Report: 2010 UCI Track World Championships - Day 1
24th March 2010, Copenhagen, Denmark
Report: Eddie Allen | Images & Interviews: Larry Hickmott
WOMEN'S INDIVIDUAL PURSUIT
Sarah Hammer of the USA took gold in the Women's Individual Pursuit, following up on her commanding performance in qualifying with another strong ride in the final. Wendy Houvenaghel had to settle for silver (and with it GB's first medal of the Worlds), unable to touch Hammer's time of 3:28, fading towards the end to post a 3:32.
The bronze medal ride-off was a nip-and-tuck affair between Lithunia's Vilija Sereikaite and New Zealand's Alison Shanks. Sereikaite went out of the gate hot and left the Kiwi with a lot to do. However, Shanks responded and began to claw back time, looking like she was going to steal bronze from an apparently fading Sereikaite. However, the Lithuanian rider responded and did enough to cling onto the final step on the podium.
Silver for Wendy Houvenaghel on the podium with Gold medallist Sarah Hammer and Vilija Sereikaite
Talking after her medal winning ride she said "After this morning I was pleased with the performance I had delivered in qualifying and I was hoping to back it up with another strong performance this evening. I went out and rode to the best of my ability but Sarah was a little bit stronger today and come away with the Gold and I've come away with another Silver. I am pleased though with my own performance but the outcome of these things was out of my control."
1 HAMMER Sarah USA 3:28.601 GOLD
2 HOUVENAGHEL Wendy GBR 3:32.496 SILVER
3 SEREIKAITE Vilija LTU 3:32.085 BRONZE
Great Britain's Wendy Houvenaghel qualified second with a 3:30 ride to claim a place in the Gold Medal ride-off against Sarah Hammer of the USA. Alison Shanks of New Zealand will face Lithuania's Vilija Sereikaite in the ride for bronze.
Speaking after Houvenaghel's ride, former GB pursuiter Paul Manning said: "Her ride was governed by what she had to. She had seen a very fast time from Hammer and knowing she had to be top two, so it was a case of getting out and getting close to that time which she did with 17 second laps."
"We had decided to give her a 30 schedule and she brought it home and did a 30. She used her catch very well (Ausrine Trebaite) and rode it intelligently and goes into the final with good confidence. Wendy holds her pace very well and maybe Hammer won't, it could be nip and tuck. For her to have committed to the team event and come out and get a medal in the individual is great."
Photo album from the qualifying session
1 HAMMER Sarah USA 3:27.826
2 HOUVENAGHEL Wendy GBR 3:30.377
3 SHANKS Alison NZL 3:31.259
4 SEREIKAITE Vilija LTU 3:31.905
5 VAN DIJK Ellen NED 3:33.704
6 KALITOVSKA Lesya UKR 3:36.159
7 NIELSEN Jaime NZL 3:37.212
8 KOEDOODER Vera NED 3:37.466
9 WHITTEN Tara CAN 3:38.315
10 JIANG Fan CHN 3:38.519
WOMEN'S 500 METRE TIME TRAIL
Anna Meares of Australia took the first medal of the 2010 Worlds with a stunning time on 33.381, just shy of Simona Krupeckaite's world record set in Poland in 2009.
Lin of China set the early marker with a 34.803 and held the lead until Germany's Miriam Welte deposed her. However, Welte's glory didn't last long, with Olga Panarina immediately raising the game with a 33.779. Willy Kanis of the Netherlands pushed Panarina's time mighty close but finished a fraction down on 33.801. It was down to the final two riders, Meares and Krupeckaite, to challenge Panarina and the Australian World Cup winner didn't disappoint, posting a storming 33.381. World record holder Krupeckaite was close to Meares on every split but finished just outside Anna's time.
GB's Becky James and Jess Varnish were both given the opportunity to step up to the World Championship stage and put in strong performances, with James posting a creditable 35.515, while Varnish notched up a 34.992, good enough for 17th and 12th place respectively.
Speaking to Eurosport, Becki was asked if she enjoyed the experience:
"Yeah it was really good. I was a little disappointed with my time. I'd have liked to have gone out and done a PB but now I'm looking forward to the sprint."
Team-mate Jess Varnish was also asked to assess her performance:
"I'm really happy with my time today. I was just going out today to practice for my standing lap with Vicki tomorrow in the Team Sprint. That's the fastest lap I've done in the 500 before so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
1 MEARES Anna AUS 33.381
2 KRUPECKAITE Simona LTU 33.462
3 PANARINA Olga BLR 33.779
4 KANIS Willy NED 33.801
5 CLAIR Sandie FRA 33.992
6 MCCULLOCH Kaarle AUS 34.349
7 WELTE Miriam GER 34.407
8 GONG Jinjie CHN 34.538
9 GUERRA RODRIGUEZ Lisandra CUB 34.674
10 LIN Junhong CHN 34.803
MEN'S TEAM SPRINT
A bronze medal for the Great Britain trio of Ross Edgar, Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny.
