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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, April 7, 2012

Date published:
April 07, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • NZ young guns ready for sprint challenge at track worlds

    Sam Webster in action on his way to victory in the men’s sprint.
    Article published:
    April 03, 2012, 3:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Men's team sprint aiming to go home with a medal

    No longer considered the new boys on the block, the youthful sprint cyclists aim to get New Zealand's campaign off on an emphatic note at the UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne on Wednesday.

    With an average age of just 22 years, the burgeoning men's sprint programme will be in action in the team sprint at the Hisense Arena.

    BikeNZ Sprint Coach Justin Grace has opted for the same combination that finished sixth at last year's world championships for the team sprint in Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins.

    The New Zealand team will take on the might of Great Britain, France and hosts Australia, who have riders in their prime on the other side of 30 years, but Grace believes they are far from overawed to tackle the likes of triple Beijing gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy.

    "They definitely belong and they know it. The training times they have done; the racing they have done - they know they are standing there as equals among their peers."

    There has been a selection dilemma with national kilo time trial record holder Simon van Velthooven and Matt Archibald both pushing hard for inclusion.

    "We drew up a bunch of selection criteria and tests for the blokes to do and we ended up having to run their twice to be sure of what we are getting," Grace said.

    "At the moment we could run any combination of the five guys and ride times that would be within 0.3 of a second of one another."

    Mitchell, 21, has become world class in the role as starter, with 2009 triple world junior gold medallist Webster coming back into top form in recent weeks. Dawkins, who gave way to van Velthooven in the number three slot, has regained his best form to earn a recall.

    They were fifth in their world championship debut in 2010 in 44.450 before lowering this to 44.118 in winning the World Cup in Cali later...

  • Sir Chris Hoy excited by addition of Hindes to Team GB ranks

    Chris Hoy modelling the Team GB cycling kit for the London 2012 Olympics
    Article published:
    April 04, 2012, 11:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Young German-born rider could force his way into Olympic plans

    There's a new kid on the block in Team GB colours at this year's Track World Championships, which started earlier today in Melbourne, Australia. And the team's totem, Sir Chris Hoy, has stated that his presence could make a real difference to their prospects of gold in the three-man sprint both here and in the 2012 Olympic Games this summer.

    German-born Philip Hindes raced for the county of his birth as a youngster, but has elected to represent Great Britain at senior level after meeting eligibility criterea becuase of his English father. Hoy has been impressed with what he has seen of the 19-year-old and feels that he could prove to be the missing link at the head of the three-man sprint team.

    Inconsistent leadout performances by the likes of Ross Edgar and Matt Crampton have meant that Team GB have been vulnerable in the last couple of years since the retirement of Jamie Staff, who, together with Hoy and Jason Kenny, won gold in the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Despite his tender years, Hoy feels that Hindes is improving at a rate of knots and could yet force his way into team boss David Brailsford's plans for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

    "Philip's improving at a rapid rate and if he performs well he could be in the running for the Olympics," Hoy told BBC Sport.

    "If [Philip can give us] a good start then with Jason being one of the fastest guys in the world over the second lap, and myself for the third lap, there's a good chance we could challenge for the gold medal. Philip's strength is his acceleration - his start is really fast. He's still off the pace of the best guys in the world, say the times of Jamie Staff at the last Olympics or...

  • Disappointment for Hoy and Pendleton at Track Worlds

    GB¹s Jess Varnish leads Vicky Pendleton in the team sprint
    Article published:
    April 04, 2012, 18:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Team GB stars miss out on medals on mixed day Down Under

    It was a topsy-turvy opening day for Team GB at the 2012 Track World Championships in Melbourne, with joy at gold and a new world record for the men's pursuit team and Ben Swift's gold in the men's scratch race tempered by disappointment elsewhere. Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, arguably the team's two biggest stars, came away empty-handed in the men's and women's team sprints on a day of drama.

    Hoy, Jason Kenny and debutant Philip Hindes were set to compete in the bronze medal race but were relegated for an infringement of the rules relating to illegal changes between riders. Close inspection of the video footage suggested that 19-year-old Hindes was culpable, but despite his disappointment Hoy was keen to defend the youngster.

