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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Date published:
February 15, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Para-cyclists prepare for key qualifier at Worlds

    The paracycling pursuit
    Article published:
    February 09, 2012, 17:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Los Angeles velodrome hosts first major para-cycling event

    The 2012 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships begins today with athletes, who are aiming for success at the Paralympic Games in London this summer, using the event as vital preparation.

    Taking place at the Velo Sports Center at in Carson, California the championships run from February 9 through to the 12th. It will feature more than 200 athletes from 33 countries. Besides having an opportunity to earn world champion status in their events, athletes will also be competing for UCI points which impact the overall number of team slots awarded to each country for the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

    "This will be a fierce competition between the world's top Paralympic cyclists as the race tightens to qualify for the 2012 London Paralympic Games," said USOC chief of Paralympics Charlie Huebner.

    The U.S. team will feature California natives Matt Bigos, Will Chesebro, Vincent Juarez, and Anthony Zahn. Respective 2011 world championships gold and silver medalists Allison Jones and Greta Neimanas will compete in the women's division.

    Tandem duos Clark Rachfal and pilot Dave Swanson, Army veteran Chester Triplett and pilot Pete Billington, and Karissa Whitsell and pilot Lisa Turnbull will compete in the visually impaired divisions.

    U.S. Paralympics and the Velo Sports Center have teamed up to run the competition. The facility, which opened in 2004, has hosted numerous international and elite events, including the 2005 UCI Elite Track Cycling World Championships.

    The 2012 championship marks the first time since 1998 - and just the second time ever - that the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships will be held in the United States. The 2011 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships was held March 11-13 in Montichiari, Italy, and Team USA finished fifth in the overall medal count with six total medals

    Attendance for all days of the event is free.

  • U.S. team announced for final UCI Track World Cup

    Women’s individual pursuit podium (l-r): Alison Shanks (New Zealand), Sarah Hammer (USA) and Vilija Sereikaite (Lithuania).
    Article published:
    February 12, 2012, 17:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Hammer and Lea headline team for London Olympic test event

    USA Cycling has announced a strong line-up for the fourth and final round of the UCI Track World Cup, which starts in London on Thursday, February 16. The event will be used as a test event for the Olympic Games which take place in August.

    The US team will be led by the experienced Sarah Hammer, who dominated the corresponding Track World Cup in Manchester last year and also won the Omnium at the second round of the Track World Cup this season in Cali, Colombia. Lauren Tamayo and Dotsie Bausch are also included on the team and along with Hammer currently hold the team pursuit world record of 3:19.569, set in May 2010 at the Pan American Games.

    The men's roster is headlined by 2008 Olympic cyclists Michael Blatchford, Bobby Lea, and Giddeon Massie. Blatchford and Kevin Mansker will each compete in the Sprint. That duo will be joined by Massie and Dean Tracy for the Men's Team Sprint. Lea is slated to compete in the Omnium and Matthew Lipscomb is scheduled to contest the Points Race and Kilo.

    The London Track World Cup runs from February 16-19, 2012.

    Michael Blatchford (Cypress, Calif./Project London 2012)
    Bobby Lea (Topton, Pa./Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)
    Matthew Lipscomb (Decatur, Ga./Fulton Flyers)
    Kevin Mansker (Long Beach, Calif./Project London 2012)
    Giddeon Massie (Cypress, Calif./Bike Religion)
    Dean Tracy (Portland, Ore./Rubicon Cycling)

    Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling)
    Madalyn Godby (Louisville, Colo./enCompass Racing)
    Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling)
    Jennie Reed (Seattle, Wash./OUCH Pro Cycling)
    Lauren Tamayo (Asheville, N.C./Exergy TWENTY12)
    Cristin Walker (Houston, Texas/Momentum Coaching Group p/b Atomic)


  • Hepburn remains critical of Olympic track program reshuffle

    Michael Hepburn is going into the finals as fastest.
    Article published:
    February 13, 2012, 4:37 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian calls for individual pursuit to be returned to 'holy grail' status at Games

    Michael Hepburn (GreenEdge) says that he was bemused by the decision after the 2008 Beijing Games to remove his pet event, the Individual Pursuit from the Olympic program, and hopes that the IOC and UCI will reinstate the discipline for the next edition of the Games in Rio in 2016.

