Australia’s team sprint world champions have started their year in rainbow on the front foot, winning the opening round of the Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup in Jakarta.
Leigh Hoffman, Matthew Richardson and Thomas Cornish overcame perennial rivals the Netherlands in an anti-climactic gold medal final.
Netherlands’ third-man Jeffrey Hoogland was forced to sit up after the first lap with a rear flat tyre, curtailing the highly anticipated rematch of last year’s World Championship final.
Nightmare for the Dutch 😦— UCI Track Cycling (@UCI_Track) February 24, 2023
The Australians and UCI World Champions come away with the win in the Men's Team Sprint 🥇#TissotNationsCup pic.twitter.com/3vQKX4MILv
Cornish said despite not having the head-to-head battle they expected with the Dutch they were happy with the day.
“We weren’t sure how the legs were going be this weekend since we are fairly deep in training, but we rode consistently and at the end of the day that’s what got it across the line for us,” Cornish said.
“I’m sure they’ll use it as fuel for next time.”
Australian starter Leigh Hoffman said to pull off the win so early in the season with so little training was “a good place to be”.
“We’ve had a big day out here and we’ve done everything we wanted to execute perfectly so we can’t complain,” Hoffman said.
“It’s very early in the season so we are definitely trying to find our legs.”
The final was made more irregular for the Australian trio due to a timing and scoring issue on Jakarta International Velodrome's big screens, with the win not confirmed to them until they stepped off the track.
“I had no idea what had happened, and no one was really celebrating, so I didn’t know who had won,” Cornish said.
“It wasn’t until I came into the infield and heard Leigh getting interviewed that I figured it out.”
Cornish and Richardson turn their attention to the keirin on Day 3 before finishing with the sprint competition on the final day.
Earlier in the night both of Australia’s team pursuit squads finished fourth in their respective bronze medal final versus Great Britain.
Australian Cycling Team debutant Blake Agnoletto backed up from riding all three team pursuits across Day 1 and Day 2 with a 15th in the elimination race.
Sophie Edwards finished 20th in her elimination race.