Winning Return for Sir Chris Hoy
August 10, 2009
Four time Olympic Champion, Chris Hoy has returned to the racing arena with a dominant victory in France which was very much reminiscent of his victories prior to his heavy fall at the Track Cycling World Cup (Copenhagen) last winter. The victory was made all the sweeter with his teammate Jason Kenny alongside him on the podium for an event that took place in a country noted for its strength in track sprinting.
After a long session of sprinting, four time Olympic champion Chris Hoy proved to himself and the World that his fitness and speed is getting back to its best by winning the Fenioux Trophy ahead of French hero Kevin Sireau and British Olympic champion Jason Kenny.
The event was the Fenioux Trophy on the outdoor track at Hyères and to win, Hoy had to race some of the best sprinters in the world over three events, a flying 200 metre Time Trial, Sprint and then Keirin. A sign of Hoy’s great form came in the flying 200 metres where he beat Jason Kenny who has just returned from the European Championships. Not only that, the Scottish Knight was more than two tenths faster than the World Record holder Kevin Sireau of France.
Prior to Sireau and Hoy meeting in the Sprint final, there was an all British minor final between David Daniel (3rd) and Jason Kenny (4th). Daniel had already taken the formidable scalp of Bourgain in the quarters before losing to Hoy in the semi final and then beating his British rival Kenny in the final making it a memorable day for the Middlesbrough rider.
Next was the major final where Hoy, riding in Sky +HD colours came up against Sireau. In a winner takes all ride-off, Chris lined up on the inside of Sireau and both riders were kept on the line for a good while whilst the introductions to the crowd were made.
Having drawn the inside of the track, Chris lead off watching his French opponent and was so relaxed he took the time to clean a tyre as they rolled round on the first lap. Into the second lap, Hoy got out of the saddle while still rolling around the black line and then soon started to raise the pace as he took Sireau up the track. As the World Record holder Sireau started to make his move down the back straight, Hoy seemed to be on the back foot as Sireau continued to hold his position high up the track.
As they got the bell, Sireau was still high on the banking while Hoy was further down the track on the blue line and both were now sprinting out of the saddle for all they were worth with Hoy unable to match Sireau’s speed as the Frenchman got to the front position first as they crossed the finish line with a lap to go.
With both riders having dropped to the black line now and giving it full gas around the big board track, Sireau lead Hoy by many lengths and try as he may, Chris was unable to close the gap and Sireau won the race to the line comfortably which was to be expected when you took into account their respective racing programmes leading up to the event.
Having lost the final of the Sprint, it was one all in the best of three events and the final one of the afternoon was the Keirin for which Hoy was the Olympic champion. After having won his heat, Chris Hoy went straight through into the final and it was certainly a quality final with the Olympic champion (Hoy) and the World Champion (Maxmilian Levy of Germany) along with Jason Kenny, Sireau, Mickaël Bourgain and François Pervis.
Hoy and Kenny lined up alongside each other in the middle of the track and then one-by-one the competitors were introduced with the longest intro being reserved for Chris Hoy. As the motorbike made its way round the long track towards the riders, the gun fired and and it was Hoy who got off the line the quickest and was soon tucking into the back wheel of the motorbike with Levy in third and Kenny on his wheel.
As ever, the early laps were pretty much incident free as the speed of the motorbike got ever quicker and into the closing laps, with Sireau at the back of the string, Chris started to let the motorbike go before putting the power down and chasing the motorbike as it got ready to leave the track.
With Hoy now up to speed, a gap was opening up behind him as Pervis was watching Levy behind him. Whilst Hoy got to the motorbike just as it pulled off, the gap behind him continued to open up ever wider and with two laps to go, Hoy still had a good lead.
With one and half laps to go, Hoy was now starting to open it right up at the front of the race whilst Sireau started his chase down the back straight with a 40 metre gap to the Olympic Champion out front. With the bell sounding and only a lap to go now for Chris, the gap to the leader had halved but Hoy still had far too much of a lead for his rivals to close down and they were still a good five metres adrift as the Scotsman took the victory ahead of Francois Pervis, Kevin Sireau and Levy.
Talking afterwards, Chris explained "It's my first proper sprint racing since Beijing and I didn't expect to win at all. I went into the race not wanting to judge myself against the others, because Sireau has broken the World record and is sharp after racing all summer. I however was a bit rusty in the Sprint final against him, but I would expect that. The Keirin final was as strong on paper as any World championship final, but I went to the front and nailed it, and that felt really good.”
"I was a bit apprehensive before it, not because of the crash or the fear of that happening again, but just because I haven't raced for so long. I've been training hard, but that's completely different to racing. So I was asking myself a lot of questions, but I'm pretty chuffed to have won."
National Sprint coach Iain Dyer who was looking after the British riders in Hyres, explained that "it was a really good performance by Chris on a physical level. It was a very hot day and they had as many as eight rides in four hours and so there was only ten minute breaks in between some of the rides during the session. It was a very good test for form and fitness and Chris came through that with flying colours. He was happy to have started racing again after six months and he can now move forward to the coming events later this year.”
1. Chris Hoy (Sky +HD) 10.130
2. Jason Kenny (Great Britain) 10.277
3. Kevin Sireau (Cofidis) 10.385
4. Mickael Bourgain (Cofidis) 10.398
5. David Daniell (Great Britain) 10.414
6. Francois Pervis (Cofidis) 10.516
9. Maximilian Levy (Germany) 10.573
1. Kevin Sireau
2. Chris Hoy
3. David Daniell
4. Jason Kenny
5. Quentin Lafargue
6. Mickael Bourgain
1. Chris Hoy
2. Francois Pervis
3. Kevin Sireau
4. Maximilian Levy
5. Mickael Bourgain
6. Jason Kenny
7. Quentin Lafargue
8. Qi Tang
9. Cedric Clair
10. David Daniell