19 Jan 2021

Adelaide's exclusive window to the Olympics at Track event

It was South Australia’s perhaps one and only three hours to see off the Australian track team before the Tokyo Games on a night where Matt Glaetzer was just incredible.

More than a year since he last graced the Superdrome in front of his home fans after a brave battle to beat cancer in 2019, Glaetzer was at his brilliant best just three weeks into pre-season and seven months away from the Tokyo Games.

All of his hard work had paid off at this stage of the season when the 28-year-old was unbeatable in his sprint discipline throughout the three exotic hours of racing.

The women’s Keirin opened the Festival of Cycling and didn’t disappoint from the off at the Gepps Cross Superdrome.

In front of 1300 fans - 50 per cent capacity because of the COVID restrictions - sprint gun Kristina Conan claimed honours in front of Breanna Hargrave and Lara Tucker.

A few minutes later Whyalla-born young sprint sensation Leigh Hoffman earned the short Keirin crown when he paced himself to perfection staying at the back of the bunch before the sound of the bell saw the strong man use his power.

Maxwell Liebeknekt came in second ahead of Carlos Carismo.

Glaetzer then faced Nathan Hart in the first heat and the two-time world champion was far too strong and raced on his terms in 10.295sec for the final 200m about 70km/h.

“I tried not to think about it and let things flow and went into the slipstream and held onto the line but the heart rate is soaring right now,’’ Glaetzer said.

“This is the base we’re going to build from and it’s exciting times.”

To cap off a super night for SA, Alex Edmondson and Damien Howson - teammates for Australia's WorldTour team BikeExchange for the national road series stage event - claimed the headlining Madison.

The Australian track cycling team then turned it on for the boisterous fans when they took centre stage in the elimination race.

Blessed with Australian athletes bound for the Tokyo Games this year this event didn’t disappoint.

Every second lap saw a rider taken off the track in a 10km race with 13 women starting the coveted event before Ash Ankudinoff claimed what appeared to be an easy win.

South Australian Olympic medallist Annette Edmondson was favoured to claim the race but she had great company with Tokyo Games-bound teammate Maeve Plouffe keen to conserve energy at the right times.

Annette Edmondson paced her rivals from the front of the race before Plouffe was forced to give out.

With five riders remaining Georgia Baker was chasing Ankudinoff hard but she prevailed for a solid victory.

“It was certainly tough, maybe only a small field but it was stacked with classy athletes,’’ Ankudinoff said.

“‘I saved my bickies and rode a pretty smart race.”


Here's all the other racing highlights throughout the evening

Scratch race (para cyclists)

The all in scratch race for para cyclists was 16 laps and 4km and preface favourite Darren Hicks didn’t disappoint.

Hicks claimed a brilliant victory ahead of Daniel van der Laan and his coach Loz Shaw.

Brownwyn Dolman earned a credible fourth ahead of aggressive pacesetters Meg Lemon and Paige Greco.


Tandem team sprint (para tandem)

A race for the vision impaired with a pilot on a tandem bike was breathtaking to say the least.

Eight riders, four bikes and double the power.

Steven Kemp and Candice Kennedy took out the prize in under 54.7 secs for the two lap sprint finish.


Elimination race women - ATL special

Blessed with Australian athletes bound for the Tokyo Games this year this race didn’t disappoint track fans.

Every second lap saw a rider taken off the track in a 10km race with 13 women starting the coveted event before Ash Ankudinoff claimed the event in what appeared to be an easy win.

South Australian Olympic medallist Annette Edmondson was favoured to/ claim the race but she had great company with Tokyo Games-bound teammate Maeve Plouffe keen to conserve energy at the right times.

Annette Edmondson paced her rivals from the front of the race before Plouffe was forced to give out.

With five riders remaining Georgia Baker was chasing Ankudinoff hard but she prevailed for a solid victory.

“It was certainly tough, maybe only a small field but it was stacked with classy athletes,’’ Ankudinoff said.

‘I saved my bickies and rode a pretty smart race.”

 

Elimination race men - ATL special

Tokyo Games-bound Sam Welsford was celebrating his 25th birthday but it was Kell O’Brien who upstaged him at the death ahead of Alex Edmondson.

