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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, August 4, 2012

Date published:
August 04, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • USA second best in Olympic debut of women's team pursuit

    Team USA qualified 2nd in women's team pursuit
    Article published:
    August 03, 2012, 21:44 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Solid qualifying result sets up next day's medal rounds

    They once held the world record for the women's team pursuit, but since that day in May of 2010, Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch and Lauren Tamayo have been unable to match the progression of teams such as Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. That all changed on the debut night of the event at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where team USA qualified second fastest to advance to the first round.

    Three-time Olympian Jennie Reed was the team's third rider in place of Tamayo for the qualifying round. Despite a mistake in the last half lap that saw Hammer riding away from Reed and Bausch, with the time taken on the third rider, they still went quicker than all but Great Britain, who broke its own world record to top the standings.

    Hammer, who raced the individual pursuit in Beijing in the 2008 Games, said the race felt amazing. "Everything we've been training for the last four years is on the line. We executed amazingly, got a new American record, which is always a great feeling and qualified second. The first is step complete; a great position to be in. Tomorrow I believe we are racing the Australians, so we're focused on winning that. It is all about making it to that gold medal round.

    Benjamin Sharp, the USA Cycling Track Endurance Director, was happy with the team's execution of its race. "They stuck to the plan and executed it very well," Sharp said. "I think we can make some adjustments for tomorrow and maybe even have a slightly faster time. I think all of the teams tonight performed at their maximum, so I don't really expect to see many faster times, except for maybe Great Britain."

    In qualifying, each team competed on the track alone. In tomorrow's round 1, USA will go up against Australia, who qualified third best, three tenths of a second slower than the Americans, while...

  • Australian men's team pursuit "proud" of silver medal performance

    Australia finished second in the final
    Article published:
    August 04, 2012, 0:15 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Match racing still the best tactic, says Hepburn

    Australia's male pursuit team was left with mixed emotions after claiming silver in the at the London Olympic Games. The foursome of Jack Bobridge, Glenn O'Shea, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn coasted through their heat with New Zealand to set up a gold medal race against the British team. And despite a promising start the Australian's were never able to lead, eventually finishing in a time of 3:54.581, as the British team set a new world record of 3:51.659.

    "It's disappointing. Yes it's a silver medal and we're very proud of it but we had one goal and to come here and win," Dennis said after the final.

    "The last four years we've worked really hard as a team and we're like brothers and we're proud to come home with silver. The GB team were exceptional over the last two days. You couldn't fault anything they did and they deserve the gold and well to them."

    The Australians had qualified second fastest in Thursday's track session, watching on as the British set their first world record. And after brushing aside the challenge from New Zealand the British camp expected the Australians to improve on their time of 3.54.317.

    After a strong start from the British the Australians began to close on their opposition, chipping away at their slight lead. However they were unable to sustain such a pace and began to drift inside the final two kilometres.

    "We went into the final with a plan to race the British team," Hepburn told Cyclingnews.

    "You saw in their qualifying rides that they were dialled into that 3:52 and we thought that they'd go out with a similar tactic. We tried to match them over the first two kilometres and our plan was to take it home but they had an exceptional ride and went faster than any other team in the world by a long way. You can't really be too...

  • Advantage Pendleton as Meares out of Olympic medals in keirin

    Britain's Victoria Pendelton (back) and Australia's Anna Meares
    Article published:
    August 04, 2012, 7:51 BST
    Laura Weislo

    British rider proves critics wrong; Australian up for sprint challenge

    After two days of racing at the Olympic Velodrome in London, the expected rivalry between sprinters Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) and Anna Meares of Australia has failed to fully materialize.

    In the team sprint Great Britain was relegated, but both Pendleton's and Meares' relative strengths were made apparent in the first two rounds. Pendleton, in second position, finished with the two fastest final laps of the night. Meares, the fastest first lap rider in the bunch was only once beaten by China's Shuang Guo in her opening effort.

    In the keirin the long sprint of Meares was put on display in the heats, where she attacked early in both the qualifying round and in round one to win her heat, while Pendleton played her cards closer to her chest.

    In the final, her late-race speed shone through, and Pendleton's final half lap was unmatchable by Guo - Meares never had a chance to re-accelerate after being swamped in the final half lap.

    For Pendleton, the win overcame the disappointment of the previous night but also gave her confidence for the sprint tournament ahead. "My legs were still good from last night. I really wanted to show what I've got. It turned out okay, I guess," she said.

