NSW and St George cycling star Ashlee Ankudinoff has won the elite title at the 2018 Cycling Australia Omnium National Championships at DISC Velodrome in Melbourne.
A history-making ride saw Ankudinoff bag a fourth career Australian omnium title in late December in a hotly contested race which saw the final sprint decide all three medals.
"I am pretty happy. I am more hungry than ever especially leading into a Commonwealth Games year," Ankudinoff said.
"For me to win this is pretty special. Any Aussie champions jersey is pretty special to have and wear.”
After finishing eighth in the scratch race, Ankudinoff built across the competition to snare third in the tempo race and fifth in the elimination race to sit third after three of four events just four points off the lead of Alex Manly (SA).
In a highly active finale, Ankudinoff made an early move to take a lap with Macey Stewart (TAS), however with the peloton wise to the danger they were quickly reeled in. Josie Talbot (NSW) made the next move, swiftly taking a lap and with it the temporary lead of the race just before the half way mark.
With three sprints remaining, Ankudinoff held a two-point lead on Talbot and Manly, with a late move by Maeve Plouffe with five to go nearly earning her a medal as the 2017 under-19 champion was cruelly caught with just over a lap to go.
Ankudinoff managed to hold off a late charge from Manly in the final sprint to take second and six points, and with it the gold. Manly claimed silver and Talbot the bronze to repeat their podium positions from a year ago.
"It was right down to the wire and I had to have my wits about me,” Ankudinoff said.
“I had to really focus on which sprints to go for and where everyone else was in the bunch. Because a couple of girls took a lap and that really changed things up.
"It was unfortunate that Nettie (Edmondson), Amy (Cure) and Georgia (Baker) had to pull out due to sickness as it would have been great to race them but I am still happy to win.”
It capped a very successful three days of Melbourne competition for Ankudinoff with her gold in the omnium on Friday. On Saturday she took a bronze in the Australian Madison race with Josie Talbot and on Sunday she won the Shimano Supercrit ahead of Chloe Hosking and Kimberley Wells.
Australian cyclists have a deadline of January 31 to record a Commonwealth Games-rated performance. The 2018 Commonwealth Games Cycling team will be announced in February.
Gold: Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW) 118
Silver: Alexandra Manly (SA) 114
Bronze: Josie Talbot (NSW) 107