Taylah Jennings combined for the first time with Catherine Culvenor to collect bronze in the women’s team sprint on Tuesday.
Taylah Jennings combined for the first time with Catherine Culvenor to collect bronze in the women’s team sprint on Tuesday. Allan Reinikka

Rockhampton's cycling girls continue to star on world stage

CENTRAL Queensland's Taylah Jennings and Anna Meares continue to set the track cycling world alight.

Racing's golden girl Meares and rising star Jennings made it one-two for Australia in the women's keirin final at the UCI 2014 Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill last night.

Dual Olympic gold medallist and 10-time world champion Meares produced a world-class performance to win gold in the keiran final, while Jennings claimed silver.

"You are kidding? My cup floweth over," a proud former coach of the pair Kenrick "Reggie" Tucker said last night with a laugh.

"I get a buzz out of that, I assure you. It's not easy. She's (Taylah's) had some hard times. You don't just move to Adelaide and become the leading national sprinter. She hasn't achieved that yet, but that's (last night's result) a good step.

"I'm very pleased Anna has won because she has taken on a very big commitment to train through until the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

"It's four years of very heavy training and I wish her well and I hope she succeeds. She's been at the top for a long time and in four years there's going to be a lot of people trying to beat her. And, Taylah is one."

Fellow Australian competitor Stephanie Morton started the action after the derny pulled off the track, before Meares swooped into the sprint lane to claim victory, with Jennings close behind.

Jennings' mum, Michelle, said last night she'd spoken to her daughter during a conversation with the entire family.

"We were all comparing our days in a group message and Taylah said: 'Well, I almost beat the Olympic champion tonight," proud mum Michelle said.

And, as for who of the family had the best day?

"Probably Taylah, I'd say," Michelle said with a chuckle.

Meares won the keirin at the world titles in 2011 in the Netherlands and in 2012 at Melbourne.

The gold in the keirin final complements the one Meares won in the 500m time trial on Tuesday on the opening day of the tournament, which pits Australia's top riders against New Zealand.

Jennings combined for the first time with Catherine Culvenor to collect bronze in the women's team sprint on Tuesday, while Australia's Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton won gold.

In the perfect build-up to the Oceanias, Jennings upset Olympic team sprint medallist Kaarle McCulloch in an all-Australian decider in the women's sprint at the UCI Festival of Speed event at Invercargill on the weekend.

McCulloch qualified fastest in 11.350s, and edged out Jennings in the decider but was relegated to third for not holding her line in the finishing sprint, promoting Jennings to the top spot.

Jennings continued her strong form at Invercargill, after winning three titles at the world juniors last year.



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