Aussies back on track, Hammer nails fifth title
Australia avenged two successive men's team pursuit title losses to Great Britain in Minsk on Wednesday as they regained their world track crown on the first day of the world track cycling championships.
The Australians came second to the British at both last year's world championships in Melbourne and then at the London Olympics.
However, their young quartet of Glenn O'Shea (23 years old), Alexander Edmondson (19), Michael Hepburn (21) and Alexander Morgan (18) got the better of their old rivals in Minsk to win in a time of 3min 56.751sec over the four-kilometre course.
Denmark took the bronze medal, beating Spain in their match-up.
Earlier American track star Sarah Hammer added another chapter to her remarkable record in the women's pursuit as she won a fifth world title.
The title edged the 29-year-old to within one of the record jointly held by her compatriot Rebecca Twigg (who won hers between 1982 and 1995) and Russian Tamara Garkuchina (from 1967 to 1974).
Hammer – the only American competing in Minsk – edged out young Australian Amy Cure while another Australian Annette Edmondson took the bronze.
In contrast to Hammer, Francois Pervis had experienced nothing but frustration down the years, finishing in the minor medal positions until finally cracking it on Wednesday with gold in the kilometre event.
The 28-year-old, who had previously won four bronzes and a silver medal in the event, won in a time of 1min 00.221sec to edge out New Zealand's Simon Van Velthooven, with Joachim Eilers of Germany taking the bronze.
"There are those who are world champions aged 22. I had to wait till I was 28 but the important thing is that I got there at last," said Pervis.
"I experienced a lot of disappointments but I always believed in myself, I always thought I would get there.
"I knew that the title was at my door having waited for it for the last 11 years, but the stress has really been there the past four years. I was tossing and turning in bed, not knowing what to do. It was imperative that I didn't let it slip this time."
Germany's Olympic champions Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel showed their class in overcoming a dusrupted preparation to retain their speed event title.
The German duo – who had been pessimistic about their chances as they had been taking their exams to become policewomen – beat the Chinese pairing of Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang in the final.
Great Britain took the bronze as Rebecca James and Victoria Williamson beat Australia's Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton in their match-up.