St George Cycling Club stars Ashlee Ankudinoff and Kaarle McCulloch won gold medals to help Australia dominate day one of the 2019 Oceania Track Championships.
Australia emerged on top of the opening day of competition at the Adelaide Superdrome winning eight of 10 gold medals on offer.
Australia won their sixth women's team sprint crown in a row with Stephanie Morton and McCulloch winning their fifth in what was their first team sprint since winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in April. McCulloch got the pair off to a strong start before Morton took over, storming home in front of a vocal local crowd in 32.810 seconds.
“It feels really good. I am really stoked with how Steph and I executed tonight. It is the first team sprint we have done since Commonwealth Games so to do a 32.8 is sitting pretty good on this cold track tonight,” McCulloch said.
“This week is all about managing my physical and mental exertion because I have three races on three different continents over the next three weeks so tomorrow I really want to get the win in the 500 so I can sit nice in the points for the World Championships. Then in the sprint and keirin it is about getting out there and executing some tactics I have been working on."
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ankudinoff then led Australia to gold in the women’s team pursuit along with Kristina Clonan, Macey Stewart and Georgia Baker in the fastest time ever set at an Oceania Championships of 4 minutes, 22.052 seconds to set a championship record.
“It was good. Didn’t know it was the fastest at an Oceania Championships so that is pretty cool,” Ankudinoff said.
“We have had two newbies in Kristina and Macey come in to the squad and I think they stepped up tremendously. I don’t think they have ridden that quick before so we couldn’t be happier to start our season off with a gold medal."
Three-time champion Ankudinoff then won a second medal of the day in the points race bringing her number of Oceania titles to 14. With less than an hour between her gold medal winning team pursuit ride Ankudinoff returned to the boards and quickly let her ambitions be known in the early sprints.
With speed and experience on her side Ankudinoff was able to navigate multiple attempts to unseat her at the top of the standings with Sam De Riter (Australia) and Jessie Hodges (New Zealand) among the most active. Taking the final sprint saw Baker take silver just one point behind Ankudinoff with Hodges completing the podium 10 points behind.
“I backed up pretty well obviously, I am walking away with a gold medal, so I couldn’t be happier,” Ankudinoff said of claiming her second gold within a matter of hours.
“I had good legs out there and I just wanted to continue the moment from the team pursuit. Georgia and I got first and second which isn’t bad after backing up from the TP."