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Track News & Racing Round-up, Friday, March 12, 2010

Date published:
March 12, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Meyer, Lampater, Howard lead Bendigo entry list

    Leigh Howard (Team HTC - Columbia) wins the sprint.
    Article published:
    March 05, 2010, 0:31 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Bendigo set for big weekend of racing

    A big weekend of cycling commences this evening with a one hour criterium on a hot dog circuit in the regional Australian town of Bendigo. The criterium, which will feature a field of 75 men, is a precursor to the weekend’s main attraction – the two day Bendigo International Madison track carnival.

    German duo Leif Lampater and Christian Grassman enter the event as the top seeded riders. The duo is fresh off their victory at last weekend’s Melbourne Madison. Lampater/Grassman is just one of the German combinations taking part in Bendigo, with Marc Sanwald and Sebastian Latz also making the trip down to Australia.

    Lampater finished third at last year’s event and will again face stiff competition for Sunday’s Madison win. After finishing one and two with different team-mates last year, Leigh Howard will partner Cameron Meyer for this year’s race in a pairing that will be hard to beat.

    New Zealand will also be well represented at the event, with Hayden Godfrey keen to get more track miles under his belt ahead of this month’s world championships after being hit by a car last month. While Godfrey will pair with Myron Simpson, compatriots Shane Archbold and Tom Scully will unite for the Madison race.

    Rockhampton’s Miles Olman has drawn a strong partner for the race in Tour de France stage winner Leon Van Bon.

    While the Madison is the weekend’s main attraction, the competition will be no less in tonight’s criterium, which starts at 6:30 local time. Tour of Oman stage winner Howard will be keen to take the win over Meyer, having out-paced Tom Boonen at the United Arab Emirates race last month.

    There’s a host of local riders that will also be keen to upstage the present ProTour riders, like Jackson Law.

    See the full start list for the Bendigo International Criterium and

  • Phinney to defend world pursuit title in Copenhagen

    Taylor Phinney (USA) won the men's individual pursuit final at the 2009 track world championships.
    Article published:
    March 05, 2010, 21:20 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    USA Cycling names eight athletes to national team for world championships

    Defending individual pursuit champion Taylor Phinney will head the eight-person US National Team for the upcoming UCI Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 24-28.

    The 19-year-old Phinney earned an automatic nomination by virtue of his status as defending champion. Last year, the young rider became the first American male to win an elite track world championship title in 13 years. In addition to defending his pursuit title, he will also contest the omnium event in Copenhagen.

    Discretionary nominees Daniel Holloway, Colby Pearce (Big Shark Bicycle Company) and Giddeon Massie (Bike Religion) round out the men's team. Holloway will contest the scratch race and then team up with Pearce for the Madison. Massie will compete in the sprint and kilometer time trial.

    Sarah Hammer received the only automatic nomination to the women's squad by clocking a 3:27 to win the individual pursuit at the World Cup in Cali, Columbia, earlier this season. The two-time World Champion will compete for a third rainbow jersey in the individual pursuit and will also contest the omnium event.

    The other women representing the US - both discretionary nominees, will be Lauren Tamayo (Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12) and Dotsie Bausch (ATF-Empower Coaching Systems) will join Hammer for the team pursuit event.

    Finally, Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12), who is fresh off the overall win at the Women's Tour of New Zealand, will compete in the points race and scratch race in Copenhagen.

    With only 20 days to go before the hunt for medals, the newly sanded velodrome is undergoing final preparations to host the world's best track racers.

    Copenhagen is the only city in the world appointed as a "Bike City" by the UCI. Between 2008 and 2011, Copenhagen is hosting six major international cycling events.

  • Downpour cancels Bendigo Madison, criterium

    Glenn O'Shea and Leigh Howard
    Article published:
    March 08, 2010, 8:22 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Weather system forces first cancellation in 39-year history

    A big weekend of racing in Bendigo was spoilt by heavy downpours, with both Friday night’s criterium and Sunday’s Bendigo Madison cancelled by the organiser. While a super-cell thunderstorm hit Victoria’s capital city, the regional town of Bendigo received 59 mm of rain in 48 hours.

