Anna Meares was nursing a corked thigh on Wednesday night after a rear-wheel slip nearly derailed her gold medal ride at the Australian track cycling championships.
The 30-year-old queen of world track cycling won her 30th Australian track title in dramatic circumstances on day one of the nationals at Adelaide’s SuperDrome.
Despite her rear wheel slipping at the start, the SA rider clocked 34.682 seconds and easily beat the 35.263 from silver medallist Caitlin Ward (Victoria).
Meares briefly stalled because of the slipped wheel and did well to stay upright before winning her sixth Australian 500 title.
After the ride she was icing her right quad, which banged against the handlebars because of the start incident.
But Meares laughed off the injury and said it would not affect her for the rest of the nationals.
She is also the strong favourite to win the sprint and keirin at these championships.
“It’s nothing worse than my siblings gave me growing up,” Meares said.
“I haven’t had a ‘corky’ before, so it’s a new one for me.”
But Meares admitted to disappointment at the slow time.
Meares kept riding because she was unsure whether the judges would give her a restart.
Early last month, Meares broke her own world record for the 500, becoming the first woman to go under 33 seconds.
She wanted a time in the 33s on Wednesday to take the championships record from injured national teammate Kaarle McCulloch.
“I wanted this one because it’s No.30,” she said.
“I really wanted to make it a cracker and I’m disappointed that’s it’s not quite as good.
“She (McCulloch) will be supportive and offered her condolences.
“But … she’ll be smiling that she’s still got the record.”
ACT rider Catherine Culvenor won the bronze medal.
Also on Wednesday, Alex Edmondson set personal bests in qualifying and then the final to win the men’s senior 4000m individual pursuit title for the first time.
The SA rider clocked four minutes 20.340 seconds in the final to beat Victorian Alex Morgan by more than three seconds, with NSW rider Ben Harvey winning bronze.
Earlier on day one, SA’s Matthew Glaetzer broke a five-year Australian championships record when he took out the senior 1km time trial in a minute 1.175 seconds.
Shane Perkins had the old mark of 1:01.736.
Scott Law (NSW) was second and WA’s Scott Sunderland third.
SA pair Stephanie Morton and Rikki Belder won the women’s team sprint.