Laura Trott wins omnium gold medal at World Championships 2012

Laura Trott wins omnium gold medal at World Championships 2012

Laura Trott has won the Track Cycling World Championships omnium to take Great Britain's fifth gold medal of the final event before the London Olympics.

Trott held a two-point lead over Australia's Annette Edmondson entering the last of the event's six disciplines, the 500 metres time-trial, at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne.
                           Laura Trott (centre) on the podium with her omnium gold medal

The Briton and Edmondson were head to head on the track in the final heat of the two-lap race and Trott finished first in 35.173 seconds to earn overall victory by three points.

One of the biggest potential stars of the London Olympics has broken cover in the grand manner here in the past two days. Laura Trott is an unmissable personality, a steely-nerved, effervescent pocket rocket from Hertfordshire, still only 19 years old, who wears union flag nail varnish, has an eye for a gap to match that of Mark Cavendish, and is continually asked whether she has vomited before or after competing.

Having driven the team pursuit trio to gold and a brace of world records on Thursday, Laura Trott clinched her second gold medal in three days here in the women's omnium in impressive style, and will – as of this moment – be the only Briton with a nailed-on chance of a brace of cycling golds this August. She is already a key player in the team, thanks to her indomitable attitude. "She's a great personality and that works to the benefit of the squad," says her coach Paul Manning. "It's infectious, it's a fun place to be and it makes it easier to put the hard work in front of them. With Laura around having sore legs is more fun."

There has been much discussion over the merits of the omnium, a new event in the Olympic schedule which combines endurance, sprint and solo disciplines for an overall classification. It has replaced a raft of older, more established events such as the individual pursuit and points race, but it does at least have a narrative over its two days, and it is growing as a spectacle as riders adapt to its varied demands. Most tellingly in British terms, the omnium is used as a development and talent identification event on the UK circuit, so that young aspiring riders become used to its demands.

Less than 24 hours after her team pursuit triumph on Thursday, Trott was back at the velodrome to start the omnium. By the end of Friday, she was leading, having won the flying 200m time trial, finished eighth in the points race – a dramatic improvement on the 17th that cost her a gold medal in the Olympic test event at the "Pringle" – and closed with victory in her signature event, the elimination, also known as "devil take the hindmost".

This discipline is a staple at local track leagues and involves the elimination of the last contestant every other lap. It calls for perfect delicate calculation of how much power to expend before a brutal final phase, the speed to surge from the back, while the ability to position oneself in the bunch and avoid being trapped at the back is critical. It should be a colossal crowd-pleaser in London and it is Trott's personal party piece. Somehow, she can find gaps where none seem to exist, somehow she finds the speed to zip up the back of the group.

Trott has been riding on a banked velodrome since she was taken to the Newport velodrome at "10 or 11", which has clearly helped build her skill, but her attitude is probably key. "You just have to be gutsy really, too many girls pussyfoot around and don't get stuck in enough. If there's a gap, why not take it? I'm only small and it's do or die in the elimination race – I mean what's going to happen is you're going to get eliminated and that's the race, isn't it? So you might as well try to get through a gap."

Overnight, she suffered with nerves, worrying about how she might contrive to lose, and she was already up and about when the drug testers made an early morning call. Day two saw her push ahead of her closest rival, the Australian Annette Edmondson, level overnight, with third in the individual pursuit to Edmondson's fourth.

The vomiting attack, caused by high stomach acid levels, which she finds goes with the hardest race efforts came here – and the pair then watched each other like hawks in the scratch race. By that time, it was a personal battle between the two, so their placings mattered less than the fact that Trott crossed the line one place ahead. Victory in the 500m time trial, with Edmondson second, sealed it.

Thanks to the natural maturing process and close attention to the bunched events – mainly through video sessions with Manning – Trott is improving at a dramatic rate, from 11th at last year's world championship to gold medallist at the European championship last autumn, and third place at the Olympic test event at the London velodrome. "By the time London comes around she will take some beating," said the head coach, Shane Sutton.

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