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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, August 11, 2012

Date published:
August 11, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Meares brings home Olympic gold for Australia in women's sprint

    A jubilant Anna Meares (Australia)
    Article published:
    August 07, 2012, 23:25 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Someone finally beats the British

    It took six days of Olympic Games racing before the female British track cyclists could be beaten in straight up competition, but Australian Anna Meares finally silenced the raucous home crowds with a two race slam dunk against Victoria Pendleton in the individual sprint.

    Excluding the team sprint, in which the British were relegated and kept out of the finals and Germany won, it is the only outsider gold medal for women in a sport where the home country won seven of 10 possible gold medals between men and women.

    Meares felt joy, relief and pride at her own personal result, but knew all the while that the weight of her country's expectations were weighing heavily on her shoulders.

    "We know we haven't performed to the expectation the Australian public want from our athletes and feel they deserve for the amount of time, effort and money that have been put in to the programmes.

    "After my keirin, I was very disappointed, and definitely felt a heavy burden as a result," Meares said. But going into the event, she focused only on herself in order to keep the pressure off.

    "I know it's selfish, but I did this one for myself. I knew if I did this one for myself I would fight all the way and the result would come, not only for myself, but for Australia. I really wanted to show that all the work I have done and my team had done and the funding that has been into our programmes and myself as a rider was worthwhile."

    The dramatic match was a near repeat of Beijing, but this time the tables were turned for Meares, who lost in two races in 2008 but took two straight in London.

    "I was actually very nervous racing against Guo [Shuang] in the semifinals - she's such a fighter and such a difficult opponent I was very nervous she might bump me down into the bronze medal match offs. My...

  • Olympic silver Hammer hopes to inspire American track cycling

    Sarah Hammer (United States of America)
    Article published:
    August 08, 2012, 3:43 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Omnium and team pursuit medals progress after Beijing drought

    In 2008, the USA brought home exactly zero Olympic medals in track cycling, but their women's endurance program turned all that around when Sarah Hammer took silver in the omnium and she and Dotsie Bausch, Lauren Tamayo and Jennie Reed joined her in silver in team pursuit at the London Games.

    Hammer took a close second to Great Britain's Laura Trott in the omnium, while the team pursuiters were also put into the silver medal spot by the British team.

    Hammer hopes that her and her teammates' results will help to inspire women to get into track cycling, whether they be young or adult.

    "For American track cycling, hopefully, this is just the start," Hammer said after her omnium result. "We had no medals in Beijing, now we have women's team pursuit and an omnium medal. I hope it motivates everybody at home that it is possible, whether you are 10 years old or just started cycling later in your career, anything is possible. I hope this gets the ball rolling for everyone at home. It's go time."

    In sharp contrast to the purely fringe status that track cycling has in the USA, in Great Britain the sport is enormously popular - all sessions of the Olympics were sold out shortly after tickets went on sale, and the Manchester Revolution series races are regularly well attended.

    To compete in a venue where the crowds filled the stands in the thousands was something new for Hammer and her teammates.

    "This Olympics has been special, first and foremost on what it is to be a track cyclist here at the Olympics. We normally don't get the
    attention like that. Here we are in the Olympic Park, seeing the track from where we're staying in the Olympic Village. It's an amazing feeling to have the spotlight for everybody to see what is...

  • Mulder happy with shared third place in Olympic keirin

    Men's Keirin Olympic podium: Maximilian Levy (Germany), silver; Chris Hoy (Great Britain), gold; Teun Mulder (Netherlands) and Simon van Velthooven (New Zealand) both with bronze
    Article published:
    August 08, 2012, 17:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Waiting for decision was “most exciting minutes of my life”

    It took several minutes to determine whether Teun Mulder would win a bronze medal in the keirin at the 2012 London Olympics, and they “were definitely the most exciting minutes of my life," he said. But the wait was worth it, as the Dutch rider and Simon Van Velthooven (New Zealand) were determined to have tied for third place.

    There was no question that Sir Chris Hoy (Great Britain) had won gold and Maximilian Levy of Germany silver, but third place was close enough to require a photo finish.

    Both Van Velthooven and Mulder stared anxiously at the scoreboard, with the New Zealander's third -place finish being announced first.  “I knew it was close, but I thought I had crossed the line first.  I was sorry, so I hit the ground under my feet,” Mulder told “For a few seconds I was so disappointed. Then the number three appeared behind my name.”

    The decision had been made that the finish was too close to call, and both riders were given bronze medals. The two climbed up on to the podium arm in arm.

    Mulder saluted gold-medal winner Hoy, calling him “a legend, the best rider ever in the sprint. I'm happy for him that he won gold, but I am even happier with my bronze medal."

    The Dutchman is now turning his attention to other disciplines. "This was my last keirin appearance in an international tournament," he told De Telegraaf. "I've been world champion, won eight times in a World Cup final standing and now I have an Olympic medal.

    “It's been nice, but I now want to focus on the team sprint and the world record in the kilometer time trial, which also seems a great challenge. "

  • Video: Hoy and Pendleton on their Olympic swansongs

    Chris Hoy (Great Britain) holds up his gold medal
    Article published:
    August 08, 2012, 22:43 BST
    Cycling News

    British duo take medals on last day in the Velodrome

    Two of the icons of British track cycling made what were probably their last appearances at an Olympic Games in the London Velodrome last night. Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, both multiple gold medal winners, too, headed to the track for one last time in the men's keirin and the women's individual sprint respectively.

