PRSC Track Riders Smash World Record to claim World Championship in the team pursuit
  • Friday 01 March 2019
ImageThe Australian track team pursuit squad has won the world title in a world record time at the Track Cycling World Championship in Pruszkow, Poland early today.

The quartet, comprised of Pro Racing Sunshine Coast (PRSC) riders Sam Welsford, Leigh Howard, Kelland O’Brien and Alex Porter, have beaten their own world record by an astonishing 1.8 seconds, to beat the second placed British team. 

A fifth member and PRSC rider, Cameron Scott, rode the first qualifying round with the team before being subbed out for Alex Porter in the final. All five received Gold medals and Rainbow jerseys.

The Australians were never challenged in the 4km race and clocked the fastest times in each of the four laps to finish in 3:48:01, 2.5 seconds ahead of their second placed rivals. 

Welsford, 23, stunned to also claim Gold in the Scratch race just 30 minutes later, making him a dual World Champion in one day. 

PRSC director, Ben Kersten, said he is blown away by the success of the young squad. 

“It’s a phenomenal ride. To see a team ride that time is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime. 

“I was there at the Sydney Olympics when the German team broke the 4-minute barrier in the team pursuit, and that was just incredible at the time. Today’s World Record time from this team would have lapped that German team, and these guys are all mostly about 22 years old. To say it’s unbelievable is not an overstatement.

“We just take our hats off to the Cycling Australia High Performance unit. So much goes into this and all cudos to them for achieving this. 

“The 5 riders in team who are also in our Pro Racing Sunshine Coast team are now the best in history and they’ve proven that beyond doubt today. This ride has really put those riders and Cycling Australia, plus PRSC and the Sunshine Coast, on the map at the very top of international cycling,” Ben said.

These are the first World Championship wins for the Sunshine Coast based development team. 

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson congratulated the team on their outstanding achievement.

“A gold medal win for local cyclists Leigh, Sam, Kelland and Alex is a wonderful result,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Training regularly with the Australian Cycling Academy based here on our Sunshine Coast, proves the region has the facilities to support world-champion athletes.

“Sunshine Coast Council and a range of industry partners continue to provide world-class training facilities and programs, ensuring that our region is the destination of choice for high performance sports training.

“Smashing a world record is a remarkable achievement for any sportsperson – we are very proud of their achievement at the Track Cycling World Championships.”

The same squad were World Champions in the same event in 2017 when they first came to the PRSC team, however chose not to defend their title at last year’s Worlds to instead focus on the Commonwealth Games. 



About the Australian Cycling Academy (ACA): 

The Australian Cycling Academy is a cycling development program and UCI Continental Professional team under the auspices of Pro Racing Sunshine Coast which is the region’s only international sports team. 

Founded in December 2017 by former professional cyclists Ben Kersten and Matt Wilson, the program Integrates high-performance, tertiary study and professional mentoring, from a single hub at the University of the Sunshine Coast and supported by principle partner the Sunshine Coast Council. 

In line with the ACA’s ‘Live, Learn, Ride’ philosophy, 11 of the team’s 16 athletes are also undertaking tertiary studies under the guidance of the ACA. The remaining 5 not at University are part of the Australian Institute of Sport High Performance program. 

The ACA is fully committed to supporting the local community and its key economic drivers including tourism while also operating full-service training camps, online coaching and a school education initiative.