Dual Madison world champion Cameron Meyer teamed with Callum Scotson to ensure Australia finished the 2017 World Championships on the podium.
As a new Olympic cycle commences and with less than one year until the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Australian track cycling is celebrating a world-topping performance at the 2017 UCI Track World Championships in Hong Kong.
Australia finished the five-day Championships with eleven medals – three gold, five silver and three bronze won across seven events – and six more than Russia who was second with five medals.
On the final day of competition on Sunday, Callum Scotson and Cameron Meyer added silver to the tally with a superb effort in the 200-lap war of attrition event.
With a new Madison format introduced for the Championships with sprints after every ten laps of the 200-lap race (instead of every 20), what resulted was one of the fastest and most furious races ever seen.
“That ranks as one of the hardest I have done,” said Meyer after claiming his fifth Madison World Championship medal, and thirteenth career medal time.
Meyer added two gold to his career tally earlier in the week and now sits fourth all time for most world crowns behind Nakano (10), Chris Hoy (11) and Arnaud Tournant (14).
“They all have a proud spot at home and this one will go up there as a really special one.”
The pace was on right from the gun, with Australia team and the French pairing of Morgan Kneisky and Saturday’s omnium world champion Benjamin Thomas setting the early and cracking tempo.
Australia took the lead after 50 laps, however France remained close, with the two teams only three points apart at the 100 lap halfway mark.
With the craftiness of 2010 and 2011 world champion Meyer and vivacity of Scotson, Australia established a narrow lead as the race started to explode with 50 laps til the finish.
With the field scattered all across the Hong Kong Velodrome, France pounced over the final stages to score in six consecutive intermediate sprints.
Australia battled right to the final lap and grabbed points in three sprints, but it was just not enough as the French rode away with the crown on 45 points, four ahead of Australia (41pts), with Belgium claiming the bronze (32pts).
“We didn’t quite know how the new format would go at this level, sprinting every ten is one of the hardest things I have done,” said Meyer.
“So I am so happy to stand on the podium, that is one of the hardest events, it is gruelling, it requires everything.
“We weren’t far off gold, to win a silver with Callum just caps off a great week”
For Scotson, it was a case of putting it all on the line on Sunday with the South Australian waiting five days to race his lone event, which was also the final event of the Championships.
“It’s a little bit hard, I put so much effort into this one events, so it is tough to get so close and not take the gold,” said Scotson. “But I have a lot to be proud of. I really through it all out there with Cam.”
The win capped a stellar week for the men’s track endurance team which netted three gold.including both pursuit crowns and the points race title.
On Thursday, Australia charged to a sixth team pursuit world crown in eight years with an emphatic win over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand, while Kerby scorched to the third fastest time in history during his individual pursuit win.
Meyer sealed a fourth points and eighth career world crown in a euphoric display on Friday.
The final night Madison silver and individual pursuit bronze from teenage sensation Kelland O’Brien rounded out the medals.
“We are really proud we could cap the week off with another medal, all week the atmosphere has just been amazing across the whole team,” said Meyer.
“But we will leave here with that hunger to come back and claim that world title.”
Also on the final day of competition, reigning national champion Nicholas Yallouris clocked a fine time fine 1mins 01.590secs to place 12th in his world championships 1km time trial debut.
Sydney’s Yallouris – who took gold with the men’s team pursuit quartet on Thursday evening – narrowly missed progressing through with the top eight to the finals by just .3 of a second.