SYDNEY (AFP) — Up and coming Australian cyclist Jack Bobridge claimed one of track cycling’s biggest prizes Wednesday when he beat Chris Boardman’s 15-year-old world record for the 4km pursuit.
British rider Boardman set a world record of 4min 11.114sec for the 16-lap event at the world championships in 1996 using a ‘superman’ aerodynamic position, which was subsequently banned.
Bobridge, the Australian road race champion who is also one of his country’s biggest talents on the track, knocked more than half a second off the mark when he scorched to a time of 4:10.534 in qualifying for the event.
The 21-year-old South Australian was so shocked by his time he thought the clock had stopped a lap too early.
“I didn’t think that (record) was going to come for a long time, I certainly didn’t think it would come while I was on the track,” said Bobridge.
“To come around and see that on the board, I was honestly quite shocked.
“I thought the clock had stopped a lap early, so I had to look at it a few times, but then I saw everyone going crazy, and then it started to get a little overwhelming.”
Bobridge’s last competitive individual pursuit was at last November’s Oceania Championships.
Last month he was crowned Australian elite men’s road race champion and finished runner up in the time trial at the Cycling Australia Road National Championships.
“I had no idea that I was going to ride that today as I haven’t really been on the track since Oceania’s, and have been training hard on the road, so to come here and ride that it is a massive surprise,” said Bobridge.
“This morning I decided to come down a gear because it is quite humid in here and obviously it was the right decision, it was perfect gearing.
“Then after the first few laps, once I got my breathing right, I knew I was on. I really controlled that third kilometre and tried to stay comfortable and then really let everything out over the last four laps.”
Bobridge, who will now compete at the Tour of Qatar with his Garmin-Cervelo team, went on to win the final in a time of 4:15.533, beating compatriot Rohan Dennis to the gold medal.