Aussie girls on track for golden haul in Rio
THE 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro can't come quickly enough for Australia's female track cyclists after a dominant performance at the world championships in Paris.
Australia finished on top of the medal tally at the event with 11 medals - four gold, four silver and three bronze.
The quartet of golds were all won by our women riders, Anna Meares putting the icing on the cake by claiming her 11th world championship title in the keirin, more than French great Felicia Ballanger who was in the crowd.
The other winners were Annette Edmondson in the omnium, debutant Rebecca Wisiak in the 300m individual pursuit and the team of Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure, Edmondson and Melissa Hoskins, who set a world record in the team pursuit.
In what were the most successful championships since hosting the titles in Melbourne in 2012, Australia finished four medals clear of both France and Germany.
Cycling Australia high performance director Kevin Tabotta said it was another big step forward towards Rio.
"We have been rebuilding since London (the 2012 Olympics), and each year we have progressively edged toward the top of the podium in a number of endurance and sprint events," Tabotta said.
"We introduced some changes into that program after the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, which has helped our coaches and athletes obtain the shift that was needed.
"We will keep working that way across the whole team as we head to Rio."
Meares (pictured), who revealed she had dreamed last year of winning a record-breaking 11th world title in 2015 in Paris, even before the venue was announced, said she couldn't even remember what happened in the keirin, but was very proud.
"Honestly, I don't remember the final. I honestly can't tell you what I did, but I won," the 31-year-old said.
"I worked hard, I fought hard, and I earned it and I am really proud of myself."
Edmondson was also thrilled to win her second gold of the meet in the six-event omnium, while Wisiak was still pinching herself after taking out the individual pursuit.
The 30-year-old from Canberra, Australia's oldest debutant at a track world championship, is a former basketballer, triathlete and runner who only took up cycling in 2010.
"I'm a late-starter. It's my first world championships. I've never even won a national title, so I kind of skipped a step there," Wisiak said.
- APN SPORTS BUREAU