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Track Cycling News & Racing Round-up, Monday, March 29, 2010

Date published:
March 29, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Brailsford not worried by day one performances

    British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford
    Article published:
    March 25, 2010, 10:40 GMT
    Shane Stokes

    Insists building towards London 2012 is biggest priority

    Given the team's huge medal haul in recent years, observers were a little surprised at Great Britain's performance on day one of the track world championships. While big rival Australia took gold medals in the points race (with Cameron Meyer) and the women's 500 metre TT (Anna Meares), the highlights for the GB team were Wendy Houvenaghel's silver medal in the individual pursuit and bronze in the team sprint with Jason Kenny, Chris Hoy and Ross Edgar.

    It was the first time in six years that the British riders did not reach the final round in the team sprint. Performance director Dave Brailsford might have been expected to be slightly disappointed, but he said that the opposite was the case.

    "I'm very happy," he insisted to Cyclingnews. "Our real concern were the Olympic events, and obviously the only Olympic event tonight was the team sprint. We had been particularly worried about Jamie [Staff] and losing our man one to injury. So one of the most important things today was Jason Kenny in that position. Not only did he step up and deliver, he did phenomenally well with a time of 17.2. I'm very happy about that."

    The team dominated the track worlds in 2008 and then the Olympic Games later that year. That inevitably increased expectations and while 2009 saw the squad back off slightly in a post-Games reaction, many anticipated that the team would pick things up again here in Copenhagen.

    When asked where Britain's best medal chances would lie in the days ahead, Brailsford refused to be drawn on making predictions. The priority, he insisted, was on building towards London 2012.

    "From our point of view, we are still really looking at things like man one in team sprint, how we are going to move that forward. That is the sort of level we are focusing on," he said. "We are not particularly concerned about a medal tally. To be honest, are we concerned about the points, are we concerned about individual pursuit women, are we...

  • French sprint team disappointed

    The German team on the top podium spot for the men's team sprint, France got the silver with Great Britain having to settle for the bronze medal.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2010, 11:00 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner and Susan Westemeyer

    Germany upsets France at Worlds, Britain third

    The French sprint squad experienced a bitter setback at the 2010 Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, when they were beaten by Germany in the men's team sprint on Wednesday. The experienced squad, used to scoring the gold medal in the discipline every year since 2006, missed out on the top step of the podium by two hundredths to the German combination.

    After having clocked the best time of the qualification heats, the French trio of Grégory Baugé, Kévin Sireau and Michael d'Almeida was "disappointed" by their performance in the final. Especially Baugé, whose performance as first rider did not live up to expectations.

    "I'm very, very disappointed," he told French press agency AFP. "The German démarreur [starter - the first rider of the team sprint, in this case Robert Förstemann - ed.] went off very fast. He already showed some really good performances in the World Cup. I didn't achieve the best time and this hurt the team, even if Kévin (Sireau) accelerated again and Michael (d'Almeida) anchored it really well."

    Indeed, Baugé passed on the relay to Sireau 19 hundredths of a second adrift of the German team, a deficit that would eventually cost them the gold medal. Sireau made up three hundredths of a second on his direct rival, Maximilian Levy, and D'Almeida again produced a stellar performance against Kilo World Champ Stefan Nimke, but it was not enough.

    Baugé's trainer, Florian Rousseau, explained that the Frenchman from the Caribbean island of Guadedoupe wasn't able to prepare himself for the Worlds as he'd wanted because of a shoulder injury in late January. "For several weeks, he couldn't work his starts properly," Rousseau said. "In the qualifying, he showed off a good performance, but 17.440 in the final is of course not Greg's best because his record is 17.200."

    "The Germans were very strong, you have to accept it," added...

  • Hammer over injury, back up to speed

    Sarah Hammer (USA) proudly displays the gold medal she won in the women's 3,000m individual pursuit.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2010, 17:34 GMT
    Shane Stokes

    Will lead US team pursuit squad in bronze medal fight this evening

    This evening Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch and Lauren Tamayo have a chance to make US track history when they aim to be the first from the country to land a medal in the women's team pursuit. Hammer helped drive the trio to fourth in today's qualifiers, and they will ride off against New Zealand for a medal this evening.

    Hammer showed that she is back to top form yesterday when she took her third world title, beating Wendy Houvenaghel (Great Britain) by almost four seconds in the gold medal final.

    It marked an end to a long, frustrating period for the rider from Temecula, California, who was world champion in 2006 and 2007, but who was then sidelined by back problems. These affected her preparation for the Beijing Olympics, where she finished in fifth place in the pursuit and then crashed out of the points race, breaking her collarbone.

