Jack Bobridge wins individual pursuit
APELDOORN, Netherlands -- Jack Bobridge stormed to victory in the individual pursuit at the track cycling world championships Thursday, a day after he led the Australia pursuit team to gold.
The pursuit prodigy beat Jesse Sergent of New Zealand in the final of the 4-kilometer race in 4 minutes, 21.141 seconds, adding the individual world title to the world record he shattered in Sydney last month.
"It's overwhelming really," Bobridge said. "To come here after taking that world record the question was then whether I was going to be able to hang onto that form right through to the worlds and ... I think I've managed it quite well."
Michael Hepburn was third, beating Rohan Dennis in a head-to-head race between two more members of the gold medal-winning pursuit team.
The individual pursuit is not an Olympic event, but Australia's pursuit team will be favored to take gold in London next year.
Earlier, Britain won the women's team pursuit by overpowering the United States, the world record-holder, in the final.
Britain could not make it two team golds for the night, seeing its sprint team of Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish finish second behind Australia's two-time defending champion pair of Anna Meares and Kaarle McCullough. The Australian favorites won the two-lap dash in 33.237 seconds. China was third and France fourth.
"It's three in a row and I honestly wasn't thinking about it in that sense," Meares said. "It dawned on me once I actually won that it was three in a row."
Meares said the Australia team's domination of the event should not disguise the fact that the competition was getting tougher, with strong rivals in the form of the British, Chinese and French.
"The list goes on," she said. "While we may have won this for the third time in a row it's definitely closer than the results would make it appear."
The British pursuit team of Laura Trott, Wendy Houvenaghel and Danielle King were in sync throughout the race and led from start to finish, gradually building their lead to beat the American team of Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch and Jennie Reed by 2 seconds.
Britain finished the 3-kilometer race in a track record time of 3:23.419.
"It's so encouraging," Houvenaghel said, adding there was room to get even faster before next year's Olympics.
"These girls have come a long way in a short space of time and over the next 16 months there's a lot of leeway to improve a lot more and I'm very excited about the prospect of us performing in London," she said.
Kaytee Boyd, Jaime Nielsen and Alison Shanks won bronze for New Zealand in the women's team pursuit, pushing defending champion Australia into fourth.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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