Australia’s Sam Welsford conquered reigning world and national champion Jordan
Kerby in front of a raucous Brisbane home-crowd as he made a strong statement
in reclaiming the individual pursuit crown at the Track Nationals.
In one of
the fastest and most nail-biting men’s pursuit finals ever seen at national
championships, Welsford’s 4min 14.189secs backed up his scorching 4:15
qualifying time which was a five second personal best.
can’t believe it,” said a shocked Welsford, a dual world champion and Olympic
silver medallist in the team format. "I went into the final against Kerby, the
world champion, with nothing to lose as kind of the underdog.
"I just went
out there and took the race to him for the whole race, it came down to the last
two laps I think. I just had enough to hold on so I’m over the moon.”
scorched the cooler afternoon qualifying conditions with a time of 4mins
13.154secs, just one second outside of his 2017 World Championship time (4mins
12.172sec) in Hong Kong. In an earlier qualifying ride, Welsford cruised to the
final in 4mins 15.886secs.
evening’s title fight, the pair kept the packed crowd on its feet as Welsford
took the early three-tenths of a second advantage after the first kilometre.
cyclist maintained the margin through to the halfway mark before Kerby channelled
the crowd and the rainbow jersey on his shoulders in the third kilometre to
move within one-tenth of a second of his opponent.
challenge, Welsford lifted over the final few laps to put an end to the
crowd was all behind Kerby, I had to use that energy for myself,” Welsford said.
"But I’d picture a bit was for me and it was really loud from both sides
because it was so close to the end, so I think the crowd lifted for both of us
in the final laps.”
was even more remarkable for Welsford considering he last took to the track for
an individual pursuit two years ago in Adelaide when he rode the national
done much individual pursuiting since then, it’s good to line up and get the
win,” added Welsford, who is targeting his maiden Commonwealth Games team
selection. "I kind of just went into this race to see how my IP was going and
whether that was a possibility for the Commonwealth Games.
for where it’s going right now and I think I am headed in the right direction,
and if I am selected to the Games, I hope I’ll be able to do something even
there were no excuses, only praise for his Australian Cycling Team mate.
never, ever underestimate Sam Welsford,” he said. "I’ll tell you what, he’s the
most talented track rider of our generation and I knew he was going to come out
guns blazing tonight and truth be told he was just too strong and too good for
neck and neck for a while there, then the last six laps he just broke me, it’s
as simple as that.”
In the all
Victorian battle for bronze, nineteen-year-old 2017 World Championship bronze
medallist Kelland O’Brien (4:19.660) survived a late comeback by Leigh Howard
success in the individual pursuit, came after he had stepped up into the men’s
team sprint, where the endurance rider helped Western Australia to a silver
medal behind South Australia.
first year senior Matt Richardson and Luke Zaccaria, WA were outgunned in the
medal round, with SA overcoming a first lap deficit to claim national honours
in 44.035secs over WA’s 44.5959).
Australia was represented by Matthew Glaetzer, Pat Constable and Thomas Clarke.
Photo credit:Con Chronis