Sam Welsford Claims Big Victory in Australian Open Noosa Criterium
Sam Welsford's remarkable year on the bike has continued with the ACA cyclist adding the men's Australian Open Criterium title to his long list of achievements.
The Commonwealth Games gold medalist stormed to the finish in an intense sprint on Saturday just ahead of Kaden Groves and Ayden Toovey to take out the coveted Noosa title.
It was a particularly special victory for Welsford, who not only debuted in the race, but earned the honours for the Sunshine Coast-based Australian Cycling Academy team.
"It was a really hard race and I had to go very early in the sprint because they were coming at me and I just held on to the finish," Welsford said.
"Those last few pedal strokes were pretty excruciating but I was pretty happy to throw my hands in the air for the local race.
"It was really awesome to get the home crowd behind the home team and that atmosphere is just insane and I loved it."
The result was yet another title to his name, after he won both the men's omnium and scratch race titles at the Oceania Track Cycling Championships last month.
Earlier in the year, Welsford was part of Australia's world-record breaking pursuit team at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and he also captured another gold there in the scratch race.
The 22-year-old said he would now shift his focus back to the track as he prepared for the third stop in the six-race UCI World Cup Series in Berlin later this month.
He relished the Noosa success and believed it was a timely boost heading into the Australian camp.
"It's a good form check, we've been training so well but we haven't really hit our big track camp phase yet leading into the world cup so I think it gives you a bit of confidence leading into the next phase that you have a good race behind you and that you're riding well," he said.
ACA also had Cameron Scott, Jono Nobles, Ashley Mackay, Amarni Drake and Alastair Mackellar riding in the race.
Earlier in the women's race, Alex Martin-Wallace also claimed third place for ACA for the second consecutive year.
Image courtesy of @ Barry Alsop, Eyes Wide Open Images