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Track Cycling News & Racing Round-up, Friday, February 25, 2011

Date published:
February 25, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Swift endures mixed day in the Omnium

    Ben Swift in the Omnium 250m flying lap
    Article published:
    February 19, 2011, 12:51 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Second in the elimination race, looking forward to the pursuit

    Ben Swift (Team Sky) endured a mixed day in the Omnium at the World Cup in Manchester, Great Britain.

    The 23-year-old claimed 12th in the Flying Lap, 15th in the points race and second spot in the elimination race, leaving him sixth overall with a day’s racing still to come.

    “It’s been up and down today,” Swift told Cyclingnews after finishing second behind Elia Viviani (Italy) in the elimination race.

    “I was disappointed with how the points race went. It was meant to be my strongest event of the day but it turned out to be my weakest. I couldn’t pedal and I had nothing. Once I got into the red on that gear, I just couldn’t do it.”

    “Luckily I turned it around in the elimination event. I think the overall Omnium is out of the window now. I’m just taking it day-by-day now and try for a personal best in the pursuit.”

    Swift will look to the pursuit as chance to showcase his talent ahead of next month’s World Championships where he will be hoping to make the selection for the team pursuit, an event where Team GB have an abundance of talent.

    “This is still good preparation for the Worlds. I needed time on the track and I needed time with this kind of cadence but my prime goal for the Worlds is to get into that team pursuit team.”

    Despite his indifferent form this weekend Swift has had an excellent start to the season, winning two stages at last month’s Santos Tour Down Under, where he opened Sky’s account for 2011. It marked an important turn point in his career after enduring a difficult season last year with injury and illness.

    “I came off a bit of a difficult season last year so...

  • Awang ruled out of track world championships

    Aziz Awang's (Malaysia) leg after the crash
    Article published:
    February 20, 2011, 11:18 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Set to have surgery to remove splinter this morning

    Aziz Awang (Malaysia) is still in hospital after suffering a horrendous injury in last night’s Keirin final and will miss the world championships next month in Apeldoorn, Holland.

    The Malaysian ‘pocket-rocket’ sprinter is scheduled to undergo surgery Sunday morning after a splinter, 9 inches in length, went through his lower left leg. Head coach of the Malaysian track team, John Beasley, believes that Awang can still make a full recovery ahead of next year’s Olympic Games in London.

    “He had a scan this morning so they could find out if it has gone through any veins or arteries. This morning they’ll remove it and all going well we can fly him home in a week. He’s the Chris Hoy of Malaysian cycling so for us it’s about getting him right for the Olympics,” Beasley said.

    “It’s sad that he won’t be at worlds but we just want him to get back on track, slowly, slowly. He’s a tough little character and he races giants. All he’s worried about is the Olympics but he’ll be fine. We’ll make sure that we bring things on nice and steady.”

    Despite the crash and the subsequent injury, Awang got back to his feet and finished the race in third place, unaware of the injury to his leg. The points secured in finishing third were enough to secure the overall standings in the Keirin World Cup, ahead of Hoy, but as he stood by the barriers assessing the cuts to his back and arms he glanced down to see the full extent of his wounds.

    “It was most probably a pedal that had gone into the track and he’s slid into the splinter. The only way they can do it is by surgically going in from both ends and spreading it apart and pulling it out.” said Beasley.



  • Great Britain set the standard in team pursuit qualifying in Manchester

    Geraint Thomas (GB) in good form in the pursuit
    Article published:
    February 20, 2011, 12:23 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Wiggins, Thomas, Clancy and Burke hit 3:57 in opening round

    Great Britain qualified with a time of 3:57.471 in the men’s team pursuit at the final round of the Track World Cup in Manchester, setting one of the fastest ever qualifying times in the process.

    Led off by Ed Clancy and backed up by Bradley Wiggins, Steven Burke and Geraint Thomas, Great Britain set about demolishing Denmark’s provisional leading time, although they slightly lost ground during the middle section of the race.

    “Qualifying at anything around the 3:57 at this time of day when conditions aren’t great is really good. I’m really pleased. It took us a couple of laps to settle into the schedule but then we just controlled it and sat on schedule and the lads controlled it perfectly,” said Great Britain coach, Dan Hunt.