    "The reasons have never been super clear, and I think it’s upset a lot of people," said Hepburn to ABC Radio. "It’s a hard blow to take - especially in a country that has such a rich history of producing pursuit riders."

    "There’s some talk of bringing some events back for Rio, and I hope that the Individual Pursuit is among them."

    The schedule was changed in 2009 ‘officially’ to cater for additional sprint events. Along with the Individual Pursuit, the Points and Scratch races were also dropped with the omnium event coming in as a replacement.

    Endurance athletes have been particularly disgruntled by the changes, which for many leaves only one realistic option for Olympic medals in the Team Pursuit.

    "The silver lining I guess is that [the change] has added extra value to the team pursuit," added Hepburn, who then conceded that it also meant that it heightened the competition for spots.

    The Queenslander will hope to solidify his own Olympic chances when he lines-up with Luke Durbridge, Rohan Dennis and Jack Bobridge at next week’s UCI Track World Cup in London before shifting his focus to the World championships in April.

  • Brailsford perplexed by decision to not run London test event as national titles

    British Cycling supremo Dave Brailsford back in the GB colours rather than Sky for a day with his Ecclescake breakfast.
    Article published:
    February 14, 2012, 5:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Great Britain boss would've preferred an exclusive dry run

    Dave Brailsford has criticised the decision of the London World Cup organisers to run the event in the Olympic velodrome as the official test event for the 2012 Games, commenting that it gives an unneccessary edge to the British team's competitors come August.

    "I'm a little bit miffed, if I'm honest, if I'm really, really honest," Brailsford told the BBC. "To have a fully-blown World Cup as a test event when a lot of the other venues [in other disciplines] are using national championships as test events - we're basically inviting the rest of the world - and the opposition in."

    The World Cup has been given extra significance because of its position in the calendar, less than two months ahead of the World Championships and on the same boards as the Games in August, making it a compulsory attendance for the top tier track squads.

    Australia, New Zealand, the US and the Netherlands have all confirmed to sending full strengths teams to the event.

    Previous test events on the road and track that occurred before the Beijing and Athens Olympic Games have all been open invitation.

    Aside from his complaint, the Brit was simply excited to see how the state-of-the-art velodrome would ride.

    "Let's have a look at what the track is like and the nuances of how the track runs and the differences between the London track and any other track."

    The London World Cup starts on Thursday, February 16.

  • Hoy and Kenny set for crucial showdown

    Chris Hoy beats Jason Kenny
    Article published:
    February 14, 2012, 17:35 GMT
    Richard Moore

    Track World Cup in London has intriguing Olympic subplot

    One of the most interesting sub-plots to this weekend’s UCI Track Cycling World Cup in London, as well as in the run-up to the Olympics, will be the battle between Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny in the individual sprint. But at stake is a prize that trumps a gold medal this weekend, or even at next month’s world championships in Melbourne: the single place available in the British team for London 2012.

    It is enough to induce a headache among the GB selectors, with Shane Sutton, the performance manager, admitting the difficulty, while at the same time describing it as “a beautiful situation to be in.”

    Outlining the dilemma, Sutton said: “You’ve got a very speedy young athlete, who’s super fast, and the current world champion. And then you’ve got the great Sir Chris Hoy, triple Olympic champion, who’s got power to burn. So you’ve got power versus speed.

    “How do you pick? Do you race them off? This World Cup and the world championships are both important. There is a discretionary line in there, but whoever performs best in the world championships probably has one foot in the door.”

    This World Cup, being staged in the new Olympic velodrome, might therefore be regarded as a rehearsal not only for the Games, but also the world championships. Hoy admitted that the line-up for the team sprint, in which Ross Edgar will join him and Kenny, has an “experimental” air about it.

