Australian cyclist Jack Bobridge has faded in the final kilometre to fall just short of winning gold in the 4000m individual pursuit at the world championships in Paris.
The world record holder, who set the fastest time in qualifying, was upset on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEDT) by Switzerland’s Stefan Kueng who posted a winning time of 4 minutes 18.915 seconds.
Bobridge’s silver-medal winning ride of 4:19.184 was almost three seconds slower than the 4:16.219 he set in qualifying.
France’s Julien Morice (4:21.419) took bronze over Russian Alexander Serov (4:21.801).
Earlier, South Australian Alex Edmondson missed out on the chance to defend his world title after managing only the eighth fastest qualifying time of 4:23.272.
Teammate Miles Scotson was just behind him in ninth (4:23.480).
Bobridge, who won bronze in the team pursuit earlier in the week along with Edmondson, Scotson and Luke Davison, is making a return to the track ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after a few lean years on the road.
The 25-year-old’s last appearance at a world championships was in Melbourne in 2012 where he claimed silver in the individual and team pursuits.
He won the individual title in 2011 less than two months after setting the world record of 4:10.534 in Sydney.
Bobridge was ahead of Kueng – who won silver in 2014 – by 3.4 seconds after 1km, 3.1 seconds after 2km and 1.5 seconds after 3km before being beaten on the line by a quarter of a second.
But he had no regrets about going out so hard.
“I won’t come out here and stuff around and try and ride and match someone,” the 25-year-old told AAP.
“I love racing 100 per cent and that’s what I did.
“I went out full throttle and it didn’t pay off, but I’ve done it a lot of times before and it has paid off. I’m a racer and I guess I always will be.”
Bobridge said he wasn’t riding to a schedule.
“I found a strength of mine obviously in the first kilometre compared to him, and full credit to him, he kept his cool and didn’t budge,” the world record holder said.
“In the end of the day he rode a smarter race and it paid off for him.”
Australian coach Tim Decker was slightly disappointed with silver but insisted he had no regrets.
“We knew what Stefan’s strengths were and I think if Jack had just ridden to a slower schedule and given Stefan even more of a sniff it would have been an easier victory,” Decker told AAP.
“At the end of the day were training for the team pursuit at the Rio Olympics. There’s a lot of experimenting going on.”
Decker explained he’d had Bobridge on a 4:15.5 schedule in the final – the same as in qualifying.
“(But) I said you’ve got to make a choice about whether you’re going to go above that schedule early on and … that’s Jack Bobridge isn’t it.”
The coach also revealed a head cold had swept through the endurance squad hitting everyone except Glenn O’Shea who won omnium silver on Saturday.
“If he (Bobridge) was 100 per cent and things were going fine I have no reason to think he wouldn’t have backed up really well (after qualifying fastest).”