Perkins wins keirin - J19 take team sprint gold
Victorian Shane Perkins wrapped up the sprint double today adding the Australian keirin title to his sprint crown at the Scody Cycling Australia Track National Championships at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome.
Perkins, who won the sprint on Thursday, was the clear favourite for the keirin and easily qualified through to the final where a trio of New South Wales riders, Andrew Taylor, Mitch Bullen and Peter Lewis, did their best to shut him out of the medals. They launched an attack three laps from the finish but their pace wasn't enough to hold off Perkins who, with Victorian team mate Niblett on his wheel, flew past them to hit the front at the bell and hold on for a seemingly easy win.
"It was pretty tough to go a long way out, 500 plus metres, but I guess I was lucky enough to have a team mate following me there giving it a bit of distance," said Perkins, 24, "Given New South Wales had the train going, I took the initiative to go earlier and lucky I had the legs to hold them off at the end."
Niblett was second and Dubbo's Andrew Taylor crossed the line in third place.
"The level that we had here this year was absolutely unbelievable, probably the best we have ever had, there were so many great times and overall an awesome display this week from all the states," said Perkins. "Two out of two is not bad, the preparation leading into these championships was a pretty heavy block, I am a bit surprised in a way with the form I have had to be honest.
"Six weeks to go till the world titles I still have a bit of work to do, but to be at this level now it is all good signs," said Perkins whose wife Kristine is due to give birth to their second child this month. "I am looking forward to the challenge, but now I am looking forward to getting home and catching up with the family before heading back into the gym.
Taylah Jennings (QLD) capped off a remarkable week claiming her third gold and sixth medal of the championships with her win in the under 19 women's keirin final.
Jennings chose her moment to attack hitting the front a lap from home and leaving her rivals behind. Victoria's Imogen Jelbart and South Australia's Rikki Belder claimed the silver and bronze medals respectively.
"I was really hoping for a medal in the keirin, but certainly didn't expect gold," said Jennings who was named the under 19 Champion of Champions. She won the omnium and scratch race, claimed silver in the time trial and points race and was third in the individual pursuit.
"This week I was hoping for maybe one or two medals, I have only ever got silvers and bronzes at the national championships before, so it is really exciting especially being a first year under 19."
Jennings is based in Rockhampton and is coached by Reg Tucker, the early coach of Olympic and World Champion Anna Meares.
"She is my idol, a really good role model, especially as she is from Queensland," explained Jennings, "At training I am always reminded of her, I am kind of expected to be her, so it gives me the drive to be like her," said Jennings.
In the under 19 men's sprint, Victorians Jaron Gardiner, Luke Parker and Jacob Schmid smashed the Australian Championship and All-Comers record on their way to winning gold.
The trio posted the fastest time in the earlier qualifying, but shaved a further half a second off their time to post 46.457 in the final to defeat New South Wales' Timothy McMillan, Gary Ryan and Ben Young (48.118) who claimed the silver.
"Having a team like we did it's amazing, how we rode, how we improved our times it's amazing," said Gardiner, 17. "I was expecting it to go down a little bit but to see it come down to that I was stoked.
"Going up against Timothy McMillan third wheel, of course he was the one I was watching he's a brilliant rider," said Gardiner. "But he's a good mate, we're all friends at the end of the day except when it comes to the track - we're enemies."
West Australians Jack Ward, Luke Zaccaria & Mitchell Benson (48.178) defeated South Australia's Edward Coad, Ben Fergusson and Robrt Jon McCarthy (49.185) for the bronze medal.
The 2011 Scody Cycling Australia Track National Championships were staged from Sunday January 30 to Sunday February 6 at Sydney’s Dunc Gray Velodrome.