A late surge from Victorians Kelland O’Brien and Leigh Howard (Logie-Smith Lanyon Lawyers) saw them claim an eventful and action packed 2019 Australian Madison title at Melbourne Arena. Kristina Clonan (QLD) and Maeve Plouffe (SA) were crowned 2019 Madison champions following a rousing victory in the women’s 120-lap race.
A late surge from Victorians Kelland O’Brien and Leigh Howard (Logie-Smith Lanyon Lawyers) saw them claim an eventful and action packed 2019 Australian Madison title at Melbourne Arena. F. Fellow Australian Cycling Team members Sam Welsford and Cameron Scott (TAC) were second, with the Balmoral Cycling Club pairing Blake Quick and James Moriaty (QAS ONE) completing the podium.
Defending champion Alex Porter, who entered alongside fellow South Australian Josh Harrison, was out after a heavy fall at the midway point of the 50km race, which sent the world record holder to the hospital with a suspected broken collarbone.
The German pairing of Christian Grasman and Mortiz Augenstein lit up the crowd with multiple attacks and caught a number of teams out with a late attack that put them into podium contention. Ultimately, the German pair had to settle for fourth as the other teams upped the ante in the final laps.
For the eventual winners O’Brien and Howard, it was a race that required more than just outright pace, with O’Brien getting caught up in an early crash that could have ended their chances.
The super strong pairing of team TAC Welsford/Scott lead for much of the race and as we entered the final act, the Logie Smith Lanyon O’Brien/Welsford pair played a canny game and sat out a few sprints, seemingly hand slinging the Madison title to TAC.
Leigh Howard: “We decided that we would wait until halfway through and then make a decision to keep sprinting or if go for the lap… Coming in with three or four sprints to go, they [Team TAC- Sam Welsford & Cam Scott] started to edge away and Kelland had had the crash earlier on and wasn’t feeling as comfortable, so we decided to sit out a couple of sprints and put all of our eggs in the basket of going for the lap and it worked… just!”
Kelland O’Brien: “I’ve been fortunate enough to do a number of Madisons with Leigh [Howard] this season and I think it showed today at the end of that bike race. We put together a lot of the work we’ve done at the end of that bike race and it really showed and I can’t be more thankful to be with Leigh.”
Kristina Clonan (QLD) and Maeve Plouffe (SA) were crowned 2019 Madison champions following a rousing victory in the women’s 120-lap race.
The pair was a late confirmation after defending champion Clonan’s original partner Alex Martin-Wallace (QLD) was forced to withdraw from the event following a crash in Friday’s omnium in which she suffered a broken nose.
In a captivating race, Clonan and Plouffe traded sprint bonuses with pre-race favourites Macey Stewart (TAS) – who teamed with Clonan to win the 2018 crown – and Josie Talbot (NSW) throughout, with the result not decided until the final sprint to the line.
“It feels amazing, I was up against Macey [Stewart] which a bit different for both of us, we haven’t been in a whole lot of Madisons where we have been racing against each other,” said Clonan. “It was a different experience but I think it’s great we can be competitive in different partnerships.
“The fact that Australian cycling is so strong you can mix and match partnerships is really promising. There’s such a great group of girls coming through and being able to mix and match and be competitive in a different partnership is great.”
Clonan also paid tribute to her Queensland teammate Martin-Wallace after the race.
“Yesterday Alex has a crash in the omnium, and I kind of felt like a piece of me went down with her, but the main thing is she’s okay and this win is definitely for her.”
For Plouffe, it was a second gold of the evening after winning the team pursuit with South Australia.
“This has been my most successful championships ever,” said the Australian Cycling Team Podium Potential Academy member. “Two national titles as a 19-year-old in the last two hours I can’t ask for anything more. As you can see they were both team events so I couldn’t have done it without my SASI teammates, they put up an amazing fight and also Kristina.”