    "I am really looking forward to the sprint. I am hoping that my time trial will be a little bit more special than it's been over the last couple of years. I've been working on it a lot. I am hoping in the sprint I have a good chance there. I am going to rest up the next couple of days and come back with a vengeance."

    Pendleton said her performance in the two rounds was encouraging, and it could herald another individual sprint title later in the week.

    "I was very encouraged from Thursday. It was a personal best for me on both rides. I knew my legs were the best...

  • Boardman turns to new pastures after London Games

    Article published:
    August 04, 2012, 10:55 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Olympic champion predicts more gold for Britain

    Chris Boardman has played a pivotal role in the success of British Cycling in a period spanning four decades but after the London Olympic Games he will step aside from his position as a technical adviser and look to pursue new projects.

    And while Great Britain’s success on the track continues at apace in London, with hyperbole surrounding their marginal gains and vast, talented, support staff, it’s a contrast to the days in which Boardman raced.

    As a rider he shot to world wide fame with a gold medal at the Barcelona Games in 1992, before going on to break the hour record on several occasions. Three Tour prologue wins decorated his road career before his retirement in 2000.

    In 1992 there was no lottery funding, no inner chimps and certainly none of the ‘hot pants’ the British team have today. Just one man, his aerodynamic track bike and a crack support staff.

    “There was me and Peter Keen. There was also Doug Dailey who in fact still works on the logistic side, very hard I might add. That was it though, which was both our strength and our weakness in the sense that we were fascinated by understanding a performance. In our own way that was our first marginal gain, trying to understand a performance and what was the most important bit,” Boardman tells Cyclingnews.

    “So, for example, we looked at aerodynamics, and why hadn’t anyone else looked at positions because that’s more important, even if it costs you power. So that was our focus before we took that into the pro road world.”

    Several Games, and a large investment of time, money and talent have seen Great Britain become the grade setters in a majority of track disciples and it’s a ride that Boardman has been able to witness first hand, as part of the “The Secret Squirrel Club”, or Research and Development to those not...

  • Kenny kills Hoy's Olympic record in sprint qualifying

    Jason Kenny picked up his first medal of the Games with a gold in the team sprint. He'll be hoping for more
    Article published:
    August 04, 2012, 15:45 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Baugé, Perkins the only others under 10 seconds

    Jason Kenny of Great Britain set a new Olympic record in the 200m flying start in the qualifying round of the men's individual sprint at the London Olympic velodrome on Saturday.

    The British rider was second to last off and rounded the track with a blistering 9.713 second effort, a full tenth of a second faster than Hoy's record. It was an astounding feat in a race which is normally decided by hundredths of seconds.

    The time was still well shy of the world record of 9.572 set by Frenchman Kevin Sireau on the 333m track in Moscow, which consistently turns out world records in the sprints thanks to its unique configuration. It was surely one of the fastest laps performed on the Olympic velodrome: Sir Chris Hoy recorded a 9.932 at the test event in February.

    "Brilliant, just brilliant. So pleased for Jason! Now bring on the match sprints," Hoy said via Twitter.

    Kenny seemed to cruise through the lap, hardly getting out of the saddle and taking the most efficient path down the banking for the maximum speed. He topped the time of Australia's Shane Perkins, who rode to a 9.987, and even Gregory Baugé, the last starter and world champion, could not come close to the new record mark, setting a 9.952.

    For Perkins, the effort was a relief after he fell ill earlier in the week and was not at his best. "I did not sleep very well. I caught a bit of a virus the night before the team sprint so I had to move out into another building, so my teammates wouldn't catch it," Perkins explained. "It sort of knocked the edge of me a bit but I'm not complaining. Considering all that I'm pretty happy and my form's still good."

    Thanks to the withdrawal of Dutch rider Teun Mulder from the sprints - he opted out of the event to focus on the keirin - Kenny's 1/16 final was a bye, and, much to the confusion of the crowds, Baugé also was awarded his...

  • Cavendish may return to track racing for 2016 Olympics

    Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) before the start of the London 2012 Olympic road race.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2012, 18:12 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Olympic medal missing from palmares

    Mark Cavendish has expressed a desire to return to the track racing in order to fulfil his Olympic gold dream. Cavendish has competed in two consecutive Games but has missed out on a medal on both occasions. However, having watched the Great Britain men's team win gold and set a world record in the team pursuit on Friday evening, the 27-year-old told Sky Sports News that the 2016 Games in Rio are in his thoughts. Great Britain coach Dan Hunt told Cyclingnews that any British rider would be welcome into the track squad if they made the necessary commitments and sidelined road ambitions.

