WA cyclists have enjoyed a successful opening two days of competition at the 2019 Oceania Track Championships in Adelaide.
Dual Commonwealth Games champion Sam Welsford picked up two gold medals after winning the men’s elite Omnium and Scratch Race titles.
In the Omnium, Welsford picked up a third place finish in the opening scratch race before delivering commanding performances in winning the tempo, elimination and points race events.
With his bunch racing pedigree on display in the closing points race, there was no stopping Welsford as he blitzed the field to finish on 148 points, 19 clear of silver medallist Kelland O’Brien with New Zealand’s Campbell Stewart rounding out the podium on 123 points.
Following a stint on the road post Commonwealth Games, Welsford said it was enjoyable to be back on the boards.
"The omnium was really fun today! It has been a while since I have raced on the track, so it was really good to get out there. I had good legs and rode smart and to my abilities, so I was pretty happy to get the win,”
"Oceanias are really good to see how you are going at the start of track season and I got a bit of a bunch focus at the World Cups, so it is really good for peace of mind and confidence to get the win.”
Welsford had little time to relax however, as he was soon back on the track to contest the Scratch Race.
The 22 year-old was again far too strong for the field, winning by over three bike-lengths from Leigh Howard and Cameron Scott.
The Oceania Championships have also delivered standout results for WA’s U19 talent, with Oliver Bleddyn and Dharlia Haines both earning multiple medals.
Bleddyn was a member of the Australia 1 junior team pursuit squad that claimed victory over a New Zealand crew in the gold medal ride-off.
Bleddyn, Bill Simpson, Graeme Frislee and Kael Thomas delivered victory in a time of 4:13.11 which was half a second quicker than the one completed by the Kiwis.
Teaming with Frislee, Bleddyn then added a junior Madison title to his collection, with the pair accumulating 40 points for the Oceania title.
There was also a silver medal for Bleddyn in the final of the individual pursuit, which was won by New Zealander Laurence Pithie.
Haines pocketed a gold medal in the women’s junior team pursuit final, riding with Ashley Jones, Lauren Robards and Tahlia Dole.
The Australia Red quartet finished well clear of New Zealand White, after clocking a victory time of 4:49.789.
Haines added a second medal to her collection in the 10km women’s junior points race. A strong tactical effort returned her 11 points which was good enough for second step on the podium behind Oceania champion Ella Sibley (15pts).
The 2019 Oceania Track Championships continue through to Saturday October 13.