Welsford & Stewart win 2019 omnium national crown

Perth’s Sam Welsford and Tasmania’s Macey Stewart have been crowned Australian omnium champions following a thrilling day of racing at the 2019 Cycling Australia Omnium National Championships held at the DISC Velodrome in Melbourne, Friday, 14 December.

The 2019 National Championships continue on Saturday 15 December at Melbourne Arena with the Madison, Team Sprint and Team Pursuit to feature in an action-packed night of racing from 6.30pm.

The evening will be live streamed on the Cycling Australia Facebook page and the Foxtel Go app.

Recaps

The omnium is a four-event pure-endurance competition, with all events – scratch race, tempo race, elimination race and points race – taking place in a single day.

The pace was electric from the start of the elite men’s race with defending champion Samuel Welsford (WA)- who last week claimed gold at the UCI Track World Cup in Germany- roared around the entire field inside the final lap to take the win.

In the tempo race, dual 2018 junior world champion Luke Plapp (VIC) attacked the elite field early in the race to take the win.

It was a fight to the finish between some of the world’s best in the elimination race, with team pursuit world record holders Welsford, Kelland O’Brien (VIC) and Alexander Porter (SA) taking it down to the wire before Welsford got the better of his teammates once again.

Taking a ten point lead into the points race over Joshua Harrison (SA) and Porter, Welsford defended his crown amongst a furious blend of strategy and chaos in a pulsating 100-lap race.  Porter and O’Brien both finished on 122 points, with the South Australian taking the silver after finishing ahead of the Victorian in the final sprint.

“It was pretty crazy out there tonight, I came here with some good form with a win at the Berlin World Cup, so I am happy to come away with the win,” said Welsford. “National racing is so intimate, and really close racing, all the boys put on a good show.

“It was great to see three of the Aussie boys up there on the podium, we love racing each other and are really competitive when we line up against each other.”

In the women’s event, Josie Talbot (NSW) sprinted to the opening scratch race win in a race which was marred by a crash that brought down six riders.  Five riders avoided major injury, however, Alexandra Martin-Wallace (QLD) unfortunately suffered a broken nose which forced her withdrawal from the event and Saturday’s program of racing.

Ruby Rosemann-Gannon (VIC), who was one of the riders to crash in the scratch race, won the Tempo Race following a gallant effort which saw her take a lap with Talbot before edging her in the final sprint.

In a thrilling end to the third event, the elimination race, Alex Manly (SA) recovered from her earlier scratch race crash to overcome Stewart in the front straight for the win, with Talbot taking a six-point advantage heading into the final points race.

There, a calm and controlled Stewart chipped away at Talbot’s advantage to take the lead mid-way through the race. And despite Talbot finishing ahead in the final sprint, the Tasmanian had enough points in the bank to win the gold medal (126 points) just three ahead of Talbot (123pts) with Maeve Plouffe (SA – 115points) winning the bronze.

“I am excited, I came here with high hopes, I feel like I am getting stronger as I have been working hard and wanted to put out a good omnium today,” said Stewart, who returned to the Australian Cycling Team in 2018. “I wasn’t sure going into the last points race that I could take the gold, but I gave it everything and I was lucky to come away with the gold

“I am really happy to see some progress over the last couple of years in my comeback. Everything seems to be on track.”

In the under 19 events, Victoria took both crowns with Graham Frislie and Ashlee Jones celebrating on their home track.

Full results Liveresults.cycling.org.au

REMAINING Team Pursuit – Finals Saturday at Melbourne Arena from 630pm; Team Sprint – Saturday at Melbourne Arena from 8pm; Madison – Saturday at Melbourne Arena from 830pm

WATCH LIVE Catch Saturday evening’s action live from 630pm via the Cycling Australia Facebook page live stream or via Foxtel Go app.

GET TRACKSIDE Tickets available online at Ticketek or at the door.

MORE INFO https://tracknationals.org.au/