    But it seems that Sunday’s sprint competition will be the real deal. It is the event in which Hoy’s pre-eminence in the British team is most under threat, along, of course, with his bid...

  • Gallery: Paracycling world championships wrap

    Neimanas also added a silver in the women's 500 meters.
    Article published:
    February 14, 2012, 18:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Images from across the disciplines

    The paracycling world championships in Carson, California concluded on Sunday February 12, with the blue-riband track event proving even more successful than organisers had initially hoped.

    Healthy crowds responded positively to the open turnstiles at the four-day event, with the racing itself highly competitive and a treat for the spectators, particularly with the London Paralympic Games just months away.

    Great Britain topped the medal tally with eight gold medals, seven silver and two bronze.

    Cyclingnews presents a gallery of the weekend's action.

  • Awang chasing form at London Track World Cup

    Malaysian Azizul Hasni Awang (YSD Track Team)
    Article published:
    February 14, 2012, 23:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Malaysian sprint ace fighting for Olympic spot

    Despite his failure to collect anything better than a silver medal at this week's Asian Cycling Championships, Azizulhasni Awang is confident of a result at the London Track World Cup which gets underway on February 16.

    It was the second successive year that Awang has come away from the Asian Championships without a gold medal and follows a frustrating 12 months for the high profile Malaysian who was forced to miss the 2011 UCI Track World Championships after a 23 centimetre splinter skewered his lower left leg at the Manchester World Cup.

    Malaysia has qualified just one athlete in the men's track program for the London Olympics in August with a decision to be made as to whether Josiah Ng or Awang takes the spot. Ng took out the keirin at the Asian Championships; Awang claimed silver in the sprint behind Japan's Kazunari Watanabe.

    "I'm not too worried about that result. The most important thing for us is that Malaysia won the keirin. Now, we move on to the next phase and I'm feeling better about it," Azizul told the New Straits Times.

    Awang finished 8th in the keirin at the Beijing Olympics 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.

    While this week's World Cup meet is crucial, and is given added significance given the event is taking place at the London Olympic Velopark, Awang is treating the meet as a stepping stone to better form.

    "There's a long way to go to get there, but we still have time. I'm aiming to peak at the World Championships first, so that's where we'll see whether I've been doing enough," he said.


  • Gallery: Team GB training at the London Olympic velodrome

    The Great Britain women's pursuit team
    Article published:
    February 15, 2012, 9:49 GMT
    Cycling News

    Thomas and Hoy test track ahead of World Cup

    The Great Britain track team used one of their final training sessions to tune their form ahead of the London Olympic cycling test event. The event, which starts on Thursday with the team pursuit qualifying rounds doubles up as the final round of the UCI Track World Cup, however in an Olympic year, and with just a few months until the Games, all eyes are on London.

    Still, the Great Britain team will put out of their strongest squads since the Beijing Games four years ago, with Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton Ben Swift and Geraint Thomas all competing in what team principal, Dave Brailsford has called a key marker event.

    "The mood is good, it’s positive," he said.

    "Normally you go in to the final World Cup looking to tidy up any qualification points. It's normally not the biggest squad we'd send to a World Cup, there is quite a difference in the sense that it's here, it's a test event. It's in front of a home crowd. It's quite an interesting little challenge. You normally train through the last World Cup [ed in preparation for the Worlds]."

    Over 380 athletes from around 40 nations will compete at the test event making it one of the biggest Olympic test events on LOCOG’s program. The Olympic velodrome was one of the first venues finished and its state of the art design.

    The home team has obviously enjoyed more track time than their international rivals and Brailsford said that more time may have been available but that the squad's main base is in Manchester and remained the team’s principle base.

    "I think to be fair to the organisers, if we wanted more time, we would have more. That's our choice. We decided how much time we want so i don't think there is any issue there. We could get more if we wanted it. Each squad is different. Each squad has...