Stephanie Morton scored the upset win of the Australian track cycling championships, beating Anna Meares on Saturday in the keirin final.
On the last night of competition, Shane Perkins recovered from a back injury to take out the senior men’s keirin final.
Meares had won the 500m time trial and sprint at these nationals and was going for her 32nd Australian track title.
The sprint gold medallist at the London Olympics and multiple world champion launched a long-range attack on Saturday night, but Morton caught her on the line.
Soon after the keirin final, Meares tweeted a photo of a cap she signed for Morton five years ago.
It was captioned: “Steph, maybe one day you’ll beat me”.
This is the first time Morton has beaten Meares at the nationals.
— Anna Meares (@AnnaMeares) February 1, 2014
“That’s pretty cool – she’s my idol, just the pinnacle of what an elite cyclist should be,” Morton said.
The keirin win emphasises that Morton, 23, is a rider with massive potential.
But she is under no illusions about where she stands in relation to Meares.
“Anna is the best that there is – I might get one over her; she’ll get the next 10,” Morton said.
“So I just keep chipping away. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
“Just to ride against her is awesome.”
Track legend Sir Chris Hoy was at the Adelaide SuperDrome and said Morton’s ride showed she was not intimidated by Meares.
But Meares was far from disappointed – apart from richly praising Morton, she also felt she gained a lot from the ride ahead of this month’s world championships.
“I gave her some advice after the first round,” Meares said.
“I’m wondering if it came back to bite me … a quality ride from a quality rider.
“Even though I lost the keirin, how I rode it, how I committed to the race, my decision making was all really good.
“I can’t aim to win, win, win, win – because then I don’t live up to expectation and I also lose the fun of it.”
Victorian Caitlin Ward won the bronze medal.
A few minutes after Morton’s stunning win, Perkins took out a pulsating men’s keirin final.
On Friday, he had to pull out of the sprint competition ahead of his semi-final because of a lower back injury.
“I just put my head down and went for it,” he said.
“I put the back in the back of my mind and forgot about it … I’m pretty happy.”
Fellow Victorian Jacob Schmid was second and SA’s Dan Ellis took third.
Annette Edmondson won the women’s 10km scratch race, a day after she took out the points title.
Victorian Beth Duryea was second and WA’s Isabella King won bronze.
Victoria won the under-19 men’s team sprint, despite Jay Castles crashing.
NSW rider Max Housden also crashed in the gold-medal ride.
Victorian Courtney Field won the women’s under-19 sprint.