Victoria thrilled the animated home crowd with world record holders Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien leading dual junior world champion Luke Plapp and Godfrey Slattery to a title defence in the men’s team pursuit. South Australia claimed a fourth straight crown in the women’s event, lead by Australian Cycling Team Podium Potential Academy member Maeve Plouffe. RESULTS
The quartet scorched around the Melbourne Arena track in a national championship record time of 3mins 56.588secs, a time which would have placed the state team inside the top four at the 2018 World Championships.
Fellow world record holder Alex Porter donned the red and white of South Australia with Joshua Harrison, Cooper Sayers, and Jared Drizners and this outfit took the early advantage in the final before the home team surged in the second half to win by five seconds.
“Last year we broke a ten-year drought so to go back-to-back is super special,” said O’Brien. “With the time we did, that is a world class time, and to do it with Leigh, Luke and Godfrey make it even better.
“We went out with a pretty aggressive tactic, more than qualifying, and the younger riders Luke and Godfrey really pulled it off. I am so proud of them- and of course Leigh- he really showed his class.”
The Welsford-lead Western Australia team (3:59.968) edged Cameron Scott’s News South Wales outfit (4:04.851) for bronze.
South Australia claimed a fourth straight crown in the women’s event, lead by Australian Cycling Team Podium Potential Academy member Maeve Plouffe.
Plouffe, Breanna Hargrave, Ella Sibley, Katarina Chung-Orr took on a youthful Queensland outfit of Kristina Clonan, Lauren Robard, Francesca Sewell and junior Liliana McLennan who came in for Alexandra Martin-Wallace who suffered a broken nose following a crash in Friday night’s omnium.
The Queenslanders got off to a hot start, leading after the first kilometre, however, their gallant effort came to an end inside the final kilometre when the South Australians caught them on the home straight to take the win.
“It feels absolutely amazing,” said Plouffe. “To win South Australia’s fourth title in a row, and to be one of the older riders in the team this year guiding our junior riders stepping it up. It wasn’t an unexpected win, as we’ve been training really hard for it, but it was really special because it wasn’t an easy win this time around.”