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Track Cycling News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, March 25, 2010

Date published:
March 25, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Keisse likely out of Track Worlds after training crash

    Belgium's Iljo Keisse (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    March 22, 2010, 20:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Suspected broken collarbone for Belgium's medal hopeful

    The Belgian track team for the UCI World Championships was gutted on Monday after its rider Iljo Keisse suffered a crash during a training session in Copenhagen's Ballerup Arena and is suspected to have a broken collarbone.

    Keisse was the team's hopeful for medals in the men's Madison and points race. He had also recently stepped into the ProTour ranks on the road with the Quick Step team.

    Belgium had already suffered the loss of Dominique Cornu, who last year placed third in the individual pursuit but felt that his form was not good enough to justify the trip to Copenhagen.

    Kenny de Ketele also pulled out after being diagnosed with mononucleosis.

    The loss leaves three male riders for Belgium at the championships: Ingmar De Poortere, Tim Mertens and Jonathan Dufrasne.

  • New Zealand still working on final track worlds lineup

    The New Zealand men's team sprint team begins its winning ride.
    Article published:
    March 23, 2010, 8:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team events pose selection challenges for Kiwis

    The New Zealand national team head coach Tim Carswell is still working on his final team selections ahead of the UCI World Track Cycling Championships which begin in Copenhagen on Thursday.

    Carswell and fellow coaches Dayle Cheatley and Justin Grace are still trying to work out the starters for the various events. "The team has settled in well here. It's a bit of a major exercise getting everything unloaded and set-up, but the track sessions have been very good since we have arrived," Carswell said.

    "It is definitely going to be our toughest job to make the final decisions on who will start in the team pursuits, team sprints and some of the individual events because there is so little separating the riders."

    The men's sprint team will come from a young group containing junior world champions Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell, national champion Eddie Dawkins, keirin star Simon Van Velthooven and Commonwealth Games representative Adam Stewart.

    Mitchell, Webster and Dawkins set a new national mark of 44.632 in February.

    There is no doubt, however, that defending world champion Alison Shanks will seek to repeat last year's performance in the 3000m individual pursuit in the opening session.

    Carswell said he is expecting tremendous competition at these world championships.

    "Everyone is here. Many of the medallists from Beijing who bypassed last year's worlds are back in Copenhagen including the likes of Chris Hoy.

    "We've taken the chance to check out some of the other training sessions and the pursuits in particular, are going to be very, very close between the top teams. They all look very impressive."

    Carswell said he is unlikely to experiment with saving a key rider for the medal round in the team pursuits, and will go in with the best squads possible in qualifying.

    "We have to nail our best time in the morning qualifying. We won't even concern ourselves about the medal rides until we have...

  • Belgium moves quickly to replace injured Keisse

    Tim Mertens (Belgium) leads the field in the men's Madison qualifier
    Article published:
    March 23, 2010, 9:53 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Schets to fly in for Madison, De Poortere and Mertens do double duty

    Belgium's male track cyclists will face a heavier workload at this week's World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark as they reshuffle their riders to replace the injured Iljo Keisse.

    Keisse was ruled out of the championships after breaking his collarbone in a training crash at the Ballerup Arena, Copenhagen on Monday. The Quick Step rider had been scheduled to race a busy programme that included the point and scratch races, as well as the Madison.

    "Months and months of work for this event and then in a moment it was all over," said Keisse, as he described the incident. "I was on Jonathan Dufrasne’s wheel and we were pedalling at over 60km/h when all of a sudden he fell. We were going too fast and there was nothing I could do to avoid the crash. I knew right away my collarbone was broken.

    "I’m really sad and disappointed. Everyone knows how much these World Championships meant to me. I’d been working up to them for a long time."

    Keisse's forced withdrawal comes after Belgium's other major medal hope, Dominique Cornu, was ruled out of squad as he continues his recovery from illness. The Belgian Cycling Federation's (KBWB) Sports Director Jos Smets told Cyclingnews on Tuesday that the team remained focused, despite the latest setback.

    "The guys are still very motivated. For sure, we've had a lot of bad luck," he said. "It's not ideal, but it's better now than before the Olympics, for example. The athletes know what they have to do and realise that this is a part of sport."

