Melbourne-Australia, April 07, 2012: AUSTRALIA SHOOTS TOP, Australia’s Anna Meares is aiming for her fourth 500 metres individual time trial crown on the final day of the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne on Sunday. Meares won her first world title at the velodrome in Melbourne’s Olympic Park in 2004 and after defending her world keirin title on Saturday said that it would be hard but she would “give it a good shot”.
Her team sprint colleague, Kaarle McCulloch, will also contest the 500m TT, with sprint world champion Victoria Pendleton skipping the time trial but her British teammates Jessica Varnish and Danielle King are scheduled to ride it.
The final event for the male sprinters is the keirin on the final day and defending champion Shane Perkins will want to overcome his disappointment in placing fourth in the individual men’s sprint on Saturday. He will be joined by his team sprint colleagues Scott Sunderland and Matthew Glaetzer, with which he won gold on Wednesday.
Perkins last year ended Sir Chris Hoy’s keirin reign at world championships in Apeldoorn, however the British rider had won his three previous world championships in the keirin, with the 36-year-old missing the 2009 world titles due to injury. The reigning Olympic champion won the keirin at the London World Cup in February, with German Rene Enders second and 2005 world gold medallist Teun Mulder of the Netherlands third.
Hoy’s teammates Jason Kenny and Matthew Crampton are vying for Great Britain’s one spot at the Olympic Games in London and France’s Francois Pervis and Mickael Bourgain will aim to emulate the success of compatriot Gregory Bauge’s gold medal in the men’s sprint.
Two-time reigning champions Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard will have the home crowd in the duo’s quest to become the first pairing to win three madison world titles. Meyer will be buoyed from winning his third world points title on Saturday. Spain’s Joan Llaneras won three world madison titles, but with separate partners for each of his successes in 1997, 1999 and 2006.
In late January, Meyer and Howard became the first Australian pairing to win the Berlin Six Day event in 62 years, defeating Swiss pair Franco Marvulli and Silvan Dillier on a countback. Marvulli is a two-time madison world champion with former partner Bruno Risi, with the pair silver medallists in Melbourne eight years ago.
In the women’s individual pursuit, defending world champion Sarah Hammer is not riding the event this year as the US cyclist concentrates on the omnium as it is part of the Olympic program while the individual pursuit is no longer.
Alison Shanks from New Zealand lost in the final last year to Hammer, and while the 29-year-old won the Cali round of the UCI world cup, the 2009 world champion lost to Joanna Rowsell of Great Britain in London this February.
Rowsell’s teammate, Wendy Houvenhagel will be aiming to win her first world individual pursuit title following silvers in 2009 and 2010. Australian Amy Cure placed third in London, while her teammate Ashlee Ankudinoff will also compete. Cure beat Lithuania Vilija Sereikaite, bronze at the past three world titles, in London.
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