AusCycling | Australia break decade-long drought to become team sprint world champions

Australia break decade-long drought to become team sprint world champions

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Australia has been crowned world champions in men’s team sprint at the 2022 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, dethroning the Netherlands in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.

Leigh Hoffman, Matthew Richardson and Matthew Glaetzer soared to rainbow stripes at Vélodrome de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in the gold medal final versus the Dutch in a time of 41.600 – the fastest of their three times posted during the session and 0.375 outside of the Netherlands’ 2020 world record.

The quartet of Leigh Hoffman, Thomas Cornish, Matthew Richardson and Matthew Glaetzer are the first Australian team to become world champions in the men's team sprint since 2012, a team Glaetzer was a member of with Shane Perkins and Scott Sunderland.

“I know how hard it is and it’s been a bit of a drought for us,” Glaetzer said.

“I knew we had a lot of potential in this team but we were yet to be fully proven and yet to show the world what we are capable of.

“Super proud of the boys today – did a ripper job, every single one of them.

“Time to enjoy this one.”

Australia set the standard from their first ride, shocking the Netherlands by posting the fastest time of 41.896 in qualifying, with Thomas Cornish riding third wheel alongside Hoffman and Richardson.

Glaetzer was brought into the fray for the all-important first round and the Australians upped the ante, stopping the clock at 41.630 to qualify first for the gold medal final.

In the gold medal final, it was Hoffman who proved to be the catalyst for rainbows, posting a blistering first lap time of 16.949 to Netherlands’ 17.468.

Richardson and Glaetzer then hung tough to hold the lead and pip the Dutch with a nail-biting 0.043 seconds margin.

The world championship-winning performance continues a stellar 2022 for the Australian Cycling Team sprint program, which has been buoyed by standout results from Richardson and Glaetzer.

“It felt so surreal to pull on that rainbow jersey on the podium,” Richardson said.

“It didn’t really sink in until I looked down and saw the bands across my chest and the gold medal around my neck.

“We’ve wanted this for so long, you know, it’s been 10 years since Australia has won this title, so, for us it’s really special and I’m just so proud of the boys and what we did today.

“I think for me, the time on the boards today was definitely a surprise.

“I think we were capable of going under that 42-second mark that we said we wanted to at Commonwealth Games, but to go 41.6 and to be within touching distance of that world record is really special.

“It went basically exactly how we set it out in our pre-race strategy, control the first one (qualifying) a little bit more and then bring Matt G in and basically just start ripping some really fast team sprints.

“We just executed perfectly and I think we went beyond what we all thought was possible today.”

Australia
Leigh Hoffman (front) was on fire from the gate all evening at Vélodrome de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. Picture: Guy Swarbrick

For Richardson, Cornish and Hoffman, the team sprint triumph is their first world championship at the elite level, one the young trio have been eyeing for quite some time.

What stood in their way was the might of the Netherlands, led by Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland.

“It’s been a big goal of ours for a while to be the ones to finally try and push them (Netherlands),” Cornish said.

“For a while, it sort of seemed they were untouchable, but I think we came together really well, and we have the depth to do it.

“Everything just worked out really well.”


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Pictures: UCI and Guy Swarbrick
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