    “Qualification and final rides are totally different and you’ve got to take a different mentality. Qualification is about doing a job and we wanted to ride fast and hard but we weren’t going to overly spend ourselves in doing that. That was pretty comfortable for them but it was comfortable because they rode it well and there’s more in the tank should they need it.

    “Only one team has ever gone faster in qualification before and that’s us.”

    Great Britain will ride off against New Zealand for gold in the final later this afternoon, while Denmark will face World Cup leaders Spain. Andrew Tennant could potentially be brought in to replace one of the British riders but no decision has yet been taken.

    “I need to have a look at the riders now and do a breakdown. We’ve got Andy Tennant who sat that round out and we have the option to bring him in if we want to.


  • Dennis grateful for Under 23 chance with Rabobank

    Rohan Dennis (Australia) sets the pace in the mens ind pursuit
    Article published:
    February 21, 2011, 0:31 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Australian takes individual pursuit in Manchester

    The failure of Pegasus Sports to secure ProTeam status may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Australian Rohan Dennis, who managed to pick up a last minute contract with Rabobank's Under23 programme.

    After a series of attempts Pegasus were forced to scrap their plans to race at both ProTeam and ProContinental levels after the UCI refused the team a licence, leaving over 20 professionals out of work. Most have now secured new teams, with the two biggest stars – Robbie McEwen and Robbie Hunter – at RadioShack.

    "I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to race in Europe this year. No teams were able to offer me a solid position it was just a few maybes so it was a bit iffy over where I was going to be racing," Dennis told Cyclingnews.

    "I'm really happy that Rabobank has picked me up and I really think it's one of the best teams at U23 out there. It's a great programme."

    "Pegasus obviously folded and I wasn't sure what was happening. I was lucky enough that Rabobank came along with their continental team and I was really happy and grateful for the gesture."

    Another stint in the U23 racing scene might be seen as a step back by some, but Dennis believes that his future will be enhanced by another chance to race at the level. With a two-year deal with the Dutch outfit Dennis will find himself able to train with Michael Matthews on a regular basis. The two raced together at Jayco Skins.

    "For my long term progress I actually think that this is a good move for me," he said.

    Dennis's year also already got off to a flyer with a sterling ride at the track World Cup in Manchester at the weekend. The Australian won the individual pursuit, beating Great Britain's...

  • UCI World Cup 2011 - Awang's splinter update

    Azizulhasni Awang (YSD Track Team) posted the 9th best time in the men's sprint qualifiers.
    Article published:
    February 21, 2011, 1:54 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Malaysian could now return for track World Championships

    Azizulhasni Awang has undergone surgery and could be back on the bike within a fortnight, according to doctors. The Malaysian sprinter could now make a shock appearance at next month’s World Championships. It had been feared that he could miss the Worlds.

    The Malaysian ‘pocket-rocket’ sprinter needed surgery after a splinter, 9 inches in length, went through his lower left leg in crash during the men’s Keirin final at the track World Cup in Manchester.

    The surgery was completed today and the splinter successfully removed, the doctor present suggested he could fly back as early as tomorrow and can ride again in just under a fortnight.

    UCI World Cup 2011 - Awang's Splinter Update from British Cycling on Vimeo.

  • Meares confident ahead of Worlds

    Anna Meares (Australia)
    Article published:
    February 21, 2011, 9:48 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Australian defies rival Pendleton after winning two gold medals in Manchester

    After leaving the track World Cup at the Manchester Velodrome with two gold medals from the women's team and individual sprint events, Anna Meares (Australia) has claimed that her recent good form was all down to her training environment back in Australia.

    "It's the best string of results I've put together in my career so far," Mears told Cyclingnews at her second gold medal ceremony in 24 hours.

    "It's all the result of the training environment we've been able to put together down in Adelaide and being able to be injury-free and healthy, tip to toe. It makes a big difference."

    Meares's first gold came in the team discipline, where she and Kaarle McCulloch topped a Chinese team that had set the fastest time in qualifying.

    "I had a great team sprint result with Kaarle Mcculloch and qualification today for the individual race was only one one-thousandths of a second off going under 11 seconds, but still the second fastest time of my entire career. I put together some really good racing today, but made a couple of mistakes as well but I was lucky enough to come away with the win."

