- Article published:
- February 3, 2011, 16:36
- Peter Hymas
Briton reflects on world record held for nearly 15 years
When Jack Bobridge blazed to a time of 4:10.534 in the individual pursuit at the Australian Track Championships on Wednesday, he not only demolished the best time ever recorded in a 'standard position' by nearly three seconds, he bested one of the legendary world records in track cycling held by Chris Boardman for nearly 15 years.
On August 29, 1996 at the track cycling world championships in Manchester, England, Boardman won the gold medal in the individual pursuit against Italy's Andrea Collinelli. Both riders were using the then-legal "superman" position on their track bikes, and the 28-year-old Boardman nearly lapped Collinelli to set a world record time of 4:11.114. The position, which was conceived by Graeme Obree, was later banned and the time was considered by many to be now out of reach.
In recent years pursuiters have approached Boardman's time with Bradley Wiggins clocking 4:15.031 at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Geraint Thomas rode 4:15.015 in October, 2009 at a track World Cup in Manchester, England followed by Bobridge's 4:14.427 in February, 2010 at the Australian Track Championships.
In Wednesday's pursuit qualifiers at this year's Australian Track Championships, Rohan Dennis rode 4:13.400 only to have Bobridge, moments later, re-write the record books with a stunning 4:10.534.
"I just thought 'wow, what an awesome ride'. It's quite something to be done in a standard position," Boardman told Cyclingnews. "I always thought someone who was around 4:13, or even low 4:14s, has got to be pretty much the same [as my record ride] when you take the bikes into account. It's a phenomenal ride.
"It isn't something I've talked about for quite a long time because it's 15 years old, so I haven't really thought about it. It's amazing, the interest it's provoked just shows how people are interested in what was possibly the Blue Riband event of track cycling."
Bobridge had been on good form of late on the road, soloing to victory in the Australian road championships and earning a silver medal in the Australian time trial championships in early January. The 21-year-old Australian came into his national track championships having just completed the Santos Tour Down Under, where he rode in support of Garmin-Cervelo teammate Cameron Meyer's winning performance. Bobridge spoke of notching his best pursuit times following a stage race, a situation which Boardman found familiar.
"That's an interesting observation [by Bobridge] because 1996 was the year I went through the whole Tour de France," said Boardman. "I really struggled but was getting better towards the end. I came out of it and I had the best form of my life for probably six to eight weeks afterwards.
"[The world record] was off the back of very, very intense stage racing which is not how I'd normally do things. Normally, I'd want to do it more carefully and controlled thinking about the training."
Boardman spoke of his memories of the time period nearly 15 years ago in which he set the individual pursuit world record, followed nine days later by his 56.375km hour record, also set in Manchester.
"I think what I remember most is just the different images of that event: photographs and pieces of film from it," said Boardman. "I can remember that week where I set the world hour record and the pursuit [world record] was the best form I ever had in my life. Everything around it - weather, air pressure, temperature - just was absolutely perfect for that one thing.
"So from an athletic point of view that's the best I ever was that week, and he's (Bobridge) gone faster."
- Article published:
- February 4, 2011, 09:26
- Cycling News
Austrian track rider positive at national championships last September
Austrian track rider Daniel Baldauf has been suspended for two years after testing positive for testosterone at the national championships in September. Baldauf denied having doped but said that he would accept the ban.
Baldauf, 24, tested positive on September 21 in Vienna at the national championships, where he won one gold medal and two silvers. The B sample recently returned a positive result.
He is banned for two years, until September 2012, and will lose the medals.
“It was confirmed to me that it was only slightly over the limit, which reflects that it came from a contaminated food supplement,” he told the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung. “But unfortunately I can no longer prove that.”
He is determined to return to the track when his ban expires. “I have a training licence for the track and will continue to train. I will also stay in the NADA testing pool that way. I have nothing to hide.”
The suspension puts an end to his club, the Styrian Sprint Cycling Union, which didn't even exist for one full year. “Unfortunately we have to take this step. Once you have been confronted with the theme of doping, it is difficult to keep the club financially alive,” said sport director Ernst Köppel.
- Article published:
- February 6, 2011, 10:44
- Cycling News
Ride-off to decide who will ride in Worlds
The Netherlands National Team will be holding a bike-off next week to decide which rider will represent their country in the omnium at the Track World Championships, when it returns to Dutch soil in March. Their choice lies between two formidable riders – Marianne Vos and Kirsten Wild, and the rider who wins will also represent the team at the Track World Cup in Manchester later this month.
