Anna Meares claims record 11th world title
Australian Anna Meares set a new record haul of gold medals by winning the women`s keirin title at the World Track Cycling Championships on Sunday.
The 31-year-old won her 11th gold to take her clear of the women`s mark she previously shared with Frenchwoman Felicia Ballanger.
"I had a dream before the Paris worlds were announced that the world titles were in France, that I got to win my 11th world title, and that I got to meet Felicia Ballanger," said Meares.
"Two of those have happened -- I still haven`t met the great woman but there`s still time."
It was also the Olympic sprint champion`s 25th world championship medal in total.
Coach Gary Sutton said she was an example to all in the sport.
"What an absolute gem! She`s been an absolute role model for our girls and a role model for the sport to be honest with you. And certainly one of the greats," he said.
Meares said winning a record 11th crown topped even her two Olympic titles.
"Today`s number one," she beamed after shedding tears on the podium.
She said it even made up for her disappointments earlier in the week when she was beaten to gold in the 500m timetrial by Russia`s Anastasia Voynova and then lost to Britain`s Jessica Varnish in the sprint eighth-finals.
"I was really disappointed after the sprint two days ago, I wasn`t sure how I was going to fare today (Sunday)," admitted Meares.
"All my teammates rallied behind me, gave me some chocolate, made me feel better and let me have some fun today.
"Fun turned out to be sharp execution of races and in the right position all the time. And I made the most of my opportunities."
Shanne Braspennincx of the Netherlands took the silver ahead of Cuba`s Lisandra Guerra in third.
But there was heartbreak for Meares`s Aussie teammate Stephanie Morton, who was disqualified after suffering a puncture.
In keirin rules a rider can rejoin the race if they suffer a mechanical problem within the first half lap -- Morton`s came 40 yards beyond that.
"I do feel terrible for Steph, I`ve never seen that before," said Meares.
"It`s so unfortunate, it`s out of her control. She`s in such good form. For us to go one and two in our semi-final and her to miss out on an opportunity to race in the final for that. I`m so sorry for her."