    Meares's form has in fact been on an upward trajectory for the last 18 months and, while her biggest rival, Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton, has struggled to match her, Meares is modest when it comes to her ambitions at both next month's Worlds and the 2012 Olympics.

    "I'm confident but I'm not overly confident," she said.

    "There's still five weeks to go and that's a lot of time for girls to improve and I would expect riders like Pendleton and Guo [China] to improve from where they are now. There's Panarina [Belarus], too, and if you throw all four of us into the mix, we're all racing at the 11 second mark. It makes things...

  • 2012 Olympics velodrome unveiled in London

    The velodrome is the first venue to be completed
    Article published:
    February 22, 2011, 13:00 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Exclusive pictures as Hoy, Pendleton and co. train on new track

    The 2012 London Olympics moved a step closer today with the unveiling of the 6,000 capacity velodrome in London. It’s the first Olympic venue to be completed, and with 521 days to go until the Games begin, a host of cycling dignitaries attended.

    Mayor of London Boris Johnson called the venue a “fantastic theatre of sport,” while British Cycling’s Dave Brailsford added that the site had the potential to be a world record-beating venue.

    The new velodrome will play host to a track World Cup round next year but today the cream of the nation’s track riders, including Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy took to the boards in a staged training session.

    “If you take all the best bits out of all the velodromes in the World and put them all together, this is what you get,” said Brailsford.

    “The concourse, the way the seats have been designed, it’s all a great idea. It’s a great track with some clever access and flow from the infield as well. It’s just difficult to fault it.”

    Perhaps more importantly, Brailsford believes that the track itself is of the highest possible standard and that in the correct circumstances, London 2012 could well see a number of records fall.

    “There’s no reason why this can’t be the fastest track in the world but you need a lot of things to be right,” Brailsford said. “You all also need the right conditions.”

    In any case, over a year ahead of the main event, the Olympic velodrome is already exerting its own particular mystique.

    “The riders were so excited to come down here,” Brailsford said. “When you’re waking up at five in the morning, not being able to sleep about it, then you know you’re in the right place.”


  • Austral Wheelrace returns to Northcote on Saturday

    Young Victorian Ben Sanders wins the Austral Wheelrace in Melbourne.
    Article published:
    February 25, 2011, 4:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    Perkins headlines sprint and keirin

    The 113th Austral Wheelrace, regarded as Australia’s greatest and most prestigious track cycling event, will be held at Thornbury's Darebin International Sports Centre Velodrome tomorrow night, Saturday February 26.

    The Austral final field will be determined from four heats held in the evening's session, with the future of cycling on show in the Junior Austral final. Supporting events include invitational keirins, sprint eliminations, handicaps, heart-starters and the Victorian men's scratch race championships.

    Australian sprint star Shane Perkins headlines the program, and although he will not contest the Austral, he is expected to fly around the track as he goes head to head with Malaysia's Josiah Ng and Canberra's Alex Bird in the keirin and sprint elimination events.

    A great interstate battle is also expected between Victoria's generation next including Rick Sanders, Maddison Hammond, Luke Parker and Imogen Jelbart, when they face the likes of New South Wales' Caleb Ewan and brothers Scott and Jackson Law, plus South Australia's Glenn O'Shea and siblings Annette and Alex Edmondson.

    The night will also include a 'Legends Austral' featuring Danny Clark, Stephen Pate, David Sanders and Laurie Venn, who combined claimed a total of ten wheelraces between 1977 and 1999.

    The Austral is also the oldest track race still in existence, with the event beginning in 1887 where it was held on the Melbourne Cricket Ground over 3 miles (4800m), with first prize of a grand piano or a cabinet filled with silverware.

    After being staged at Melbourne's Hisense Arena since 2001, the Austral returns to 'Northcote', the site of the old Northcote Velodrome in Thornbury where it was held 21 times between 1975 and 2000.

    Over the course of 112 editions of the Austral, many great cyclists have taken the honours including World Champions, Gordon Johnson (1973) and Steele Bishop (1982), Sid Patterson (1962, 1964) and Venn (1979,...