    Steve Schets has been drafted in to replace Keisse in the Madison, where he will partner Ingmar De Poortere. Schets, who is currently competing at the Tour of Normandy in France, will join the Belgian team in Copenhagen on Wednesday.

    De Poortere will also now compete in the points race, in addition to his commitments in the Madison and men's 4000 metre individual pursuit. Belgium's omnium representative Tim...

  • Track hopefuls fine-tune in Copenhagen ahead of Worlds

    The French team rides the rail - giving a good view of their new kit design.
    Article published:
    March 23, 2010, 18:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Photo gallery from training sessions at Ballerup Arena

    Riders of the 2010 UCI Track World Championships were making last minute adjustments and warming up their legs for the upcoming start of the event tomorrow. 

    The first session begins with the women's individual pursuit qualifiers, where defending champion Alison Shanks of New Zealand will hope to fend off the challenge of Olympic silver medalist Wendy Houvenaghel (Great Britain), two-time winner Sarah Hammer (USA) and Canada's Tara Whitten.

    Tomorrow evening will see an important showdown between the British sprinters and their French, German and Austalian rivals in the men's team sprint. 

    Defending points race champion Cameron Meyer will start that event with bib number 1, while Australian Anna Meares will look to recapture the title in the women's 500m time trial from last year's winner Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaitė.

    Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage from the event. Live streaming will also be available on the web site.

    Wednesday, March 24

    500m time trial - Women
    Points race - Men
    Individual pursuit - Women
    Team sprint - Men

    Thursday, March 25

    Scratch race - Men
    Team sprint - Women
    Individual pursuit - Men
    Team pursuit - Women
    Keirin - Men

    Friday, March 26

    Kilometer time trial - Men
    Scratch race - Women
    Team pursuit - Men

    Saturday, March 27

    Madison - Men
    Omnium - Women
    Sprint - Women

    Sunday, March 28

    Points race - Women
    Omnium - Men
    Keirin - Women
    Sprint - Men

  • Shanks looking to defend individual pursuit title

    Alison Shanks (New Zealand)
    Article published:
    March 24, 2010, 4:41 GMT
    Cycling News

    World champion leading young squad in Copenhagen

    Alison Shanks hopes to retain her individual pursuit title at this week’s International Cycling Union (UCI) World Track Championships, despite finishing runner-up at her last outing against Wendy Houvenaghel. While the British rider took the gold medal home from the Track World Cup round in Melbourne, Australia late last year, New Zealand’s Shanks believes her worlds training will hold her in good stead.

    “I’ve laid down a really good base, with more strength and endurance work than ever before,” said Shanks. “The speed phase has gone really well and I am looking forward to the competition.”

    Shanks is one of the most experienced riders in New Zealand’s squad for the Copenhagen, Denmark event. Shanks won the 3000m individual pursuit title at last year’s event in Poland after breaking the 3:30 minute barrier for the first time.

    Shanks will be joined in the event by compatriot Jaime Nielsen, a former world under-23 champion rower who took up cycling less than two years ago.

    Adam Stewart has been awarded the final spot in the men’s team sprint squad, joining triple world junior champion Sam Webster and national sprint and kilo champion Eddie Dawkins. Stewart won the start over Aucklander Ethan Mitchell, who was part of the world junior champion team sprint combination last year.

    New Zealand national coach Tim Carswell explained the choice to use Stewart over Mitchell, who will contest the men’s sprint and the kilo. “There was very little between the two of them. With all of our trials and testing the pair of them were so similar but in this instance Stewart has got the nod with his experience and he provides a really good platform as the vital lead-off rider,” he said.

    Jayco Bay Cycling Classic stage winner Tom Scully will make his elite world championships debut in the points race. Scully has enjoyed a remarkable rise, winning five medals in...

  • Phinney eyes double gold in Copenhagen

    Taylor Phinney (USA) won the men's individual pursuit final at the 2009 track world championships.
    Article published:
    March 24, 2010, 17:39 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    US rider wants pursuit, omnium titles

    US rider Taylor Phinney is looking to claim two gold medals at the Track Worlds Championships, which began today in Copenhagen. Phinney will compete in the Individual Pursuit – as the defending champion - and the Omnium, but with the Pursuit having been culled from the Olympic programme for 2012, he admitted that it could be the last of his career, even if he breaks the world record.

