By Agence France Presse
An untried Australian team pursuit combination beat arch-rival Great Britain in the Melbourne World Cup round on Friday.
Cameron Meyer, Rohan Dennis, Michael Hepburn and Luke Durbridge clocked 3:59.599 seconds to win the gold medal ride-off.
The British, who broke Australia’s world record to win the team pursuit at last year’s Beijing Olympics, fielded three members of their outstanding team squad ─ Steven Burke, Edward Clancy and Andrew Tennant ─ with Andrew Fenn coming in for Geraint Thomas.
Britain had qualified fastest ahead of Australia, but in the gold medal ride the Brit’s pace line was broken at the three kilometer mark of the four- kilometer distance.
They were down by just under a second when the second man briefly lost touch with the leader, disrupting the team’s rhythm and ensuring they would lose. The British squad crossed the line more than two seconds off of the Aussie’s pace at in 4:01.935.
The only other team to go sub-four minutes in Australia was Germany, who made history at the 2000 Sydney Olympics by becoming the first quartet in history to break four minutes with their 3:59.710 to win the gold medal.
“To go sub-four minute tonight in front of a home crowd is just sensational and the boys just did so much training, so much hard work over the last month really preparing for this and to beat the Brits in the final, there’s no better feeling,” said Meyer. “The coach told us that we were up and that was even more motivating that we were up on the Brits and we knew in the qualifying that we came home the stronger team so to be up on them at 3km I was quite confident that we were going to bring it home in the last kilometer.
“We had shown in the qualifying (that) we were quite capable of bringing it up to the Brits tonight and we had great confidence going into it,” said Meyer. “We felt good, we studied what we did this morning and we come out and put it altogether and it was just a flawless ride by us.
“In front of a big home crowd against the Brits, there’s not much more pressure that those boys have been under and for them to handle it so well and to really come together as a team and ride that fast was something special tonight.”
It was the second gold medal at this World Cup round for Meyer, after Thursday’s win in the points race.
Australia won two gold medals on the second day of the World Cup with Scott Sunderland winning the one kilometer time trial.
The home nation leads the medal tally with five gold medals.
German Carsten Bergemann won the keirin final and New Zealander Tom Scully took out the men’s scratch race.
In the women’s events, the Chinese combination of Gong Jinjie and Lin Junhong won the team sprint in 33.500 over the Netherlands and Australia, while Italian world champion Giorgia Bronzini claimed the 20-kilometer points race.