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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 2, 2012

Date published:
April 02, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Pendleton: Meares "likes to push the rules"

    Anna Meares beats Victoria Pendleton in the semi-final to move onto the gold medal final
    Article published:
    March 28, 2012, 2:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Rivalry heats up again before next week's world championships

    It is the track sprinting rivalry that will not go away. Victoria Pendleton fronted the media on Tuesday in Melbourne ahead of next week's UCI Track World Championships where she spoke of her on-going battle with Australian Anna Meares.

    Despite saying that she is saddened by the fact that the pair used to have an amicable relationship, so much so that they once shared "a few beers" in Stuttgart after the world championships in 2003, Pendleton also fired a broadside at the reigning sprint, keirin and team sprint world champion.

    "Anna and I are very different riders — she's someone who kind of likes to push the rules and I definitely don't," said Pendleton, who beat Meares for the sprint title at the Beijing Olympic Games.

    "But there's nothing wrong with that. It's just slightly different styles and how we approach the same event.

    "I was really annoyed when she cut me off in the keirin in 2006 because they don't re-start keirins and your chance is gone.

    "That really shocked me because she apologised for doing it afterwards, saying ‘I'm sorry I hooked you, I didn't mean it to be dangerous' and I was like 'well, okay then, I wouldn't do it, you might do it'."

    Rewind 12 months ago and Meares had the upper hand going into the 2011 worlds with two sprint wins under her belt against Pendleton. Even then, Meares was taking nothing for granted.

    "Look if Vicky lost every race between now and the Olympics she would still be the biggest threat in the field," she said bluntly. "You can not by any means lose any respect for the fight and drive that she brings to this event."

    Pendleton, 31, and Meares, 28, met most recently at the London Track World Cup where there was an epic showdown in the sprint semi final which...

  • Tough-going for Thomas as he focuses on track pursuit

    Thumbs up for the coaches as Geraint Thomas (Great Britian) rode the men's 4000m pursuit qualfying session in a super-fast time.
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 8:26 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Team GB on world record pace in training

    This time last year, Geraint Thomas was about to finish in the top 10 of the Tour of Flanders. Twelve months on, his focus is on the track as part of Team GB's pursuit squad which takes on the UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne, Australia next week, but it hasn't all been plain sailing for the Welshman.

    Team GB touched down in Melbourne earlier this week ahead of the championships and the team pursuit squad got off to a flying start. Any remnants of jet lag were blasted away when the team set a time of 0:02:42.1 over 2,750 metres at the Darebin International Sports Centre, which is on world record pace. Team GB set the current benchmark of 0:03:53.314, during the gold-medal winning ride at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

    When Cyclingnews suggested that the session was an ominous sign for any rivals, Thomas laughed quietly before providing a somewhat reserved response.

    "We just did a couple of standing efforts and we were travelling around nicely so it all looks good for a week today really," he said. "We've definitely moved on since London so that's what we've wanted to do and the plan up to the Games is on track."

    Thomas was a member of that world record-setting team in Beijing, along with Ed Clancy, Paul Manning and Bradley Wiggins. Since, there's been little time for the track with only the odd World Cup appearance and so Thomas revealed that he's found this current re-focussing of his efforts "pretty tough to be honest."

    There was a 'boot camp' last November and then preparation for the London World Cup in February, where Team GB...

  • Kovalev struck by hit-and-run driver in Australia

    The stage five podium (L-r): Ivan Kovalev (2nd,Russian National Team), Kenny Van Hummel (1st,Skil-Shimano), and Jonathan Cantwell (3rd,Fly V Australia).
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 12:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Russian preparing for track World Championships next week

    Ivan Kovalev of the Russian pursuit team was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Australia after training for the upcoming world championships. The extent of his injuries were not immediately known.

    According to a press release from his team RusVelo, Kovalev was riding back from training at the Dunc Gray Velodrome outside of Sydney, when he was hit by a fast-moving car. He flew over the car's bonnet and hit the ground hard, but the driver did not stop. 

    Emergency help arrived for the Russian within minutes. Within an hour the driver was located.

    Kovalev was taken to hospital for further examination.of head and shoulder injuries. The seriousness of his injuries is not yet clear, nor is it known whether he will be able to ride in the UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne, April 4-8.

  • One step at a time for Meares in fight to regain world titles

    A delighted Anna Meares celebrates posting the fastest time
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 22:43 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Reigning triple world champion rules out friendship with Pendleton - for now

    Embarking on a war of words with arch-rival Victoria Pendleton was never going to be Anna Meares' style, following the Brit's attack on the reigning sprint, keirin and team sprint world champion with the Australian adamant that her battles would be fought only on the track.

    Speaking at a press conference in Melbourne on Thursday afternoon, in the lead up to next week's UCI Track World Championships, Meares denied Pendleton's claim on Tuesday that she is a rider who not only "likes to push the rules," but had snubbed her friendship.

    "No, I think that's incorrect," Meares responded when asked if there was any lasting bitterness from her side. "I've always had respect for Victoria and I've always said that I've had respect for Victoria. I've never said anything on the contrary.

    "Sometimes with great rivalries you can't have a great friendship because there is so much riding on the line for those involved, that it's an uncomfortable situation to try and be able to switch off and open yourself up to that person when you do need to beat them on the track," Meares added before comparing the situation to when she had to compete against her older sister, Kerrie.

    "I think it's fair to say that all sports people push the limits, myself included," Meares suggested. "The people who judge you on that are the commissaries."

    It was an emotional afternoon for Meares as she recounted for the assembled media the significance of next week's championships. The Hisense Arena track was where Meares won her first senior world title, in the 500m time trial in 2004. Two years later at the same venue, Meares went on to win her first Commonwealth Games gold medal and broke her first Commonwealth record. The 28-year-old returns in 2012 as the only member of...