    "We looked at the video and we've got nothing to argue about, it was a very small mistake by Phil," Hoy told BBC Sport.

    "He's disappointed but he shouldn't feel the responsibility - experienced teams like the Germans have been relegated as well. It shouldn't happen but we've won and lost championships by thousandths of a second. If you get it slightly wrong then you're out and that's what happened tonight.

    "Having said that, that's the first time in 16 years of competing that I've been in a team that's been relegated. This will all be forgotten if it goes well in London, but this is still a world...

  • No North Americans in Olympic team sprint

    The Canadians power out of the block in the team sprint.
    Article published:
    April 04, 2012, 23:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Canada, USA miss out, Venezuela qualifies 5 for London

    Neither the USA nor Canada were able to secure a place in the London Summer Olympic Games for their men's or women's team sprint squads at the UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne, Australia yesterday.

    Canada's men finished 11th, shy of the points it needed to surpass Venezuela in the race for one of the 10 places awarded for the three-man teams in London. The Venezuelans finished 8th to secure a birth.

    Travis Smith teamed up with Joseph Veloce and Hugo Barrette in a new team combination for Canada, and was disappointed with his own performance but hopeful for the future. "We were planning to come here and get a top 10. I felt like I had a pretty bad last lap," said Smith. "This year we were dealing with a lot of new guys, and I had an injury in August where I was in the Intensive Care Unit for a week. The race here wasn't horrible. We have room to improve."

    The United States fared even worse, while their time was just shy of beating Venezuela, Michael Blatchford, Kevin Mansker and Jimmy Watkins were relegated for exchanging outside the specified zone, as were Germany and Great Britain.

    "At the end of the day, I was proud of the way we came into this," USA Cycling Director of Sprint Jamie Staff said. "The guys' times were on par with what I was hoping. It's disappointing to be disqualified. I'm proud of what the lads have done in such a short time. They've come on in leaps and bounds mentally, physically, emotionally, everything. We gave it our best shot. As long you've tried your hardest and done everything you can, you can walk out of the arena with your head held high."

    Meanwhile, Venezuela added five members...

  • Pendleton wins sixth world sprint title after rollercoaster semi with Meares

    Meares and Pendleton battle it out in the semis.
    Article published:
    April 06, 2012, 18:15 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    London Olympic re-match set to thrill

    Just as the thunder rolled around outside the Hisense Arena in the thick Melbourne air, the rivalry between Anna Meares and Victoria Pendleton reached fever pitch on Friday evening with the pair clashing in the semi finals of the women's sprint of the 2012 UCI Track World Championships.

    Despite Meares' pleas to the contrary, both the crowd and the media highly anticipated the showdown between the Australian defending champion in the event, and the reigning Olympic champion. This was the battle of the 2012 world championships.

    In the end, Pendleton walked away with her sixth world title in the sprint, her first being in 2005, after defeating Simona Krupeckaite in the final and just like in the semi, it was far from satisfactory for much the same reason.

    Relegation was the buzz word of the night with fast times on the track, and extremely close competition forcing riders to push themselves that little bit further than usual and deviate outside the sprinting line in the process of both the men's and women's competitions.

    "It's a bit disappointing," Pendleton conceded. "I mean, I'm delighted, but it's nice to win by crossing the line first... It's a shame in some respect, but they're the rules."

    But such decisions have ramifications, as both Meares and Pendleton explained.

    Pendleton said that she had been embarrassed to fall in the opening heat.

    "We were both pushing ourselves to the limit," she said. "With Anna's qualifying time being so exceptional yesterday I had to race a...

  • London Olympics to be Boardman's last with British Cycling

    London Mayor Ken Livingstone (L), British cyclist Chris Boardman (C) and Christian Prudhomme
    Article published:
    April 06, 2012, 22:40 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    'The Professor' talks the importance marginal gains

    The pit areas of several teams are enveloped in an almost secretive atmosphere at the UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne. The Olympic Games are now only months away and the stakes are high. Chris Boardman today announced that he will no longer work with British Cycling, as he has done since the Athens Olympics. He was responsible in part for Team GB's great leap forward in competition, but said leaving was not an easy decision to make.

