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‘The moments of pure joy have come very scarcely in my career, but this is one of them’: Emotional Clonan sets milestone time

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A stunning meet for Kristina Clonan as the speedster takes out the women’s 500m time trial, her second national crown of the week.

 

An emotional Kristina Clonan fought back tears of happiness in the aftermath of winning the women’s 500m time trial national championship, after breaking the 33-seconds barrier for the first time in her career.

Clonan’s gold medal-winning time of 32.985 was a championship and all-comers record on Wednesday morning and moves her closer to Anna Meares’ national record of 32.826, set at the notoriously fast Aguascalientes track in Mexico back in 2013.

The win was also the last piece of the puzzle for Clonan’s triple three-peat in the sprint, keirin and time trial, events she has dominated over the last three years.

“This means a lot, I feel like I’ve been chipping away with my coach Matt Crampton in Adelaide, and then to look up and see a time that exceeded your expectations doesn’t happen regularly in this sport, so yeah, it’s nice,” Clonan said.

“Hopefully, I just find my stride a little bit and see where we can go from that.

“I’m really happy with the coaching team and Crampo that I’m working with back in Adelaide and it’s nice when things come together and I think we are definitely on our way now.”

Clonan’s time was a 0.5-second personal best, adding another indicator to her upward trajectory in the sprint world.

The 23-year-old Queenslander said an increasingly competitive environment was part of the catalyst for her recent gains.

“It’s good now that we’ve got Alessia (McCaig) and Kalinda (Robinson) in Adelaide, and Bree Hargrave knocking on the door,” Clonan said.

“We’ve got a heap of young girls coming through pushing me to be better and I definitely owe it to them and the coaching staff and the QAS (Queensland Academy of Sport).”

Having ended #TrackNats22 on a gold medal high, Chloe Moran is very quickly putting a bumpy COVID affected start to 2022 behind her.

The South Australian ended the elite women’s #TrackNats22 racing on Wednesday night in the best way possible, defending her points race national championship to make it three national championships for herself in Brisbane, after success in the omnium and team pursuit.

It’s a huge confidence booster for the Australian Cycling Team athlete, who was elevated to Podium Ready categorisation at the end of 2021 and was ready to stamp her mark on the summer of cycling with big goals in mind before a COVID infection derailed her summer racing schedule.

“I actually missed the whole summer of cycling out with COVID and then a few heart issues, so I had to have a month off the bike recently, so I’ve been consistently building my form since then and this is sort of the first racing back since coming back from COVID,” Moran said.

“I’m just keen to build the form throughout the season.

“I’m really stoked tonight though, to defend this title is extra special.

“The points race was my first-ever individual title in under-19s I believe, so it’s an event I really enjoy and I was stoked to get that tonight.

“I’m pretty happy with the week.”

Moran and most of the #TrackNats22 competitors will now refocus on the 2022 Oceania Track Cycling Championships, which start Saturday at Anna Meares Velodrome as the next event of the Brisbane Cycling Festival.

“It’s pretty exciting to have another event coming up in a few days with the lack of racing over the past two years,” Moran said.

“To have more and more events coming up is great and I’m really looking forward to racing again over the next week.”

Victorian rising star Graeme Frislie continues to go from strength to strength on the track, winning his first omnium national championship to draw the curtain on #TrackNats22.

Frislie prevailed by 12 points over his nearest rival in James Moriarty at the end of the points race to claim a memorable green and gold jersey.

“This is probably one of the biggest wins that I’ve had so far, so it’s pretty special,” Frislie said.

“To have such a quality field here tonight and go out there and really be racing from the gun all the way to the last lap is pretty special.

“Jimmy (Moriarty) took a pretty good lap there and I was on edge going into the last sprint because he was in pretty good position, and I thought he may have been able to get it but luckily, he didn’t.”

Frislie began the omnium with assertiveness, winning the opening scratch race in the afternoon session of Day 5 before placing fifth in the tempo race.

The 21-year-old then added to his advantage at the top of the standings, winning an aggressive elimination race ahead of the deciding points race encounter.

With 48 laps to go on the board in the points race, the omnium was turned on its head when Josh Duffy crashed after overlapping wheels with Frislie in an unfortunate swing up, swing down moment.

The ensuing laps were the undoing of Duffy’s chances at a third title this week, forced to chase back on by the commissaries after rejoining the race as the bunch sped past and eventually losing a lap and 20 points.

“Josh (Duffy) is an awesome rider and he’s super quick, we saw in the scratch race how fast he is and even winning the kilo this morning – he’s a pretty special rider so to be doing that with him there is pretty cool,” Frislie said.

“Unfortunately, it went the way that it went, but that’s racing, it happens.

“I had to get back on with the job and it still wasn’t easy, the other boys were putting some pressure on.”

Hometown duo Moriarty and Liam Walsh claimed silver and bronze respectively, in what was a spirited points race team performance from the Queenslanders.

Tasmanian Josh Duffy ticked a big personal #TrackNats22 goal on Wednesday morning, winning the 1000m time trial national championship after three years of podium placings.

Duffy left it late to achieve his second national championship of the week, narrowly overtaking Queensland’s Byron Davies in the final lap split of his kilometre dash.

The young Queenslander had set a scorching benchmark of 1:00.185 in the heat before Duffy to put the pressure well and truly on the Tasmanian, however, Duffy clawed back the time splits in the final two laps to win with a time of 1:00.106.

“I’ve been chasing this one for a while, I think I’ve got a bronze and two silvers to (Thomas) Cornish so it’s a shame he couldn’t be here today to race against him, but Byron gave me a good run for my money,” he said.

“It’s just something that suits me pretty well as a faster enduro, I can get that length out with my sprint and give the sprinters a good fight, so it’s a nice little crossover for us.

“It’s also important for selections coming up so I’m pretty stoked.”

Duffy said he would jump at the opportunity to race the kilo should he be selected for the Australian Commonwealth Games team.

“For sure, it’s something I do want to do, the team pursuit is a big target for me and then I’d like to line up in some of the bunch races but I think the kilo is definitely something I’d like to do when I’m there,” Duffy said.

Eighteen-year-old Leo Zimmermann has left his mark as a name to remember in the aftermath of #TrackNats22, adding a sensational scratch race national championship to his tally following individual pursuit (IP) success the day prior.

Zimmermann brought the crowd to their feet as he launched a lethal attack with five laps to go, creating a gap and holding it narrowly to the finish line.

The moment was delirium for the South Australian, who soaked in the moment.

“The IP yesterday was emotion whereas today was just excitement – I can’t believe it, it’s crazy,” Zimmermann said.

“I saw Cam (Rogers) and Tarun (Cook) were sort of pinned up high by a line of riders at the top of the track and it was short enough range (to the finish) and I just went bang and got a gap and somehow held that gear at bay and crossed the line first.

“I couldn’t believe it, I was on a cloud – I can barely remember it, it was just insane.

“I will relive that one for a little bit.”

 

With thanks AusCycling.

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