In the road racing realm, it’s officially “Classics season” but there are world titles on offer in the coming days. The track worlds are due to begin on Wednesday. Here’s an overview to the program in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.

Last year the track worlds were closer to home for Australian cyclists than they’ve been since 2012 when Melbourne hosted the championships. The racing in Hong Kong happened over the week of Easter in 2017 and the Aussie team left with three gold medals, a number of world-class times and a strong sense of satisfaction.

The championships contested on the velodrome in Tseung Kwan O in April last year also marked the arrival of Simon Jones as Cycling Australia’s manager of the high performance unit. Since then much has changed in Australian cycling.

Track remains the focus of the HPU but that doesn’t translate to a continued focus on world championship medals, not in 2018 at least. No, this year it’ll be more about the Commonwealth Games – they are, after all, being contested in Queensland and there’s a solid program of events that provide a chance to showcase this cycling discipline.

So, despite Australia topping the medal tally in 2017 – leaving the championships in Hong Kong with three gold (men’s individual pursuit for Jordan Kerby; men’s points race for Cameron Meyer; and men’s team pursuit) as well as five silver and three bronze – it will not be a repeat for the Australian team in 2018.

RIDE Media has reported on this before and even though it’s easy to understand the logic of the selection policy for 2018, I stand by the sentiment of the original appraisal published on the day the team of four was announced. “How embarrassing.”

Still, we move on and look to the four who have been selected to race for Australia in Apeldoorn this coming week and wish them all the best.

The four who have travelled to the Netherlands are: Cameron Meyer, Callum Scotson, Matthew Glaetzer and Stephanie Morton.

 

– You can find interviews with Scotson and Glaetzer on ridemedia.com.au –

Jordan Kerby (above) was one of the three gold medal winners from Australia at the 2017 track worlds.

Photo: Casey Gibson

Below is a summary of the racing program for the track worlds of 2018 in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. It’s a solid program spread over five days with a tally of 20 events to be decided.

 

Follow the progress of the championships via the official site

 

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Program of events: track worlds 2018

Date Event Gender   2017 Champion
Wed 28/02 Team Pursuit Women Qualifying  
Wed 28/02 Team Pursuit Men Qualifying  
Wed 28/02 Team Sprint Women Qualifying  
Wed 28/02 Team Sprint Men Qualifying  
Wed 28/02 Scratch 10 km Women Final Rachele Barbieri (ITA)
Wed 28/02 Team Sprint Women 1st round  
Wed 28/02 Team Sprint Men 1st round  
Wed 28/02 Team Pursuit Men 1st round  
Wed 28/02 Team Sprint Women Final places 3-4 & 1-2 Russia
Wed 28/02 Team Sprint Men Final places 3-4 & 1-2 New Zealand
Thu 01/03 Sprint Women Qualifying 200m t.t.  
Thu 01/03 Keirin Men 1st round  
Thu 01/03 Sprint Women 1/16 Final  
Thu 01/03 Keirin Men Repechages  
Thu 01/03 Sprint Women 1/8 Final  
Thu 01/03 Team Pursuit Women 1st round  
Thu 01/03 Sprint Women 1/4 Final (1st)  
Thu 01/03 Keirin Men 2nd round  
Thu 01/03 Team Pursuit Men Finals Australia
Thu 01/03 Sprint Women 1/4 Final (2nd)  
Thu 01/03 Scratch 15 km Men Final Adrian Teklinkski (POL)
Thu 01/03 Sprint Women 1/4 Final (3rd i.r.)  
Thu 01/03 Keirin Men Final places 7 to 12  
Thu 01/03 Keirin Men Final 1 – 6 Azizulhasni Awang (MAS)
Thu 01/03 Team Pursuit Women Finals USA
Fri 02/03 Sprint Men Qualifying 200m t.t.  
Fri 02/03 Omnium I Women Scratch 7.5 km  
Fri 02/03 Sprint Men 1/16 Final  
Fri 02/03 Individual Pursuit Men Qualifying  
Fri 02/03 Sprint Men 1/8 Final  
Fri 02/03 Omnium II Women Tempo Race 7.5 km  
Fri 02/03 Points race 40 km Men Final Cameron Meyer (AUS)
Fri 02/03 Sprint Women 1/2 Final   
Fri 02/03 Omnium III Women Elimination  
Fri 02/03 Individual Pursuit Men Finals 3-4 & 1-2  Jordan Kerby (AUS)
Fri 02/03 Sprint Women Final places 3-4 & 1-2 (1st) Kristina Vogel (GER)
Fri 02/03 Omnium IV Women Final Points race 20 km  
Sat 03/03 500m t.t. Women Qualifying  
Sat 03/03 Sprint Men 1/4 Final (1st)  
Sat 03/03 Omnium I Men Scratch 10 km  
Sat 03/03 Sprint Men 1/4 Final (2nd)  
Sat 03/03 Individual Pursuit Women Qualifying  
Sat 03/03 Sprint Men 1/4 Final (3rd i.r.)  
Sat 03/03 Omnium II Men Tempo Race 10 km  
Sat 03/03 500m t.t. Women Final Daria Shmeleva (RUS)
Sat 03/03 Omnium III Men Elimination  
Sat 03/03 Sprint Men 1/2 Final (1st)  
Sat 03/03 Madison 30 km Women Final Belgium
Sat 03/03 Sprint Men 1/2 Final (2nd)  
Sat 03/03 Sprint Men 1/2 Final (3rd i.r.)  
Sat 03/03 Individual pursuit Women Finals 3-4 & 1-2 Chloe Dygert (USA)
Sat 03/03 Sprint Men Final places 3-4 & 1-2 (1st) Denis Dmitriev (RUS)
Sat 03/03 Omnium IV Men Final Points race 25 km  
Sun 04/03 Keirin Women 1st round  
Sun 04/03 Kilometre t.t. Men Qualifying  
Sun 04/03 Keirin Women Repechages  
Sun 04/03 Keirin Women 2nd round  
Sun 04/03 Points race 25 km Women Final Elinor Barker (GBR)
Sun 04/03 Kilometre t.t. Men Final François Pervis (FRA)
Sun 04/03 Keirin Women Final places 7 to 12  
Sun 04/03 Keirin Women Final 1 – 6 Kristina Vogel (GER)
Sun 04/03 Madison 50 km Men Final France
  Omnium Men Overall Benjamin Thomas (FRA)
  Omnium Women Overall Katie Archibald (GBR)

