Peloton Watch
  Claiming Rainbows - Ashlee Ankudinoff  
  March 3rd 2015 By Ashlee Ankudinoff  
  A World Champion in 2010 and after a difficult few seasons with illness and injury Ashlee Ankudinoff is back on top of the world after claiming a second rainbow jersey in the team pursuit at the 2015 Track World Championships. The team of Ankudinoff, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson and Melissa Hoskins not only claimed gold but did so in a world record time of 4mins 13.683secs. Smashing the previous mark set by Great Britain at altitude in Aguascalientes, in December 2013 by nearly three seconds.

The return has been a long time coming but for Ankudinoff it is just the start of things to come after her best season to date. A reigning World, Oceania and Australian champion is now the fifth most successful team pursuit rider in history but already has her eyes firmly set on Olympic gold in 2016.

We were heading to Paris for the 2015 Track World championships with a real purpose and hunger this year. To take it to the rest of the world with the aim to win rainbows.

We arrived in Paris a week before competition started, giving us plenty of time to adjust to the time zone, the cold and get over the jetlag that comes with our long haul flight to Paris. I was excited right from when we walked out of the airport into the fresh crisp Paris air, packing all our luggage, bike boxes into buses and trucks.

After settling in nicely and having no problems with jetlag we were well and truly into a couple of solid days training. Everyone travelled well and our training was at the level we were at when we left Adelaide, putting together some great efforts on the track. Pre race day came around very quick and the nerves started to hit.
Our last session had gone well and we were quietly confident that we could do something special come race day.

The first day of competition was team pursuit qualifying. It was time to put all our training and hard work into action. We couldn't have been better prepared and we certainly left no stone unturned throughout the last few months. We were second last to go off with the Great Britain team starting last. Canada put down a very strong time of 4.20 so we knew we had to do a PB in this round to secure that top two position.
The key was to have four girls all 100% on and that was certainly the case for this round. Everything just felt smooth and we rode as a team perfectly. Our time was 3.18 with Great Britain to come.

It was a very anxious moment watching the GB team and they came so close but we had secured top spot by just .1 of a sec. This was the first step towards that gold medal ride off. Next round was against the New Zealand team and we were heading into the second round with a 7sec buffer.

Following a good qualifying round the day before we backed that ride up with another great ride cruising to victory over the NZ team. We were into the gold medal ride against the GB team. We were the only team to finish with all four riders over the two races and that was a good sign heading into the final. We had more up our sleeves and were ready to use that.

This race will stick in my mind forever, we put together a perfect race plan and we delivered a perfect race. Not only did we win the gold medal and rainbows but we had annihilated the world record that was set at altitude by GB last year by 3secs. It was an absolute relief knowing how hard we had worked and all the sacrifices we've had to make in order for us to not only get closer to GB but to win another World title.

I'd be lying if I said it was easy and smooth sailing. It was far from it, this might sound a bit cliché but what I've learnt is that all the kick in the guts and set backs have made me stronger and I have so much support behind me pushing me to keep going.

It was a great World Championships for all the Women's Track Endurance Team, Rebecca Wiasak winning the individual pursuit, Amy Cure had a great campaign and won a silver in the scratch race and bronze in the individual pursuit and Nettie Edmondson is now a two time World Champion after winning the omnium. Nettie has had so many podium finishes in previous years in the omnium so it was great to finally see her on top. Very well deserved!

Overall it was the best World Championships I've ever been too. Wouldn't happen without the endless work and support from coaches and staff. Great trip all round.
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