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Australia’s Meares sets sprint world record

Meares reacts after breaking a world record at the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne April 5, 2012. — Reuters picMeares reacts after breaking a world record at the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne April 5, 2012. — Reuters picMELBOURNE, April 5 — Australia’s Anna Meares threw down the gauntlet to her rivals by setting a world record in the first round of qualifying for the women’s sprint at the track world championships in Melbourne today.

The reigning world champion’s time of 10.782 seconds in the 200 metres time trial round eclipsed the 10.793 mark set by Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania in Moscow in 2010.

Meares, who was disappointed to lose the gold medal race in the women’s team sprint on Wednesday’s opening day, was the last rider in the session and was roared to the line by a small but noisy crowd at Hisense Arena.

“We really didn’t expect to see that,” Cycling Australia’s national performance director Kevin Tabotta told Reuters.

“It just shows she’s in the form of her life at the moment ... She should be confident leading into the knock-out rounds, but it’s all about maintaining that level for the rest of the journey.”

No other rider broke 11 seconds, China’s Guo Shuang being the next fastest with a time of 11.004.

The riders subsequently compete in head-to-head rounds with the gold medal decider set for Friday.

The 28-year-old Meares, who won a time-trial gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics and took silver in the sprint at Beijing, is bidding for her ninth world title. — Reuters

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