Cameron Meyer (above) gets the chance to defend his points race crown and he’ll also see if he and Callum Scotson can improve on their second place in the Madison last year.

Photo: Casey Gibson

Australia has, as they say, “been there and done that” at the velodrome in Apeldoorn before.

When the worlds were contested in Holland back in 2011 the Aussies were dominant! Winning seven of the 19 events, it was a true showcase of what’s possible. But that was also a non-Olympic year: in other words, a season in which track cycling remains relatively anonymous.

If you listen to commentary on social media, it’s fair to say that the lustre of track racing is not what it once was. Why? Well, quite simply because the other disciplines attract more competitors.

Look at the popularity of road cycling, MTB and BMX and compare the numbers in Cycling Australia’s membership and it soon becomes clear that the vast majority of riders are racing events that are not part of CA’s main focus – ie. track racing… and, more specifically, track racing at the Olympic (and Commonwealth) Games.

But let’s not allow old themes to distract us from the premise of this article, which is to provide a preview of the championships that are coming up in Holland.

Young American Chloe Dygert won the individual pursuit in 2017 (above).

Photo: Casey Gibson

Gone are the days when the men contested more events than the women. In 2018, it’s 10 medal events for each:

  • Sprint
  • Keirin
  • Time trial (men: 1,000m / women: 500m)
  • Omnium
  • Points race (men: 40km / women 25km)
  • Scratch race (men: 15km / women 10km)
  • Individual pursuit (men: 4,000m / women: 3,000m)
  • Team pursuit
  • Madison

 

As with the Commonwealth Games, this is a more extensive program than what’s on the Olympic agenda and it includes some of cycling’s most traditional events, the individual pursuit and the time trials – ‘kilo’ for men, 500m for women.

Australia has a rich history with both these disciplines which will be missing from the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 but, with Matthew Glaetzer and Stephanie Morton, there is a chance for medals in Apeldoorn in the TTs.

Glaetzer remains the only rider in history to finish the ‘kilo’ in less than a minute while contested at sea level. Apeldoorn is a track that has produced fast times before and, going on the South Australian’s current form, it could be that another 59-second TT is due. Should he do that again – as he did in Manchester in November 2017 and at the nationals in Brisbane earlier this year – then a gold medal may well be the result.

