The Australian Cycling Team have won UCI Tissot Nations Cup gold in the men’s team pursuit on the opening night of racing in Milton, Canada, defeating Italy in the gold medal final.
The quartet of Josh Duffy, Conor Leahy, James Moriarty and Graeme Frislie applied the pressure to their opponents in the final kilometre of the 4000m team pursuit, catching the Italians on the second to last lap after a powerful one-two surge from Leahy and Moriarty.
“We stuck to a plan and we knew that it was going to be a really tight race with Italy so all we had to do was ride to our schedule, and if we did perfectly it would work out and we would get the victory,” Leahy said.
“It was a slog, a real battle back and forth.
“To come out on top is just awesome, we are so happy with this result.
“We’ve put a lot of work and to get this result is amazing.
“[It means] really, really big things – we work really hard as a team and we all live really close to each other and train together every day so to get the gold medal together is excellent.”
The win was an extra special moment for Australian Cycling Team newcomers Moriarty and Frislie, who are both racing in the green and gold for the first time overseas at the elite level.
“It was super special to win on debut, a pretty rare experience,” Moriarty said.
“We took a lot of confidence from our Oceania win and the times in the first Track Nations Cup in Glasgow … and obviously Australia has a rich history in the team pursuit, so it was special to continue that with a new squad.
“We’ve been training together since the start of last year, waiting for a race day, so we know how to draw the best out of each other.
“That definitely made the difference today, as it was a bit unknown heading into three rounds in an international field.
“At the end of the day it’s about lining up and backing each other in every ride. It’s a great start for us and we’ll keep chasing it heading forwards.”
The Australian Cycling Team women’s team pursuit squad claimed a silver medal earlier in the evening versus Italy, finishing with a time of 4:21.126.
The result capped off a determined night for the team pursuit squad of Maeve Plouffe, Amber Pate, Chloe Moran, Alyssa Polites and Sophie Edwards, who qualified fourth and knocked out the faster qualifying Canadians in the first round to reach the gold medal final.
The silver medal marks a changing of the guard moment for the Australian Cycling Team women’s endurance program, with young talents Pate, Moran and Polites all untested at this level before today.
“Felt quite proud to be debuting in the national kit with the girls today in the team pursuit,” Polites said.
“To come away with some bling made it even more a memorable and rewarding experience.
“I wouldn’t change a thing [about the final], I feel that as a team we were adaptable and managed to execute our roles well overall. Everyone gave 110 per cent and in the end the Italians were the better team on the day.
“Glenn [O’Shea] and the girls have been super supportive, patient and understanding of me, which has made the step up from juniors to seniors lesser of a jump than I was expecting.
“To be able to trust that each one of us has each other’s back is crucial and that really did show today.”