"As there are only a few competitions in track cycling, and Kirsten and I both have our own schedules in the winter, we didn't have an opportunity to compete with each other”, Vos told Cyclingnews.
"That's why our national coach decided that a bike-off was needed for that place on the omnium. I believe this is the most fair way; we both could prepare well and the best one will do the Worlds.”
Vos has been riding a combined winter season of track and cyclocross, and last week won her fourth World cyclocross title, adding to her Worlds titles on the road and the track. The 23-year-old won the Olympic gold medal in the points race in 2008, and is aiming to be the first woman to win the Olympic omnium gold.
"Of course it's hard to make a balanced plan to be good in the big races in the winter and to have a good preparation on the road season, too”, said Vos. “The most difficult thing is to switch over from cyclocross to track, because I have to get back my top speed and that takes a while.”
Wild, who had to put her track ambitions on hold for two years while riding on the road for Cervélo, also has the Olympic gold firmly in her sights. One of the reasons she moved from Cervélo to AA Drink-Leontien.nl was to enable her to compete on the track in the run-up to 2012 – sponsor conflicts between Cervelo and the Netherlands National Team meant that no agreement could be reached over which bike Wild could ride, leaving her with no option but not to compete.
Both riders have competed in the omnium in the 2010-11 Track World Cup Series – in the Melbourne round in December, Vos came sixth, while in January, Wild was second. Wild’s silver medal followed the Rotterdam six-day, where she won eleven out of 18 women’s races to take the overall event.
The bike-off will take place behind closed doors in Alkmaar on February 10 and will be decided over performance in the individual events that make up an omnium - a flying lap, 500m TT and 3km Individual Pursuit.
After the track season, both riders will return to the road, where Vos also has big ambitions.
"My plan for the road season is ready; it doesn't depend on the outcome of the bike-off. It's only the two races on the track, Manchester and Apeldoorn, that I will do, or not.”
"With my team Nederland Bloeit, we want to go for the victory in every race we do, and for me personally, it's important to get further improvement in my time trial and sprint.
"It looks like the Worlds course suits the Dutchies and I hope we can benefit from all of our strong riders. Tactics will be more important on this course, but I'm sure it'll be an exciting race.”<
- Article published:
- February 7, 2011, 03:58
- Cycling News
World Champions Meares and McCulloch reunite
Reigning World Champions and world record holders, Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch, will reunite for their first team sprint of the season when they line up in the final round of the 2010-2011 UCI Track World Cup Classics being staged in Manchester from 18 to 20 February.
The pair head an Australian line up of experienced campaigners and emerging talent in the final major competition before the team is selected for the UCI Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands from 23 to 27 March.
The National Championships, that wrapped up yesterday in Sydney, pitted the pair against each other when New South Wales' McCulloch teamed with Cass Kell to defeat Meares and Stephanie Morton (SA) in the team sprint. Meares fought back in the individual events with victories in both the sprint and keirin.
It's unclear at this stage what other events they will contest with coaching staff yet to finalise the start lists for the sprint and keirin events.
Meares told Cyclingnews that she was looking forward to the challenge in Manchester regardless of what events she contests.
"I honestly think I'm a good shot to finish top five in the events that I contest," she said. "I'm looking forward to the team sprint with Kaarle, we haven't teamed up yet this season so that will be really nice not only to do that but to be able to do it in front of a British crowd.
"That's going to be the most like what London is going to feel like so that's going to be a real opportunity to get some experience in that sense. This is a home world cup and you saw what a home world cup did for the Aussies and also for the Chinese – this is what it's going to be like for the British. They're coming out in force, they've got a huge team named they've got all of their Olympic riders plus some so I'm looking forward to the challenge, it's going to be a hard one."
Commonwealth Games champions Dan Ellis, Jason Niblett and Scott Sunderland have been named in the Team Jayco AIS line up for Manchester but Ellis' appearance is subject to him recovering from the shoulder injury he sustained in a crash during the quarter finals of the sprint competition at last week's Championships.
In the men's teams pursuit South Australian Rohan Dennis will lead a developing quartet in Manchester. Dennis, a member of Australia's 2010 World Championship winning teams pursuit, last week rode the third fastest 4000m time in history in the indvidual pursuit qualifying before fellow South Australian Jack Bobridge came out and set a world record.
