Sarah Lee makes it a double at international track cycling meeting in Melbourne
Star Hong Kong rider claims the women’s keirin final from Australian Anna Meares to add to her sprint title at the event
Hong Kong’s Sarah Lee Wai-sze made it a double at the International Track Series in Australia when the star rider won the women’s keirin final in Melbourne on Thursday.
Her latest success at the International Cycling Union category one event came just a day after she outclassed Australian Stephanie Morton in a best-of-three sprint final, and this time the victim was another Australian top sprinter, Anna Meares, a three-time keirin world champion.
“The result has justified our intensive training in building up for the Rio Games,” said coach Shen Jinkang after watching Lee’s performance.
“But we still need to fix some of the problems we have identified during the competition and this will be carried out in the final stages of our Olympic preparation in China before we set off for Rio.”
The Melbourne grand prix event, which will continue on Saturday and Sunday, is Lee’s only racing opportunity before she leaves for the Rio Games.
Both Lee and Meares reached yesterday’s final after easy wins in the first and second rounds but Lee was simply unstoppable in the six-rider gold medal race, which also included rising Australian stars Rikki Belder and Caitlin Ward, Malaysia’s Fatehah Mustapa and Shannon McCurley of Ireland.
In an exciting finish to the eight-lap race, Meares led the charge at the bell with Lee on her shoulder. Belder jostled with Meares for the lead inside the final lap, before the in-form Lee powered around the final bend to take the win. Belder claimed third.
Meares, who did not enter the sprint on the first day, was not too disappointed with her performance despite losing out to Lee.
“It was really good racing,” said the Australian two-time Olympic gold medallist. “I used the earlier rounds to try a couple of things and challenge myself. But I knew in the final I had to be more alert. [Lee] is obviously in really good form, but I am actually really pleased with [my form].”
Both Lee and Meares are widely considered medal contenders for the sprinting events at the Rio Olympics, although the Australian squad will not be announced until early next month.
Two other Hong Kong Rio-bound competitors, Leung Chun-wing and Diao Xiaojuan also competed in Melbourne. Leung captured a silver medal in the men’s omnium, recording his personal best in the 250-metre flying lap, one of the six events in the omnium, a track event like decathlon in athletics. Diao, however, had to settle for fifth in the women’s omnium.
Diao will stay with Lee in Melbourne for the second part of the Melbourne grand prix while Leung will leave for Rio on Friday to take part in an Olympic test event.