    "After seeing it last night, absolutely," Cavendish said when asked if he wanted to return to the track. He has not raced on the world stage for track racing since the Worlds in 2009.

    "Training is hard. It's monotonous but that's what you've got to do in most sports to get Olympic gold. I watched the guys and saw the camaraderie between them. They live together, they've grown as a unit and I looked last night and I thought I want to be part of it again. I've been texting with the boys, I've been speaking with the coaches this morning and I wouldn't say it's past us to return to the track, maybe in 2016."

    Rio's road race course is expected to be less than sprinter-friendly in comparison to London's recent parcours and with Cavendish set to be 31 in 2016 the track could provide his last Olympic hope.

    "We'll have to see, the road race doesn't suit me in 2016 anyway. It's not going to be a flat race around Rio. I'd love an Olympic gold and I'd love to share that with guys I've grown up with. So I'd really like to push for a spot in 2016 on the track."

    As an endurance athlete Cavendish would have the...

  • Olympic track dominance continues for Britain with women's team pursuit gold

    Great Britain's gold medal-winning team pursuit squad of Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott
    Article published:
    August 04, 2012, 20:26 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Youthful squad may dominate for years to come

    Great Britain continued their Olympic Games dominance on the track with another gold medal in the women's team pursuit. Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Dani King coasted through qualifying on Friday evening, setting a new world record, but the trio went on to set two further records on their way to gold on Saturday. They saved their best for last with a time of 3.14.051 in the final. The United States secured a silver medal as Canada rounded out the podium with bronze.

    "Words can't describe how I'm feeling. It's just an incredible feeling. I don't think this smile is going to come off my face for a long time," King said in her post race press conference.

    Rowsell, the oldest member of the team at 23, echoed her words: "It's not really sunk in for me yet. I've got this gold medal and I'm keeping hold of it. It's just been such an incredible week for the team starting with Lizzie [Armitstead] winning a medal and it's just got better and better for the team."

    The USA, who had improved from fifth in the Worlds, secured a final spot after beating Australia in their final heat. But in the final they were simply outclassed, and despite the best efforts of Sarah Hammer – clearly their strongest rider – they were unable to challenge the home team's efforts, finishing in a time of 3:19.727.

    "I don't think we were ever complacent," Rowsell said. "We were always confident in our ability and we knew we could back it up. We've trained really hard for it but we never thought we had it in the bag. America had gone faster in their first ride today than they did yesterday so we didn't know how much more they had to give."

    The British team has now set five world records in their last five races and...

  • Underdogs Watkins, Phillip advance in Olympic sprint

    Jimmy Watkins (USA) advanced out of the 1/8 finals in the men's sprint with a victory over Pavel Kelemen (Czech Republic).
    Article published:
    August 04, 2012, 22:26 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Staff pupils shine in London

    The first night of the men's individual sprint competition at the 2012 Olympic Games in London saw the easy advance of the start list's top names: Jason Kenny, Gregory Baugé and Shane Perkins, but several more have moved onto the quarterfinal who were never expected to be there. Two are coached by 2008 team sprint gold medalist Jamie Staff, and live in the USA: Jimmy Watkins and Njisane Phillip.

    Watkins failed to come close to his personal best in the flying 200m qualifier, but he moved on through the next two rounds with the kind of ease that was beyond his level of experience. "My qualifying didn't go as well as I wanted to, but I'm certainly feeling better in the racing and as of now I met my goal," he said after advancing out of the 1/8 final. "I wanted to make the 5-8 (th final) and I have a chance to possibly make it in to the semis."

    After qualifying in 12th, Watkins took the first round match sprint against Japan's Seiichiro Nakagawa with apparent ease, using his strong flying lap to surge ahead and hold on to advance to the 1/8 final. There, he met Pavel Kelemen of the Czech Republic, and reproduced the same kind of ride to win by several bike lengths.

    Watkins is making his Olympic Games debut, but the 29-year-old American was surprisingly relaxed before the session, and that helped to produce his solid results. "I've been in that kind of mindset and I am probably the least nervous I've been of any race that I have been at which is great because if you get too anxious you over-react to things. Just ride your race, do light training - there's no stress, then you are at your best."

    He will face up against the experienced Australian Shane Perkins in the quarterfinal, a rider who has...