In Manchester Dennis will be joined by 2010 junior teams pursuit World Champions Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (NSW) and Jordan Kerby (QLD) as well as Mitchell Mulhern. Commonwealth Games scratch race silver medallist Michael Freiberg will contest the omnium.
In the women's teams pursuit West Australia's Melissa Hoskins and Isabella King will line up with 2010 triple junior World Champion Amy Cure. The trio join a growing list of talented women bidding for a berth in the Australian pursuit team. Last week Hoskins, King and reigning World Champion Josie Tomic set an Australian record for the 3km distance. Tomic's world champion team mates Sarah Kent (WA) and Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW) did not race the event in Sydney.
- Article published:
- February 11, 2011, 00:40
- Cycling News
Kirsten Wild to represent Netherlands in women's omnium
Olympic points race champion Marianne Vos will not represent the Netherlands at the UCI Track World Championships on home soil next month after losing a ride-off with Kirsten Wild to compete in the women's omnium.
The Dutch national coach Robert Slippens faced a difficult decision between the two talented riders. Vos, a proven winner with world titles on the track, road and in cyclo-cross, failed to make a mark in her only track outing this year at the Melbourne World Cup, winning the elimination race but only able to take sixth overall.
Wild, in contrast, has no world titles to her name, but on top of a successful 2010 road season, she has made the track a focus, coming second overall in the omnium at the Beijing Track World Cup.
The two faced off against each other in three timed events today at the Alkmaar velodrome, a 250m flying lap, a 500m time trial and a 3km pursuit.
Vos prevailed in the 500, but Wild topped the other two events by a significant margin to earn her spot in next week's Manchester World Cup and the world championships, which take place March 23-28 in Apeldoorn.
Wild will join Ellen van Dijk (individual pursuit), Jenning Huizenga (team pursuit, possibly individual pursuit), Tim Veldt (omnium) and Peter Schep (points race, Madison) in the endurance team.
For the sprint events, the Netherlands will be represented by Willy Kanis, Yvonne Hijgenaar, Roy van den Berg and Teun Mulder. Sprint coach Rene Wolff is yet to decide between Yondi Schmidt and Hugo Haak.
- Article published:
- February 11, 2011, 04:14
- Cycling News
Women's team pursuit in 'box seat'
BikeNZ will send a 12-strong squad to the next week's final round of the UCI Track World Cup in Manchester ahead of next month's world championships.
The squad will fly out of New Zealand at the weekend to chase World Cup honours after completing a training camp in Invercargill.
The women's team pursuit squad currently tops the World Cup standings, as does Alison Shanks in the individual pursuit. The men's team pursuit is currently third in overall ranks as is Shane Archbold in the omnium and the men's team sprint combination.
The team will contest the team pursuits, men's individual pursuit, omniums, men's team sprint, individual sprint and men's keirin in the three-day meet that has attracted a showdown of the big names in cycling, with the British team attracting World Tour stars Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas back to the track.
The BikeNZ coaching staff have changed their focus for the Manchester World Cup.
"We rejigged our programme for this World Cup because we want to replicate our lead in for the world championships in 2012 and on to the Olympics," said head coach Tim Carswell. "We now have a bigger team and most of these riders will carry on to the world championships next month."
The team has the opportunity to earn rare World Cup series success in the process.
"The women's team pursuit have performed really well and are in the box seat to win the World Cup title. And Alison Shanks has already won the individual pursuit title which is not on the schedule for Manchester.
"Shane Archbold in the omnium and the men's team pursuit missed the last round but with exceptional results could claim titles. It's the same for the team sprint combination.
"One of the pleasing things is that we are so competitive across the board especially as we have missed a World Cup."
Carswell said the focus is to use the meet as an important stepping stone towards next month's world championships and get a gauge on the key competition.
"Don't expect our athletes to be in absolute blistering form because it's still six weeks away to the worlds. But I was impressed with the development in Invercargill.
"For us Manchester is a step along the road towards our aim to compete at the world championships with strong teams capable of contending for world titles."
Auckland 20 year old Aaron Gate gets his chance to step up into the men's pursuit team alongside Olympians Marc Ryan, Wes Gough and Peter Latham, with Jesse Sergent and Sam Bewley away on race duties with their Radioshack World Tour team. The experienced Ryan will assume the duties in the individual pursuit in Manchester.
The women have arguably their top combination for Manchester with Shanks, Lauren Ellis and Jaime Nielsen, with Great Britain bringing back Beijing pursuit gold medallist Rebecca Romero for new team pursuit.
