure, 22. “We’ve been training so well together as a group.
“I think this last year we’ve really been focusing on ourselves more and I think that really showed today. We all went out there, backed ourselves and each other.
“Sutto (Gary Sutton) really knew us out there.We did exactly what we planned to do, stuck by the schedule and came home with the goods.”
For Cure, the win solidified the defending points race world champion’s decision not to defend her jersey on Wednesday night due to it lying in the middle of the team pursuit schedule.
“It’s a pretty emotional feeling and definitely makes up for it. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make. It’s such a high when things all pan out its awesome.”
After winning the title in 2010, Australia’s women claimed two silver and two bronze at the past three World Championships.
Sydney’s Ashlee Ankudinoff, the lone remaining member of the 2010 world champion team – won with Josephine Tomic and Sarah Kent when the event was a three-rider, three kilometre event – was ecstatic to reclaim the crown.
“I’m a bit speechless. I definitely forgot what it was like to win a world championship,” said Ankudinoff, 24. “To do it here today with three of my best mates is a really special moment.
“We’ve had a few kicks in the guts along the way with always being bridesmaids to Great Britain.
“We’ve put in the hard work together and not just win the gold medal but to do it in world record style is pretty cool.”
For Hoskins and Edmondson, both members of the teams which finished on the lower steps of the podium at the past three World Championships, the win was reward for years of determination and hard work.
“Unbelievable,” said Edmondson, 22,. “We’ve worked so hard for this. I’ve just spent every night of the last year dreaming about this so to actually go across the line and do it is incredible.
“I don’t want to ever take this jersey off. To stand up on the podium alongside these three amazing women and to have Bec Wiasak watching us and by our side the entire time, to know she could slot in and do exactly the same thing, and to know we’ve got Bella King, we’ve got a whole handful of girls back home who have really stepped up is really promising signs for Australia in the lead in to Rio.”
Hoskins echoed Edmondson’s sentiments.
“I’ve never seen us ride three rounds like that before, it is absolutely special,” added Hoskins, 23. “Seeing Sutto up on the line and getting excited, you know you’re up on a good one when he gets excited.
“I remember when Ash, Jose, Sarah won it in 2010, I was at home watching and I was just coming in and I had been training with them and I thought next year that’s going to be me I want to be on the top step. It’s been a long five years since then.”