    Both had won golds earlier on at these Olympics - Hoy in the team sprint with Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes and Pendleton in the women's keirin. And on Tuesday night both bowed out with further medals. Hoy won his sixth career track gold medal in the men's keirin and Pendleton won silver in the women's sprint.

    In this video, both riders talk about their experiences at the London Games - six days that they will never forget.

  • Awang needs to increase weight ahead of 2016 Olympic Games

    Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia) started the sprint two laps out
    Article published:
    August 09, 2012, 7:58 BST
    Cycling News

    Malaysian sprinter looks to improve on London experience

    His result was an improvement, however Malaysian sprint ace Azizulhasni Awang will concentrate on building his strength ahead of what is hoped will be his third Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero in 2016.

    On Tuesday, the 24-year-old finished sixth in the keirin final at the London Olympic Games after being swamped on the final bend with Sir Chris Hoy (Great Britain) winning his sixth Olympic Games gold medal. Awang had been forced to race on the front but was eventually boxed in by his more-powerful competitors. In the sprint, Awang finished eighth in the final standings.

    Awang finished 10th in the keirin at the Beijing Games and the following year claimed a silver medal in the sprint at the World Championships in Poland. In 2010 Awang also won silver in the keirin at the World Championships in Denmark and the finished the 2010-11 World Cup as keirin champion.

    "Azizul did his best and we can't fault him in any way," his Australian coach John Beasley told the New Straits Times. "He rode the final the way he had to after being drawn in the sixth position. Had he been given an inner position, it would have been better and his chances of a medal brighter but he came very close.

    "Given his stature, it was always going to be very difficult to chase from the back and that is why Azizul went to the front immediately. However, the experienced field knew what they had to do and in the final sprint, Azizul found himself bunched in and had to attack from the back."

    Beasley believes that the key to improvement lies in an increase to his 67 kilogram weight, up to 69kg.

    After a short break, Awang will return to his Melbourne training base.

    "My immediate targets are the 2014 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games before turning my sights to the 2016 Olympics," he said.

  • Van Hoecke sent home from Olympic Games after public drunkenness

    Kenny De Ketele and Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL) were delighted with the win
    Article published:
    August 10, 2012, 2:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Night on the town followed Belgian's 15th place in omnium

    World Madison Champion Gijs Van Hoecke has been sent home from the London Olympic Games on Thursday after images of him stumbling down the street after a night out was circulated by the media.

    The 20-year-old is being propped up by friends in the images.

    Van Hoeck issued an apology but defended his right to party following his Olympic campaign.

    "What happened is a pity. I am sorry, this should not have happened," Van Hoecke told RTBF television.

    "But I also think that after two years of relentless work, I have the right to let my hair down. It would have been better if it had not happened here in London."

    "That said, it was outside the Olympic Village and I didn't disturb the other athletes, they didn't notice anything," he said.

    "I have not helped the image of track cycling either by my results or by my behaviour," he admitted. "If I am punished I will accept it".

    Van Hoeck finished 15th in the men's omnium standings.


  • China launches second appeal against team sprint relegation

    Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang set two world records but had to settle for silver
    Article published:
    August 10, 2012, 6:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang were stripped of gold medal

    The Chinese cycling team has sent a second letter of appeal to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) following the women’s sprint team’s relegation from the gold medal to silver at the Olympic Games. The first appeal was rejected last Friday.

    Gong Jinjie leading and Guo Shuang appeared to have won the gold on the opening night of track competition in the velodrome, finishing 0.179 seconds quicker than the German pair Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte in the final, but were relegated to silver for a botched exchange.

    The stunning news came after the Chinese had already celebrated their victory lap and the Germans had gone off to do their interviews. Once back inside the track, Vogel and Welte were quickly cleaned up and whisked away to the medal ceremony to receive their first gold medals.

    China manager Pan Zhichen argued in the latest letter, as revealed by the China Daily that Jinjie and Guo had not changed in their riding technique over their three matches and on that basis, the team should have been penalised earlier. He also accused the referees of double standards over the team sprint competition. Pan was critical of the decision, saying it was not believable and that it had upset the team.

    UCI president Pat McQuaid said at the time in an interview that the sport’s governing body would not interfere in the matter.


  • Reade considering switch to the track for next Olympics

    Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade (Great Britain)
    Article published:
    August 11, 2012, 13:53 BST
    Cycling News

    Team GB rider could make move from BMX to velodrome

    Three-time BMX world champion Shanaze Reade finished a disappointing sixth in the women's individual Olympic race on Friday and the Team GB rider has stated that she could now turn to track cycling for the Rio Games in 2016.

    Reade also finished out of the medals in Beijing four years ago and the 23-year-old is now considering a move across to the Team GB track team, which has a potential vacancy due to the impending retirement of Victoria Pendleton. Reade is already a double world champion on the track, having won gold in the team sprint at the track world championships in 2007 and 2008, with Pendleton, before she focussed her attention on the BMX scene.

    "I will take a step back for a few weeks but I will definitely be back in Rio whether with track or BMX, or even both - I don’t know yet," Reade told Metro.

    "I have got opportunities on the track cycling side and on the BMX side. It [the track] is a possibility because obviously Victoria has retired now so it leaves the door open. I’ve demonstrated I’m not too bad at track - I got a gold with Victoria, so why not?"