The 21-year-old Archbold has a further chance to cement selection and a top three placing in the fledgling men's omnium, the six-discipline event that will make its Olympic debut in London. Experienced Cantabrian Jo Kiesanowski gets another opportunity to develop in the new Olympic track event after several years concentrating on life as a professional road racer in USA and
The young sprint combination of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins has another opportunity to develop in the team sprint, sprint and keirin. Simon van Velthooven, the winner in the Beijing round of the World Cup, is being rested. This provides an excellent chance for former triple world junior champion Webster, who has also earned an invitation among 21 riders to compete in the Japan Keirin Association styled-event, boasting $130,000 prize money, to be held on the final day of the meet.
- Article published:
- February 14, 2011, 01:53
- Jane Aubrey
Downfall of carnival racing cited as evolution
Scott McGrory, the man who along with madison partner Brett Aitken broke Australia's 16-year Olympic gold medal drought in Sydney in 2000 has warned that the nation's track cycling stocks are nearing 'crisis point' due to the continuing demise of the sport at a grassroots level.
McGrory told SBS' Cycling Central during last week's national titles that, "The top one per cent of the Australian team is exceptional. Shane Perkins, our team pursuit team, Cameron Meyer, Jack Bobridge... these guys are really the world's best but I think the group behind that is really starting to slow down a bit."
Currently a track coach with the Victorian Institute of Sport, McGrory told Cyclingnews when asked to expand on his comments, that a packed and competitive Australian summer calendar, along with a March world championships was to blame.
"What we're noticing is the track nationals now have to be the first week of February, which virtually comes one week after the Tour Down Under which is one week straight after the road nationals; Bay Crits are one week before that and you've got your Christmas break before that," he explained.
"The only track racing we end up doing in December is the smaller championship races – state championships, metros, country championships... Oceania's gets tacked on right at the start of the season and there's just no room for the old carnival racing anymore.
"I think this is probably for your domestic team for track cycling the worst it has been... This weekend there's some track racing on in Ararat and Ballarat - my young guys have just said they're tired and over it and do they have to go and race.
"That wouldn't have happened in the past. The championships would have still been coming and all these carnival races would have been the path towards the championships. Now that they're on after the championships because they can't be before because of Tour Down Under and everything it really makes things hard to try and get guys motivated to front up.
"We've still got a great national identification program, we're going to have the big stars that are racing in Europe, we're still going to get people coming into the sport and it's almost in spite of our domestic scene."
Crisis, or just evolution?
Stephen Wooldridge, four-time team pursuit world champion and Olympic gold medallist in the same event, told Cyclingnews that while he understands where McGrory's comments are coming from, Australia's depth on the track is at a high not seen in over a decade.
"On one hand there may be not the strength in carnivals compared to what it used to be; the sport's making it up on the other side," he explained. "People are now riding the track all year round whereas before they'd probably hang the track bike up in February or March and wouldn't dust it off until September or October.
"The dynamics of the whole sport have changed. I'd love to see carnivals back at their glory days... but as a whole we're very strong."
Wooldridge, now a director on the Cycling Australia board, said that there was plenty of reason to be confident in the nation's future on the track following the performances at last week's national titles.
"Let's not squabble over numbers, the depth of the sprinters I think it's the best depth they've seen at a national titles for 10-15 years back to the [Darryn] Hill- [Gary] Neiwand days. Just to get through to the top eight, the times are incredible.
"It's not just two guys that are able to be world champions, there are eight or 10."
- Article published:
- February 14, 2011, 20:16
New design ready for Track World Cup in Manchester
Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Jason Kenny will strut their stuff in brand new kit at this weekend's UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester, United Kingdom. The three are part of Sky Track Cycling, the team formerly known as Team Sky+HD which was launched in 2008.
The new red and black adidas skinsuits, each one personalised to the rider, are a marked change from the superhero-themed black and blue kit which has been worn by the team for the last two and a half years. The new look is in line with that of the road team, Sky Pro Cycling, and it also features the SkyRide logo in order to promote the family oriented mass participation rides of the same name.
Besides Hoy, Pendleton and Kenny, Sky Track Cycling includes Olympic silver medallist Ross Edgar, BMX world champion Shanaze Reade and young sprint star Matt Crampton
"It's a really classic design, which is simple and understated, and a lot of work has gone into getting it perfect," said Hoy. "We're excited about racing in our new helmets and clothing - it'll be good to come out looking smart and ready to go."