South Australia’s Glenn O’Shea and Annette Edmondson have continued their stellar 2012 campaigns by claiming the Omnium national titles at the 2013 Cycling Australia Omnium Track National Championships at Melbourne’s DISC Velodrome.
Reigning world champion O’Shea was almost perfect in the men’s omnium, claiming wins in four of the six events, the points, individual pursuit, scratch and kilometre time trial, and second in the elimination race and flying lap.
“It’s a little bit of relief, as there is always that added pressure coming into a championship like this being the world champion, “ said O’Shea, who also finished fifth in the omnium in his Olympic debut in London. “It’s been a pretty good two days for me.”
A true test of stamina, speed and endurance, the omnium has competitors racing in six events over two days - the flying 250m lap, points, elimination and scratch races, the individual pursuit and a time trial. Points are awarded to each rider based on placings in the events and the cyclist with the lowest tally at the end deemed the winner.
Recently crowned Oceania omnium champion, South Australia’s Luke Davison held a narrow one-point lead over defending champion O’Shea after the first three events held on Thursday.
Despite a personal best time of 13.028 seconds for O’Shea in the opening ‘flying lap’ event, Davison managed to pip his rival for the win being the only rider to break the 13-second barrier, recording 12.937 for the 500m distance.
The world champion showed his class however, with a solid victory in the points race ahead of Davison and Victoria’s Alex Morgan, before Davison then pipped O’Shea in the third event, the elimination race.
O’Shea then took the win in the 4000m individual pursuit with a time of 4mins 26.838secs, with a fifth place to Davison giving O’Shea a valuable three point lead heading into the final two events.
O’Shea quickly extended his lead to five points following a strong victory in the elimination race which saw him take a lap on the field. And despite a puncture which forced him to ride the final two laps of the 1km time trial with a flat tyre, he posted his fourth win to secure the crown.
“I got pushed the whole way by Luke, but I managed to get away from him today with a couple of good rides in the pursuit and scratch,” said O’Shea. “I was pretty happy with the time trial time considering the puncture.
Fresh from his silver medal at the Glasgow Track World Cup in early November, O'Shea also claimed a stunning win in the Ghent six-day event.
“I went to Glasgow a few weeks ago and I was in pretty good form as I trained really hard for that," said O'Shea who claimed his third national omnium titles after victories in 2008 and 2012.
“But I rode quicker here in everything except the time trial but I got the puncture, and I was pleased with my form in the bunch racing, so with two months to go until worlds, it is going alright,” added O’Shea.
O’Shea will contest the Tasmanian Christmas Carnival Series in late December, before turning the 2013 Subaru Track National Championships to be held in Sydney from January 30 to February 2.
Davison (14 points) took the silver medal, with the junior world champion Morgan (26 points) claiming bronze.
In the women’s omnium, the 2012 world silver and Olympic bronze medalist Edmondson was simply unstoppable as she claimed her second national omnium crown in two years.
It was pure cycling perfection from the South Australia as she claimed victories in all six events to finish on the lowest score possible - six points – twelve clear of fellow Olympian Amy Cure of Tasmania who finished level on 18 points with West Australia’s Isabella King.
Cure was awarded the silver medal due to a faster time when the pursuit, flying lap and 500 metre time trial times were tallied.
“I came in here hoping to win it and had a lot of confidence after the Oceanias,” said Edmondson, who claimed the omnium title at the Oceania Championships in Adelaide last month in similar fashion, claiming victories in all six events.
“I was pretty surprised with my Oceania performance to be honest, as I wasn’t sure where my form would be at post London.
“And I know that even now I am not in peak form, so it is really positive going into the rest of the season,” she added.
In the first three events held on Thursday, Edmondson recorded a personal best time in the opening event, the flying lap, posting the only sub 14-second ride.
The South Australian then claimed a convincing win in the points race before withstanding a strong challenge in the elimination race from Canberra’s Rebecca Wiasak to take the win.
In the final three events held on Friday, Edmondson posted the fastest individual pursuit time (3:35.302) by four seconds, before a comfortable victory in the second last event, the scratch race.
Edmondson then bumped it up a gear in the final event, the 500m time trial, posting the fastest time of 35.812secs to seal the complete set of victories.
“Anything can happen in an omnium so I just had to focus on each individual race as it came and I managed to pull off the race plan in most occasions, so I am very pleased,” who reclaimed the title she won in 2011 after finishing third in 2012 to Sydney’s Ashlee Ankudinoff.
“And to top it off with six wins, it’s great,” she exclaimed.
Like O’Shea, Edmondson will contest the Christmas Carnivals in Tasmania before turning her attentions to the Track National Championships in Sydney.
“It sounds a bit greedy, but I will be focusing on all three events in Sydney,” said Edmondson, who celebrated her twenty-first birthday last Wednesday.
“The individual pursuit is number one for me, as I am aiming for the pursuit team for worlds so am looking for a good time.
“But obviously I would like to cement my place in the other two events, the scratch and points, as they will be a decision maker as to who rider the omnium. Even though I have had a good performance here and at Oceanias, I need to keep on my toes at all times,” added Edmondson.
Jack Edwards of New South Wales was far too good for his opponents in the under 19 men’s omnium. with the 16-year-old rocketing his way to a resounding 18 point victory.
In the opening event, Victoria’s junior world time trial champion Zac Shaw (13.164) posted the fastest time for the flying lap, just ahead of Edwards (13.504).
However Edwards put the pedal down in the next three events and claimed consecutive victories in the points and elimination races, plus the individual pursuit, to bolt to a stunning 15point lead after four events.
Edwards was pipped into second place by South Australia’s Joshua Harrison in the penultimate event, the scratch race, before finishing second in the 1km time trial (1:05.245) behind Shaw (1:04.348).
Edwards finished on 9 points, with Victoria’s Mathew Ross claiming the silver with 27 points, just one ahead of South Australia’s Joshua Harrison (28pts) who took the bronze.
“I got a bit worried dafter Zac (Shaw) go the first event as I knew he’d be tough competition,” said Sydney’s Edwards, who will now turn his attentions to the Australian Youth Olympic Festival which will be held from 16 – 20 January 2013 in Sydney.
“But I went hard in the next three events and then all the boys kept me down to earth heading into the final two events so it all worked out really well.”
In the under 19 women’s event. Josie Talbot (NSW) claimed her first national omnium crown following a consistent performance which saw her finish in the top three in all six events.
Talbot, 16, posted a convincing victory in the points race for her lone win, however it was four second place finishes in the flying lap, individual pursuit, scratch and 500m time trial which secured her win. Talbot also finished third in the elimination race.
“I am pretty ecstatic about it, it’s my first under 19 national title, so I am really happy,” said Talbot, who hails from Camden in Greater Western Sydney.
“I am really focused on making the team for the junior worlds later next year, but I was just picked in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival team so I am pretty excited about getting to ride for Australia in January,” Talbot added.
Talbot finished on 12 points, five ahead of Tasmania’s Lauren Perry (17pts) who took the silver medal following wins in the individual pursuit and scratch race and a third in the points race.
The podium mirrored that of the 2013 Oceania Championships held in Adelaide in November with West Australia’s Elissa Wundersitz (20pts) taking the bronze medal following victories in the elimination race and time trial in addition to third in the flying lap.
West Australia’s Emily McRedmond was the other rider to post a victory after she recorded the fastest time in the flying lap.
The 2013 Cycling Australia Madison National will be decided on Saturday night and is the final event of the Melbourne Cup on Wheels Carnival beginning at 6.30pm.