04 March, 2024
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Australia take silver in madison at track cycling

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Georgia Baker’s late charge has delivered for Australia again at the Track Nations Cup, this time earning madison silver in the pre-Olympics cycling event.

But after dominating his opening two rides on Saturday, Australian sprint star Matthew Richardson had a disappointing keirin final in hot conditions at the Adelaide Super-Drome and could only manage fifth.

Baker and Alex Manly, who also won silver last year at the world titles, struggled through the middle of the madison as the British pair of Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker dominated.

Ahead of the double points for the final sprint, the British pair had sewn up the gold medal on 31 points and Australia were second on 17, but with plenty of pressure from the Americans and New Zealand.

In an ominous display of the British depth ahead of Paris, their second team of Neah Evans and Sophie Lewis were also vying for the minor medals.

Evans and Barker are the reigning madison world champions.

But after her fast finish gave Australia bronze in the team pursuit on Friday night, Baker timed her charge perfectly to win at the finish – the only sprint the home team won in the madison.

That took Australia to 27 points as the USA finished third on 23.

It was the only Australian medal on day two of the three-day event, where countries pick up qualifying points for the Olympics.

Richardson had won his first-round keirin heat and dominated his second race, but could not repeat in the final.

Malaysian Azizulhasni Awang, the 2017 world champion, rode superbly to win the gold medal ahead of Japanese riders Shinji Nakano and Kaiya Ota.

Fellow Australian Matthew Glaetzer won his repechage heat, but was knocked out in the second round.

Thailand’s Jai Angsuthasawit was disqualified for dangerous riding earlier on Saturday after a crash in his round-one repechage heat left Great Britain’s Hamish Turnbull and Italian Mattia Predomo needing medical attention.

Colombian Cristian Ortega and Muhammad Mohd from Azerbaijan also crashed out of a separate repechage heat.

Colombian Kevin Quintero, who won last year’s keirin world title ahead of Richardson, did not reach the second round.

Richardson and Glaetzer were key members of the combination that won the men’s team sprint, Australia’s one gold medal on Friday night.

Also on Saturday, Australian Kristina Clonan was knocked out in the sprint quarter-finals.

French rider Mathilda Gros, the 2022 sprint world champion, recovered from a flat tyre to win their best-of-three heat 2-0.

Earlier, Clonan beat compatriot Alessia McCaig in the first round and then dispatched British rider Sophie Caldwell to reach the quarters.

British rider Emma Finucane, the reigning sprint world champion, was knocked out in the quarters by Japan’s Mina Sato.

New Zealander Ellesse Andrews, the reigning keirin world champion, crashed out of her sprint semi-final after she clipped Sato’s rear wheel in their opening heat.

German star Emma Hinze comfortably beat Gros 2-0 to also reach Saturday night’s final, while the French rider won the bronze medal because Andrews was too badly hurt to start their ride-off.

Hinze came from 1-0 down to beat Sato 2-1 in the gold medal ride-off.

Canadian Dylan Bibic won his second gold medal at the Adelaide round when he took out the omnium on a countback from Italian star Elia Viviani.

Bibic beat Viviani in the final sprint of the fourth and final event of the omnium, the points race, to break their tie after they finished on 104 points.

Belgian Lindsay de Vylder was three points behind in third and Australian Oliver Bleddyn was 12th.

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