Australians pad gold haul at worlds

Updated: March 27, 2011, 1:10 PM ET
Associated Press

APELDOORN, Netherlands -- Anna Meares grabbed her third gold medal and Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard defended their madison title Sunday and added to Australia's gold rush on the final day of the track cycling world championships.

Meyer added gold to the silver he won in the points race and Meares won the keirin after earlier triumphing in the individual and team sprints to take Australia's gold haul to eight from the championships' 19 events. Australian riders also won two silvers and a bronze.

"Tonight I was very hungry to get that rainbow jersey," Meyer said. "So many other Australians have rainbow jerseys in our team and we wanted one as well."

Meyer and Howard started the 50-kilometer madison race slowly and looked in trouble when the Czech pair of Martin Blaha and Jiri Hochmann stole a lap on the rest of the riders. The race featured 16 pairs of riders who took turns sprinting and catapulting each another forward as they changed.

With around 40 laps to go, the Australians managed to catch up with the Czechs, grabbing extra points by winning a sprint.

The Czechs finished second and the Dutch team of Theo Bos and Peter Schep was third after amassing 21 points in sprints held every 10 laps.

Meares had to swerve in the final lap of the keirin to avoid Cuban rider Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez who fell in front of her and held off a strong challenge from Olga Panarina of Belarus on the line to win her third title.

Panarina was second and Clara Sanchez of France finished third.

Meares said winning the keirin was a pleasant surprise after her twin sprint triumphs.

"My coach said 'Have some fun today, I don't really care -- win lose or draw, have some fun,' " Meares said. "I was relaxed, I had no pressure on me and I really was enjoying myself."

Tara Whitten of Canada took gold in the women's omnium despite not winning any of the six races that make up the event. Whitten placed second in the flying lap, individual pursuit and scratch race and sealed her victory with a fifth place in the closing 500-meter time trial.

Sarah Hammer of the United States, winner of the individual pursuit on Friday, was second overall in the omnium and Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands was third.

Earlier, Stefan Nimke of Germany won the men's 1-kilometer time trial.

The 33-year-old Nimke, who won a silver medal in the event at the Sydney Olympics and bronze four years later in Athens, finished in 1 minute 00.793 seconds to give Germany its first gold of the five-day championships.

"The success for me comes in the last lap," Nimke said. "I can hold high speeds for a long time. I have no top speed but I have long speed."

The win followed a second-place finish for Nimke in Wednesday's team sprint.

Mulder said he was "very satisfied with his championships" after also winning bronze Saturday in the keirin.

Defending champion Teun Mulder of the Netherlands, cheered on by a near-capacity crowd at the Omnisport velodrome, raced last and was ahead of Nimke's pace for three and a half of the four laps but ran out of steam in the final bend to finish second in 1:01.179. Francois Pervis of France was third in 1:01.228.

Australia has dominated the banked wooden track, taking six of the 15 gold medals going into the final day.

Britain, by far the strongest team at the Beijing Olympics, has been disappointing with only one gold, three silvers and five bronzes going into Sunday.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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