Four world records were broken on an exciting opening night of the 2012 UCI Juniors Track Cycling World Championships in Invercargill, New Zealand tonight (local time).
It was the first time in juniors world history that four world records have been broken on the first night, with the slick track at the Stadium Southland Velodrome living up to its reputation as one of the fastest sea-level circuits.
Leading the way were the Russian pair of Daria Shmeleva and Lidia Pluzhnikova who broke the world record in qualifying in the women’s team sprint and lowered it again to a stunning 34.155s in winning the final over hosts New Zealand.
Shmeleva was part of the Russian team that won the gold medal in a world record at home in Moscow last year, but was delighted with the performance after the long travel from Europe, arriving only two days ago.
“No words can describe how I feel. I cannot believe it. We have travelled such a long way to be here and this feels very good. The track was very fast and I enjoyed it,” Shmelev said.
Not to be out-done the outstanding Australian women’s team pursuit combination of Georgia Baker, Taylah Jennings and Kelsey Robson smashed the world record in winning the 3000m final in 3:24.372, more than a second faster than the previous mark set by their compatriots at Italy in 2010.
“We raced to schedule in the qualifying but we were quite nervous out there before the final because while we knew we could go faster, we did not know if New Zealand were thinking the same,” said Jennings, a two-time world champion last year in Moscow.
“The track was really fast out there tonight and the ride felt really smooth and so fast.”
The other record went to Australia in the final of the men’s team sprint, but their elation quickly turned to dismay when they were relegated back to second behind Russia after they changed out of the zone on the first lap.
Mexico managed to edged out hosts New Zealand by half a second to claim the bronze.
Overall it was an excellent night for the home country New Zealand, finishing with silver medals in the men’s and women’s team pursuits and the women’s team sprint, while the men’s team sprint finished fourth. It is the first time they have won three medals on the first day of the world championships.
Day 1 finals results:
Men’s 4000m team pursuit, gold medal ride: Australia 4:06.277, 1 ; New Zealand 4:08.124, 2. Bronze medal: Russia 3; Ukraine 4, caught.
Men team sprint, gold medal ride: Australia 45.468, 1; Russia 46.363, 2. Bronze medal: Mexico 46.262, 3; New Zealand 46.775, 4.
Women’s team sprint, gold medal ride: Russia 34.155, 1 (World Record); New Zealand 35.225, 2. Bronze medal: Australia 35.428, 3; USA 37.101, 4.
Women’s 3000m team pursuit, gold medal: Australia 3:24.372, 1; New Zealand 3:30.795, 2. Bronze medal: Great Britain 3; Russia 4 (caught).
Full details: www.juniorworlds2012.com
Caption: Russian sprinters Lidia Pluzhnikova and Daria Shmeleva with their coach after winning the women’s team sprint.
Credit: James Jubb.