    Hammer has worked hard to get back on track and has showed in the past two days that she has succeeded in that aim. She paid credit to massage therapist Doug Thralls just before receiving her new rainbow jersey, saying that he, and others, played an important part in her rehabilitation.

    "I'd like to thank this guy right here," she said, pointing to Thralls. "I wouldn't be able to do it without him. We even flew him over to Switzerland a month and a half ago...that is how much I need him. He has been a huge part of me getting back. I have to take care of my back on a daily basis; I have to be smart about it, as it still does act up."

    Hammer's back first really flared up in May 2007 when on her road bike, but she said that it was an ongoing problem that suddenly worsened rather than something which came out of the blue.

    "It was a road race that completely made it bother me, messed it up, but I always had a nagging issue," she admitted, speaking of the issues which resulted in an annular tear in her L4/L5 disc. "It came from not being smart with things when I was younger, and just not...

  • Excitement gets the better of disappointed Bobridge

    Jack Bobridge (Australia) on his way to third place in the men's pursuit qualifying.
    Article published:
    March 26, 2010, 0:16 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Bronze medallist holding his head high

    Jack Bobridge entered the UCI Track World Championships with gold medal expectations, but his excitement cost him a place in the gold medal final. Bobridge hit out hard in the 4km individual pursuit qualifying, but far too hard for the South Australian to sustain the effort and he subsequently faded towards the end and failed to qualify for the gold medal final.

    "I always come to the worlds thinking to stand on top of the podium for first," said Bobridge. "I'm not going to lie, definitely disappointed with my effort this morning - a bit carried away and a bit excited. I'll learn from my mistakes and you never know after a few years on the road I might be able to start that fast and finish that fast as well.

    "But to stand on third, I still got a medal and I got on the podium and [I have my] head held high," he added.

    The 20-year-old was so determined to register a strong qualifying time that his second kilometre of 1:01.483 had him on track to better Chris Boardman’s world record time, set in 1996 using the now banned superman position. Bobridge while disappointed was able to joke about his mistake afterward, acknowledging that the excitement had impacted his performance.

    "I was travelling to beat Boardman by nearly two seconds at the 2k mark," said Bobridge. "The day when I can finish at that pace will be the day I can get the world record, until then [I'll] go back to the basics and control my first k and second k and see what I can get out of it."

    America’s Taylor Phinney won the gold medal race from New Zealand’s Jesse Sergent. Bobridge took a comfortable victory in the bronze medal race, more than three seconds up on Russian Alexander Serov.

    The second day of racing in Copenhagen, Denmark was still a successful outing for the Australian squad, which added another two gold medals to its tally. Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch defended their team sprint world title before the women’s team...

  • Meyer to target more gold medals, then head to Giro

    Cameron Meyer (Australia) repeats as points race world champion
    Article published:
    March 26, 2010, 4:13 GMT
    Shane Stokes

    Dominant display in points race attributed to strong road programme

    Cameron Meyer took one of Australia’s two gold medals on opening day of the world track championships in Ballerup, Copenhagen, dominating the points race on Wednesday. The 22-year-old is likely to ride two more events and will aim to use his sparkling form to good effect in those.

    “We have got the team pursuit on Friday,” he said. “We have got a really strong lineup, although I don’t yet know what the actual starting lineup is going to be. I could be in that race on Friday and I am sure that the Aussies are going to give it a red-hot crack. Then I have got the Madison where I was a silver medallist with Leigh Howard last year – that’s on Saturday night, and I am really looking forward to that one as well.”

    Twelve months ago, the smooth-pedaling rider took three medals in the world championships in Poland. He took the aforementioned silver with Howard in the Madison, scooped another in the team pursuit, and won the points race. On that occasion his margin of victory was much less; he beat Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Denmark) by two points, and Britain’s Chris Newton by three.

    This time round, he was simply streets ahead of the rest of the field. Early on he picked up 20 points when he and three others lapped the rest of the bunch. Then, in the second half of the race, he sealed his overall victory when he confidently forged clear and gained another lap, solo.

    “I was told by my coach on the sideline that all the guys were tired, but I still had a lot left in me,” he explained. “I sort of rolled away and looked behind and there was no-one with me. So I thought, ‘okay, this is the time to go again’ and so I did.

    “While I was out there, I just controlled my breathing, controlled myself, took the points and took the lap. I knew from there all I had to do was cover the rest of the riders for 30 laps and I had it won.”

  • Successful surgery for Keisse

    A disappointed Iljo Keisse warms down after the Madison.
    Article published:
    March 26, 2010, 16:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Torn shoulder ligaments also repaired

    Quick Step's Iljo Keisse underwent successful surgery yesterday to repair damage caused by a crash in training which knocked him out of the UCI Track World Championships this week.