Amy Cure and Alex Manly (above) scored a bronze in the Madison in 2017, despite a crash.

Photo: Casey Gibson

Although Cam Meyer has been a pursuit world champion before, that rainbow jersey has only ever come from the team event and it’s unlikely that either of the Australian endurance riders will contest the individual pursuit in Apeldoorn.

Instead, we’ll see Meyer and Callum Scotson focussing on the Madison, which returns to the Olympic program in Japan in a couple of years.

The pair finished second in the Madison at the worlds in 2017 and Scotson admits that it was probably a missed change at a crucial moment that cost them the title. (See our interview on YouTube with him for more.)

Meyer and Scotson are Australia’s endurance athletes for the championships in Apeldoorn and, like the other Aussie pair – both sprint specialists – they will return to Australia in time to also contest the Commonwealth Games.

There are 30 days between the worlds and Comm Games, plenty of time for recuperation from the competition in Apeldoorn but enough to warrant consideration about priorities for some of the other track specialists.

Jordan Kerby, for example, is frustrated that he won’t be able to defend his title in the individual pursuit but he’s told RIDE that he’s pleased to have made selection for the Comm Games as this was his reasoning for even trying track cycling again. He set a blistering time to qualify for the final in Hong Kong, riding the third fastest pursuit ever, and he continues to show the kind of form that makes him a favourite for the title in Brisbane come April.

One of Kerby’s main rivals is likely to be young British sensation, Charlie Tanfield. Although he hasn’t been part of Team GB and its efficient gold medal-winning system, he has made selection for the worlds in Holland and it’s possible that he’ll also be in Australia for the Comm Games.

Charlie Tanfield (above) is posting the kind of times that make him a favourite for the pursuit title at the 2018 worlds.

Although Cam Meyer has been a pursuit world champion before, that rainbow jersey has only ever come from the team event and it’s unlikely that either of the men’s endurance riders will contest the individual pursuit in Apeldoorn.

Instead, we’ll see Meyer and Callum Scotson focussing on the Madison, which returns to the Olympic program in Japan in a couple of years.

The pair finished second in the Madison at the worlds in 2017 and Scotson admits that it was probably a missed change at a crucial moment that cost them the title. (See our interview on YouTube with him for more.)

Meyer and Scotson are Australia’s endurance athletes for the championships in Apeldoorn and, like the other Aussie pair – both sprint specialists – they will return to Australia in time to also contest the Commonwealth Games.

There are 30 days between the worlds and Comm Games, plenty of time for recuperation from the competition in Apeldoorn but enough to warrant consideration about priorities for some of the track specialists.

Jordan Kerby, for example, is frustrated that he won’t be able to defend his title in the individual pursuit but he’s told RIDE that he’s pleased to have made selection for the Comm Games as this was his reasoning for even trying track cycling again. He set a blistering time to qualify for the final in Hong Kong, riding the third fastest pursuit ever, and he continues to show the kind of form that makes him a favourite for the title in Brisbane come April.

One of Kerby’s main rivals is likely to be young British sensation, Charlie Tanfield. Although he hasn’t been part of Team GB and its efficient system, he has made selection for the worlds in Holland and it’s possible that he’ll also be in Australia for the Comm Games.

Glaetzer (above) will be chasing gold in three events: sprint, keirin and ‘kilo’… Photo: Casey Gibson

It’s a great shame that the track cycling world championships don’t conjure the kind of attention that other disciplines in our sport command. There is a great program of competition, it’s easier for broadcasters to capture the action, there are fantastic races and a variety of events that make it compelling.

But track racing just isn’t what it once was.

Still, for Australian fans – even when there are only four riders competing in green and gold at the worlds – there is reason to tune it. This is cycling and good performances, no matter what nation achieves them, is what we want to see.

We wait to see what comes from Morton, Meyer, Scotson and Glaetzer and look forward to seeing how they fare against the likes of Team GB and other consistent performers in track racing like Germany, France and Russia.

We’ll be monitoring the championships in 2018 and reporting in when the opportunity presents. Alas, RIDE Media will not be in Apeldoorn but that doesn’t mean we won’t be paying attention. Track racing may not be as popular as other disciplines in cycling but it is still compelling… and there’s a history with the sport that makes it too interesting to ignore.

 

 

– By Rob Arnold