World bronze medal for Alex
TEENAGE Sunshine Coast cycling sensation Alex Martin-Wallace secured a bronze medal at the 2017 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Montichiari, Italy.
Alex claimed bronze in the scratch race having earlier pulled on the green and gold in team pursuit qualifying.
According to Cycling Australia, Alex was well positioned throughout the race and then unleashed her powerful turn of speed to sprint her way on to the podium with bronze.
“I’m so happy to get bronze it’s my first race on the world stage as a junior and I really went in to it just trying to get some experience, so really happy to come away with a medal,” said an excited Alex.
“The scratch race was a really good opportunity to get used to how they race over here.”
The Cycling Australia report said the opening 15 of 30 laps were raced at a fairly sedate pace before a three-rider group of Alijah Beatty (United States), Petra Sevcikova (Czech Republic) and Olha Kulynych (Ukraine) attacked quickly gaining a small advantage on the bunch. Belgium’s Shari Bossuyt bridged across and continued over the top solo, and looked to be stealing the show with the bunch unwilling to take up the chase.
With the laps counting down the bunch finally swung in to action with three laps remaining, with the field back together as the bell sounded. Martina Fidanza (Italy) was the first to open her sprint and was able to hold off the charge from Mylene De Zoete (Netherlands) with Alex completing the podium.
There wasn’t great news for Alex in the women’s madison, where she suffered a crash.
Alex and Maeve Plouffe (SA) finished a brave sixth after a heavy crash in the first third of the race after making a flying start.
After edging eventual gold medallists Italy in the opening sprint to take the early lead the Australian pair took second in sprint two to hold the equal lead with home nation.
A lap later Alex was involved in a crash with the Italian team also going down. Despite the set back both Maeve and Alex battled all the way to finish sixth.
Alex was also part of the team pursuit which featured Jade Haines (WA), Alice Culling (VIC) and Maeve. They finished fourth overall in a close battle with France having earlier set a new Australian record in the first round.
A time of 4mins 33.246secs for 16 laps of the track in round one not only earned them a ride for a medal but slashed more than three seconds off the previous best time by an Australian team. The existing record of 4mins 36.792secs was set by Jade, Kristina Clonan, Nicola MacDonald and Ruby Roseman-Gannon a year ago in Switzerland.
Italy set a new world record of 4mins 21.554 to collect gold ahead of New Zealand (4:27.610).
Alex was born and raised on Hamilton Island where she started racing triathlon.
After moving to the Sunshine Coast at the age of eight, riding around the Coast (and then eventually on the velodrome), cycling became her first love.
“Alex was always strong in criterium racing which is still her strength today, on and off the road, as well as time trials,” her mum Tess said.
“Alex is very easy going and doesn't over analyse anything, so her success has come as a surprise. But she is sensible and grounded, she eats well, sleeps well, trains hard and studies hard for Year 12. She just has to be very effective with time management.”
Alexandra Martin-Wallace won bronze in the women’s scratch race at the junior world track championships.