It wasn't the way Sam Welsford and Kelland O'Brien expected to win the 2019 Bendigo International Madison.
A mid-race crash, which they were lucky to escape, shortened the race and cut the field from 17 teams to 11.
Despite the circumstances, Welsford and O'Brien showed why they're regarded two of the best track endurance riders in the world.
Welsford and O'Brien were tied with Godfrey Slattery and Blake Quick on 25 points when the crash occured 62 laps into the 200-lap event.
After an hour delay, the race was shortened to a further 60 laps which potentially made the champions more vulnerable.
That vulnerability was short-lived.
Welsford and O'Brien won three of the first four sprints after the resumption to blow away their rivals.
They put on a show for the crowd with some blistering sprints, none better than Welsford's effort to make up 25m in the final 200m to win the final sprint of the night.
It was a fitting finish for the world champion team pursuit riders, who love riding in Bendigo.
"This race is something special,'' O'Brien said.
"The crowd here is second to none and the fact they stayed around even though there was a massive stoppage in the middle of the night - that means the world to us.
"It's feel great to take two in a row, it's super special."
Welsford and O'Brien finished with 69 points, 36 clear of a gallant Luke Plapp and Jarrad Drizners.
Team 11 started the race as Cam Scott and Alex Porter, but Porter was forced out of the race following the crash.
He was joined by Rohan Wight in team 11 following the departure of Wight's original partner Connor Leahy.
Scott and Wight rode superbly to finish in third place on 30 points.
The crash took the wind - and skin - out of Slattery and Quick. After such a promising start they fell one lap behind in the final 60 laps.
One of the best performances of the night came from 16-year-old rookies Blake Agnoletto, from Bendigo, and Henry Dietze.
Dietze went down in the crash, but rode on as he and Agnoletto finished a credible seventh.
Fellow Bendigo rider Isaac Buckell also rode strongly and finished eighth.
Welsford and O'Brien will now set their sights on becoming just the second team in the history of the race to win three in a row.
"That would be pretty cool,'' Welsford said of the opportunity to win three in a row.
"The first winners of the Madison - Bob (Whetters) and Keith (Oliver) - are up there watching today and they are the first people to go three in a row with the same team (1972-74).
"They're really hungry for us to try to go for the three, so we will back next year."
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