It was a nail-biting ride-off for Gold between France and Germany but in the end it was the huge German trio who clinched victory, due in no small part to man-one Robert Forstermann's massive 17.2 opening effort. The French trio did begin to claw back time on the Germans, especially when German man-three Stefan Nimke began to fade, but the muscle-bound German squad had done enough to secure gold.
The GB trio of Kenny, Edgar and Hoy took heart from their performance in the bronze medal ride-off, comfortably beating the Chinese triumvirate, with new-boy Kenny posting a very encouraging 17.2 opening lap, filling the injured Jamie Staff's shoes admirably.
Chris found time to speak to Eurosport after the final and summed up the Team Sprint squad's fortunes:
"We had a few complications in the qualifier with my pedal coming off at the start line - I had to come off the track and get it fixed. The others stayed on the track in the gate... ...When you're sitting in the start position for a few minutes your legs really stiffen up which showed in the first two laps of the qualifier and put us out of the gold medal chances. But in the final we did really well, only a few hundreds behind the French, so there are positives to take away from it."
The Europsport cameras also caught up with 'new-man-one', Jason Kenny
"I've been a little bit out of my comfort zone but the last few training sessions went really well and the trials went really well. We got it together on the day in the final and did the ride we were capable of."
1 GER Germany 43.433
2 FRA France 43.453
3 GBR Great Britain 43.590
4 CHN China 44.002
The GB Trio of Kenny, Edgar and Hoy were nudged out of the Gold Medal ride by stunning qualifying rides from Germany and France, and will face China in the ride-off for the Bronze. It was a new Team Sprint lineup for GB, with Kenny replacing Staff as man one, making qualification for the final a struggle.
1 FRA France 43.373
2 GER Germany 43.458
3 GBR Great Britain 43.802
4 CHN China 44.017
MEN'S POINTS RACE
Bitter disappointment for GB's Chris Newton in the Points race, who battled valiantly for a bronze medal, after the top two positions were sewn up by the awesome Aussie Cameron Meyer and Peter Schep.
It looked like the race was done and dusted at half distance when Meyer, Schep, De Poortere and Kadlec went away. However, Newton didn't panic and the 2002 World Champ chipped away, scoring points throughout the race to drag himself into fourth place and in the hunt for bronze.
Mayer, however, was utterly dominant and had the energy to take another lap solo at 40 laps to go. The Aussie policed every move and controlled the remainder of the race from the front.
With the race heading toward its final throes the real competition was for bronze, with Kadlec and Newton prime contenders. Newton continued to score strongly and was left with a last-dash attempt to grab bronze on the final sprint. However, Newton found himself on the front a lap too early and despite completely unloading for the final 500 metres, Newton was overcome on the line and missed out on a medal by the slimmest of margins.
Full credit must go to Cameron Meyer, who was in complete control throughout and looked every inch the World Champion. Commiserations to World Cup winner Tamourdis who fell heavily early on and looked badly hurt.
Chris Newton realises the line is 20 metres too far and loses his chance of the bronze medal.
Speaking to Eurosport, a clearly emotional yet philosophical Newton summed up his race:
"I've been there a few times. It's the fourth time I've finished fourth but by one point... it's just the nature of the beast really. It was my fault, I missed the break. Instead of panicking, I thought I'd sit back a bluff and let the others chase it, and so I clawed back the points. I knew I needed two big scores at the end and I went for it on the second to last one. Then I was there with one sprint to go and all of sudden, I'd opened a gap that was probably too much of a gap to win the sprint but I need to sort out that final sprint. It was a good opening that came to me - I had the run on black but I was just too far out."
1 MEYER Cameron AUS 70 pts
2 SCHEP Peter NED 33 pts
3 KADLEC Milan CZE 27 pts
4 NEWTON Chris GBR 26 pts
5 DE POORTERE Ingmar BEL pts 24
6 RIBLON Christophe FRA 17 pts
7 PEREZ Walter Fernando ARG 13 pts
8 KLUGE Roger GER 13 pts
9 KREUTZFELDT Daniel DEN 10 pts
10 IIJIMA Makoto JPN 8 pts
Speaking to Eurosport, GB Performance Director Dave Brailsford was asked to sum up the opening day's performance:
"Terrific - and I'll tell you why. With Jamie Staff not being in man-one we were worried. It [Team Sprint] was the only Olympic event tonight so team sprint for us was a real concern. Jamie Staff has moved out of the team, whether he comes back or not - don't know, unlikely I must admit - so the real key for us was looking at man one or we'd be in serious trouble coming into 2012. For Jason to step up into man one - his fastest previously had been competitive but not world's-best-level but he stepped up there tonight and did a 17.2 which is world-class. We can work with that..."
British Cycling's Larry Hickmott caught up with all of day one's GB protagonists and asked them to sum of their fortunes. Read their quotes here.