    There are other elements to life that Boardman feels deserve his attention – his six children, his business, scuba diving. Cycling he says, "sucks up your entire life" and it's now time to do other things.

    "I wouldn't be doing them [British Cycling] justice if I stayed because it needs your heart and soul and I've found it tough to keep that commitment from Beijing to now," Boardman told Cyclingnews. "But once I started on that next cycle I had to sort of see it through really.

    "I've told Dave [Brailsford] and I've told our chief executive Drake, it's just that you can't live on the front line. And I've been on the front line for nine years and then 15 years as a rider.

    "I'm going to miss it because I'm quite emotionally attached," he admits. "I don't think the athletes always see it but you feel a real responsibility to make that our performance is matching the amount that they're putting in, and this is their career."

    Boardman was given a mandate by British Cycling Performance Director Dave Brailsford after the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 to go out and look at what came to be called 'marginal gains' – everything that isn't physical or tactical; the understanding of aerodynamics.

    At first, Boardman found that the results from his aerodynamic testing weren't being taken up. The key he...

  • Hoy 150/1 to defend three Olympic titles

    Sir Chris Hoy (Britain) gets in the zone.
    Article published:
    April 07, 2012, 14:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Odds drift massively after sprint defeat at Track Worlds

    Sir Chris Hoy has been building towards a successful defence of three of the four Olympic gold medal he won at Beijing in 2008, but today's defeat in the semi-final of the men's individual sprint at the 2012 Track World Championships by British colleague Jason Kenny looks likely to have ended those ambitions.

    Hoy was knighted, voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year and became a household name in Britain after his extraordinary feats in Beijing but Kenny is emerging out of his shadow. His defeat of Hoy today makes him the firm favourite to claim Team GB's only individual sprint berth for the London 2012 Olympics, at the significant expense of his vanquished rival. If, as expected, Kenny gets the nod by the selectors, the most number of golds that Hoy can win would be two. As a result British bookmakers are offering huge odds of 150/1 for Hoy to claim three golds in the summer.

    “There is no doubting that Jason Kenny is now in pole position to lead GB in the individual sprint and with the team announced in June, Hoy has a lot to do in a very short space of time to get himself back to the front of the queue,” said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.

  • Commissaires decide a second sprint world title in Melbourne

    Jason Kenny (GBR) made a bold move in the second sprint final but was relegated giving the win to Gregory Bauge
    Article published:
    April 07, 2012, 18:45 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Bauge wins over Kenny, Brit likely to be Olympic sprinter

    Jason Kenny took a significant step towards earning the sprint place in Team GB for the London 2012 Olympics, despite his relegation in the final against Frenchman Gregory Bauge at the 2012 Track World Championships.

    Kenny defeated teammate and rival for the position, Sir Chris Hoy in the semi-final.

    Bauge appeared comfortable in his defeat of Kenny in the opening heat of the final but with everything on the line for the Brit in the second, he began his sprint from the very start of the three-lap event. Bauge approached Kenny on the final bend, just as the Brit infringed the sprinting line, causing the Frenchman to adjust in order to avoid contact.

    The move came under scrutiny from the commissaries and the decision was made to relegate Kenny, handing the title to Bauge for the third time with a twist of fate. His 2011 victory was stripped for falling foul of the whereabouts system requirements, a decision led to Kenny inheriting the title.

    "As I've always said, the big objective this season is the Olympic Games in London," Bauge said following the race.

    "I'm happy, obviously, but it's a bittersweet victory because I felt I could have won the second match. The world championships are every year, it's not my first title and in a few months time there's the biggest rendezvous at the Games."

    The call mirrored that which decided the women's sprint on Friday, with the title awarded to Victoria Pendleton after Simona Krupeckaite was penalised. Today's decision infuriated both Team GB's head coach Shane Sutton and parts of the crowd which resorted to booing. Kenny, meanwhile, was...