    The Belgian had been diagnosed with a simple broken collarbone after a training crash Monday in Copenhagen, Denmark. Examinations and x-rays in Herentals, Belgium showed his injuries to be more serious than previously thought. He also suffered torn shoulder ligaments, which had to reinforced with synthetic ligaments.

    “The x-rays taken in Denmark and Herentals are just two different things,” Keisse told the Belga news agency. “In Belgium the doctors found that in addition to the collarbone, my shoulder ligaments were torn. A very different diagnosis to the earlier 'clean break'. “

    During the surgery, six screws were put into the collarbone, and he was given synthetic ligaments. “So the recovery period is now a lot longer than originally thought,” he said.

    For now, he has to rest. Only in four or five days “can I even think of riding my bike on the rollers.” In the meantime, “the pain is seriously violent, but that makes sense after such surgery,” Keisse said.

    He will undergo another examination in mid-april, at which time he hopes to hear when he can start riding again.

    Keisse, 27, was Belgium's top medal candidate in the Madison and points races. On the road, he rides with Team Quick Step.

  • Phinney to continue with pursuit, wants world record

    Taylor Phinney overpowered Jesse Sergent of New Zealand to take the world pursuit title.
    Article published:
    March 27, 2010, 11:00 GMT
    Shane Stokes

    Top US talent will aim for gold in Sunday’s Omnium

    While Taylor Phinney has been a vocal critic of the decision to drop the individual pursuit from the Olympic Games, the talented young American rider has confirmed that he has no plans to give up on the event.

    “My main goal is that world record,” he said. “I don’t think I am going to stop pursuing until I get it. It is so hard, but really rewarding.”

    Several of the big pursuiters in the sport have questioned whether they will continue with the 4000 metre event after it was removed from the Olympic programme. The International Cycling Union (UCI) has increased the number of women’s races and with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not being willing to award more medals, some key contests had to be cut.

    However Phinney’s goal of improving Chris Boardman’s 1996 mark of 4 minutes 11.114 seconds will ensure that he continues to mix road and track for several seasons more. He recorded a time of 4 minutes 16.1 in yesterday’s qualification session, almost a second off his personal best of 4 minutes 15.160 he set in last year’s world championships.

    At this point in time, he is still learning about how to best prepare for the event. Phinney realises that it will take a couple of seasons to work out how to get things exactly right, and to ensure that he continues to get closer to Boardman’s time. While Boardman’s time was set using the now-banned Superman position, Phinney believes it can be beaten under current regulations.

    “In training I have been focussing on the ending efforts. I wanted to go even faster than 4.16 [in the final] but it wasn’t going to happen,” he told Cyclingnews. “I think as I progress, I want to be able to go faster in the finals than in qualifying. So that is something that I look forward to.”

    Finding the best way to mix his road and track careers is also part of the learning process. The two...

  • Track technology disparity UCI's latest target

    British rider Bradley Wiggins winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics on his 'stealth' machine.
    Article published:
    March 29, 2010, 14:39 BST
    Cycling News

    McQuaid 'guarantees' level playing field at London Games

    UCI President Pat McQuaid has warned national cycling federations from Britain, Australia and Germany that the sport's governing body disapproves of 'illegal' advances in technology used to secure their place at the top of the international track cycling tree.

    Speaking at the recent UCI Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, McQuaid told reporters: "It has become apparent to the UCI that over the past few years it [technology in track cycling] has got a little bit out of control."

    According to the AFP news agency, McQuaid believes it's a matter of parity in the lead up to the London Olympics, with the home nation one of the leaders in developing new machines that are superior in weight, material strength and aerodynamics.

    "We sometimes have teams riding on prototypes (bikes) that are costing 50,000 if not in the hundreds of thousands of pounds to develop. That works against the Olympic Charter, it's against UCI rules and it's against the sprit of fair play," said McQuaid.

    "I've written to all the federations and reminded them that any bikes they use must be within the rules as they're laid down."

    Winning the war on technology...

    It's a battle McQuaid and the UCI will likely find difficult to police, with development of cutting edge equipment standard procedure since at least 2004, when Sarah Ulmer broke the women's 3,000m individual pursuit record at the Athens Olympics. She rode an Avanti-branded bike, which in fact was developed in a laboratory with the support of yacht builders who worked on New Zealand's America's Cup-winning entry Black Magic, taking advantage of the latest in composite materials and design.

    For some time the Great Britain squad rode on frames branded 'Dolan', the bicycle company of British builder Terry Dolan. In fact the bikes were constructed using technology seen in Formula 1, and as the Beijing Games approached, the stakes were raised...