  • Australian squad finalised for track worlds

    Annette Edmondson flat out in the omnium pursuit
    Article published:
    March 30, 2012, 4:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Decision on team pursuit still to be made

    Australian selectors have confirmed the final Cyclones team to contest the 2012 UCI Track World Championships being staged at Melbourne's Hisense Arena next week.

    At the end of the training camp in Adelaide the men's track endurance squad has been trimmed by one with Queensland's Mitchell Mulhern missing out on selection.

    "All credit to Mitch for his fantastic contribution this season through the World Cup rounds and for his commitment during the training camp," said Cycling Australia National Performance Director Kevin Tabotta. "We certainly see him as a rider with a future ahead of him and a prospect for the program in coming years.

    "But a decision has now been made and five riders are in contention for a start in the line up to ride the qualifying round of the team pursuit on Wednesday afternoon."

    2011 world champions Jack Bobridge, Michael Hepburn and Rohan Dennis have been named along with teenager Alexander Edmondson who joined the trio to post the third fastest time in history to win gold at the London round of the World Cup last month. It's a double debut for the Edmondson clan with his elder sister Annette also racing in her first senior world championships.

    Reigning omnium national champion Glenn O'Shea is the fifth rider in contention for a start in the men's team pursuit.

    The men's and women's endurance riders, except for Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard who fly in next week, arrived in Melbourne today to join the sprinters who flew in yesterday from their Sydney training camp.

    Sprint group -
    Kaarle McCulloch, Anna Meares, Matthew Glaetzer, James Glasspool, Shane Perkins, Scott Sunderland

    Endurance group -
    Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure,...

  • Keirin world champion Perkins eyeing sprint success

    Shane Perkins (Australia) in sprint qualification
    Article published:
    March 30, 2012, 23:15 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian optimistic about chances in 2012

    It was hard to find a more emotional moment at last year's track world championships than Shane Perkins' victory in the keirin. The Australian heads into next week's 2012 championships knowing that he can achieve the highest success at senior level but also that expectations abound.

    The 25-year-old admits that he's had a few ups and downs since he relegated Sir Chris Hoy to a silver medal in Apeldoorn, but he's optimistic that any loose ends are coming together.

    "You always go into a race no matter how you're feeling or where your form is at trying to win and there is always a way to win, no matter what condition you're in," Perkins told Cyclingnews. "I've had a fairly good camp in the lead up over the last couple of weeks, with a couple of personal bests so I'll be looking at trying to emulate last year or at least podium in events.

    "I think it adds a little bit more flavour to the year being an Australian, the fact that you've got your world championships in your home country in the same year as the Olympics so there's obviously a little bit more expectation from outsiders looking in. This is the last test before the Olympics so we'll be going out there and seeing what the training's done and the new things that we've tried in training, seeing if they've worked and basically fine-tuning things up until the Olympics."

    Perkins moved to Adelaide to be closer to the Australian Institute of Sport staff from his preferred Melbourne base towards the end of last year in a bid to fine-tune his preparation for a big 2012 with small advantages crucial in track sprint disciplines.

    Apart from contesting the keirin and the sprint at Melbourne's Hisense Arena next week, Perkins will also compete in the team sprint, alongside Scott Sunderland and young gun, Matthew Glaetzer. Perkins will start as first man in the event,...

  • Brailsford: Track World Championships the key Olympic trials

    Dave Brailsford back in the Velodrome with the British team.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2012, 10:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Final competitive outing for Team GB next week ahead of summer Games

    Next week's Track World Championships in Melbourne are almost upon us and the eyes of the world's cycling media are set to look Down Under in the search for clues ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games this coming summer. For many nations, including Great Britain, the Worlds represent the final chance to hone their skills in a competitive environment before the big one on home soil.

    Team GB enjoyed unprecendented success at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where they won eight gold medals under the watchful eye of performance director David Brailsford. He has admitted that changes to the events for London 2012 will mean that it will be very difficult for Team GB to match that haul, but insists that the squad is in good shape and confident ahead of next week.

    "The key thing now is racing this particular championships as hard and as well as possible and then taking stock after that," he told The Guardian.

    "We'll have a lot more information in two weeks' time than we have now. The key thing will be to go to Australia, put in some good performances and then look to the final 16 weeks to put the final parts into the performances for London. It won't be the final chance [for riders to force their way into contention for Olympic selection] but it will be a significant chance. We won't pre-empt anything. We'll see where the guys are at and we'll debrief that when we get back.

    "It will be our final competitive outing before the Olympics. There's always going to be a desire to try to compete as much as...

  • Perkins with sprained wrist after colliding with car

    Shane Perkins (Australia) with his gold medal for the men's sprint.
    Article published:
    April 02, 2012, 2:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Keirin world champion considering himself "lucky"

    Reigning keirin world champion Shane Perkins was hit by a car while training in the lead up to his title defence in Melbourne later this week.

    Perkins, was lucky to escape serious injury.

    "This was no April Fools Joke either!" the 25-year-old Tweeted on Sunday. "Got cleaned up, nothing broken sprained wrist, bruising on glute! Very lucky!!"

    The event follows a near-miss where Perkins was run off the road by a truck while training at his Adelaide base.

    Last week, Perkins told Cyclingnews that he is hoping to emulate his 2011 achievements at the 2012 championships, where he'll be competing in the sprint, team sprint and keirin.

    "You always go into a race no matter how you're feeling or where your form is at trying to win and there is always a way to win, no matter what condition you're in," Perkins said.

    The 2012 UCI Track World Championships begin Wednesday in Melbourne, Australia.