“I wasn’t expecting the rifts race of the night to go that hard and I’m so happy to come away with it and Alex Edmondson was very good too,’’ O’Brien said.

“We train here most days and it’s so good to do it in front of a crowd in here.”


Italian pursuit - men

Wil Homes claimed the first event which is very similar to the team pursuit but the lead rider does not rejoin the back of the line.
The first rider leads for one lap then swings off until only one rider remains to sprint it out for the victory.

Italian pursuit (para individuals)

Daniel van der Laan had enough teammates doing the hard work to hold on to claim the race over rival Darren Hicks.


Chase race - junior women

Teenager Kaylee Dunn the only non South Australian claimed victory ahead of Matilda Angel in a thriller for the young stars of the future.

Sprint derby round one (men and women)

Leigh Hoffman and Maxwell Liebeknekt were the first to fight for the right to take on the friendly sprint giant Matt Glaetzer in a premeditated final.

Hoffman prevailed for the win.

Carlos Carismo, Jarrah Anderson and Dylan Stanton were next on centre stage and during a stand - Stanton kissed the boards to force a restart.

Carismo won and faced Hoffman in the race to face Glaetzer in the final.

 

Sprint derby round one (elite women)

Kristina Clonan failed to shut the door in the final sprint and Lara Tucker claimed the prize.

Breanna Hargrave had enough gas left in the tank to claim the second derby win over Elia Sibley and Lily Stratford.

“It’s an honour to be among the likes of Anna Meares and Lara and it’s great to be racing,’’ Clonan said.

Tandem sprint (tandem men)

Beau Wootten claimed the men’s event.


Scratch race women - 30 laps

Ash Ankudinoff was favoured to claim the race from the off and she was made to work hard early.

With three laps remaining Annette Edmondson had Ankudinoff’s wheel before she found herself at the front.

Tasmanian Georgia Baker took on Annette Edmondson who in the end was far too good when she displayed her sprinting capabilities to a crowd that were on their toes for the grand finale.

“The girls are in some good form and I chucked on a bigger gear and I had to be patient,’’ Annette Edmondson said.

"Luckily the Santos Tour Down Under and Events SA have made this possible.”

 

Scratch race men - 30 laps

Alex Edmondson was keen to get back on the boards after his last serious appearance on the track was winning a medal at the Rio Games five years ago.

The UCI WorldTour gun for Australia’s BikeExchange had teammate Damien Howson for company but it was Tokyo Games-bound South Australian track star Alex Porter who issued the early challenge.

Edmondson took a commanding lead three laps before the finish.

But with a lap to go, strongman Sam Welsford took out the victory in a fairy tale finish for the birthday boy.


“It was cool to get a win on the birthday but the BikeExchange boys made it difficult,’’ Welsford said.

“There are heaps of really good numbers here and we’d be really hot for the (NRS stage) tour.”

 

Sprint derby round 2 (men)

Leigh Hoffman and Carlos Carisimo faced off for the right to meet Matt Glaetzer in the headlining event in a brilliant track night which delighted the exclusive crowd.

Hoffman and Carisimo played out their game of cat and mouse.

Hoffman held out.

Glaetzer and Hart faced off again in a second heat but the favourite won again.

Less than 30 minutes later Leigh Hoffman and Glaetzer met in a heat.

In a breathtaking battle Glaetzer’s incredible strength just pipped Hoffman who acknowledged his rival’s prowess.

 

Sprint derby round 2 (women)

Breanna Hargrave and Kristina Clonan faced off.

Hargrave tried to turn it into a long sprint but Clonan claimed a second win.

Lara Tucker, Ella Sibley and Lily Stratford faced off in the other heat.

Sibley was just sensational in a photo finish.

 

ELITE WOMEN - 50 LAPS

Annette Edmondson shone on her home track in a blockbuster early having Australian track teammate Maeve Plouffe for good company.

Georgia Baker however moved quickly to head the race with 10 points with just four laps before the finish.

Alex Manly claimed the final sprint and the victory after an incredible finale.

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