    Phinney arrived in Copenhagen on Sunday, having spent a week in Italy training on the track and getting used to the shift in time zone. "We came for week before worlds," he told Cyclingnews. "It's just me, my coach and my mom."

    Phinney was shocked when the men's Individual Pursuit was dropped from the Olympic programme last year's, signing a petition to keep it alive. When asked if Copenhagen could be his last pursuit outing he was unsure but unable to rule out the possibility.

    "It depends on how fast I go. If I go really fast and I win then it could be my last and I just focus on the road and the Omnium but I haven't thought that far ahead yet. I'm just looking at going as fast as I can here."

    And going as fast as he can might mean breaking the world record still held by Chris Boardman who raced using the now-illegal Superman position in 1996 and posted a time of 4:11. Phinney believes that Boardman's time is out of reach but that a non-Superman time is possible.

    "I think that the non-superman position record is something I can do but the superman record… I'm a little bit doubtful about that one. Unless superman himself lined up at the race I don't think it can be beaten. But the non-superman position is something think I'm aiming for and in my second ride, not my qualifying round. That's when it matters the most."

    Phinney might not have everything all his own way though. Jack Bobridge posted a scintillating time of 4:14.4 last month and goes into the pursuit as a real threat to Phinney's championship bid.

  • Australians net two golds in track worlds opener

    Cameron Meyer (Australia) repeats as points race world champion
    Article published:
    March 24, 2010, 21:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Meares, Meyer magnets for gold

    The opening night of the UCI Track World Championships saw Australia showing signs of regaining its position as dominant nation in the sport, with Anna Meares and Cameron Meyer both claiming gold medals.

    Meares kicked off the 'Cyclones' strong start with a victory in the women's 500m time trial. A two-time world champion, Meares holds the last Olympic title in the event, having won gold in Athens before the event was struck from the programme. She was thrilled to add another rainbow jersey in the discipline with a perfectly executed two-lap race.

    "When I crossed the line and saw the 33.3 I thought it was a great time, but I wasn't sure that was going to win it," said Meares. "It was so tight, right down to the line but I'm so pleased that I've won this."

    World record holder Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) fell just shy of retaining her rainbow jersey, clocking a 33.462 to Meares' 33.381, while Belarus' Olga Panarina claimed the bronze.

    Krupeckaite set the night's fastest final half-lap, but it wasn't enough to get ahead of Meares who was faster in all previous time checks. "She actually comes home harder in the second lap than she does going out in the first lap so I thought that I was actually in quite significant trouble," added the Australian.

    "It was a little bit unlucky for her not to come home as strongly as she normally does, but credit to her. She's a phenomenal rider, and for me to beat her I feel quite privileged.

    Meyer defends points race title

    Adding further reason for the Australians to celebrate was 22-year-old Cameron Meyer, who followed up on Meares' success by winning his second consecutive points race title in a commanding fashion.

    Meyer was one of four riders to finish the race a lap ahead of the rest of the field, but was the only rider to gain two laps, netting a 20-point bonus for each lap. With that and four sprint wins and numerous placings along the...

  • Shanks shattered after missing pursuit medals

    Alison Shanks (New Zealand) missed out on a medal in the women's 3,000m individual pursuit.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2010, 8:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Disappointing fourth place for defending champion

    Allison Shanks knew defending her individual pursuit world championship in Copenhagen, Denmark this week was a tough asking, but the New Zealand rider was left shattered after missing the top three. Shanks made the bronze medal ride off but despite being half a second quicker than her opponent Vilija Sereikaite earlier in the day, failed to match the Lithuanian in the final ride.

    Despite the disappointment Shanks is looking forward to the women’s team pursuit today, according to New Zealand women’s coach Dayle Cheatley.

    “She came here to win another rainbow jersey and felt her training was right on schedule to give that a good shot,” Cheatley said after the race. “She is bitterly disappointed and right now is shattered.

    “Although it is a big disappointment for what she came here to achieve, she has already steeled herself to refocus for the women’s team pursuit tomorrow, which is the big goal now and she has a vital role to play there,” he said.

    American rider Sarah Hammer won the women’s individual pursuit gold medal, while Wendy Houvenaghel (Great Britain) took silver. Shanks expected a close battle with Houvenaghel for the gold medal heading into the event.