    With a weekend of racing already scheduled, Friday’s criterium couldn’t be rescheduled. Organisers had initially hoped to move the Bendigo Madison to Monday evening, however the schedule of overseas competitors and ambulance availability forced the organising committee to completely abandon this year’s race.

    Bendigo International Madison committee chairman Warren Sinnott said the issue of weather will be looked at going forward. While the much-needed rain was welcomed by Sinnott, he was nonetheless disappointed with the outcome.

    "It’s just disappointing that overseas riders did not get the chance to compete here and people didn’t get to see these world champions like Cam Meyer and Leigh Howard," he told The Advertiser. "It would have been Leigh’s third if he had won tonight and these are just things you won’t see, which is really disappointing.

    "We know that it’s out of our control, but in this case it’s just a matter of letting it go and concentrating on 2011," he added.

    Some big names had traveled to the regional Victorian town for this year’s event, including: Christian Grassman, Leif Lampater, Hayden Godfrey, Cameron Meyer, Leigh Howard, Leon Van Bon and Tom Scully.

    It’s not the first race to be battered by massive weather systems this year, with Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne being staged during a European storm that claimed the lives of over 60 people. While nearly 200 people started the race, just 26 made the finish line.

  • Travis Smith leads Canadian sprint team to worlds

    Travis Smith took bronze for Canada in the 2006 Commonwealth Games keirin
    Article published:
    March 09, 2010, 21:00 GMT
    Scott Patton

    Veteran sprinter finds success in new program

    For the past six years, Travis Smith has been the top-ranked Canadian sprinter. Winning two Commonwealth Games medals, seventeen national championships and traveling to countless international competitions – Smith has focused primarily on Sprint and Keirin events.

    This year, Smith’s focus for the World Championships in Copenhagen is leading the Canadian Team Sprint team. This change is due primarily to hiring of Richard Wooles as the Canadian Cycling National Track Coach.

    “When Canadian Cycling hired Wooles, they really changed the game. Wooles has brought new vision and direction to our team” said Smith. “The coaching staff has put a huge focus on the team events. Team Sprint and Team Pursuit for both men and women. Richard is a firm believer in qualifying for the Olympics through the team events. This is a huge change from the past when I was the only Canadian sprinter going to races by myself.”

    Smith joined the Canadian National team in 2004. Over the next two years he competed at the top level of track cycling, competing in World Cups and World Championships around the world.

    The 2006 Commonwealth games were the highlight of the Smith's career. "Earning a Silver medal in the Keirin and a Bronze medal in the Sprints was awesome! In Canada – that is worth more than winning a World Championship." he explains. "It was the culmination of four years of hard work. I went into the Commonwealth games full of speed and confidence. It all really paid off."

    The progression did not continue into 2007, unfortunately. "I basically hit a huge plateau. I tried everything. I changed coaches, tried new training techniques, but nothing worked. I wasn't getting any faster. It was very frustrating"

    The season would end on a sour note. At the UCI Track World Championships in Palma de Majorca, Spain, Smith was involved in a bad crash in an early Keirin round. The crash resulted in an...

  • Australian cycling legend passes away

    Article published:
    March 10, 2010, 6:04 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lionel Cox: A life dedicated to the bike

    Australian cycling legend Lionel Cox died overnight at the age of 80 following a bout of pneumonia. The Olympic gold medalist suffered a stroke last year and never fully recovered good health.

    Cox rose to prominence by winning gold in the tandem with Russell Mockridge at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics before taking silver in the sprint behind legendary Italian star Enzo Sacchi at the same meet.

    What made his performance so outstanding was that the young New South Welshman had never ridden a tandem, using one of the British team's rejected tandems to win the gold medal.

    Four years later Cox missed selection for the Melbourne Olympics held in his home country of Australia, when he was beaten by Dick Ploog for the national title and hence a place in the team for the Games.

    His career came to an end when he crashed at the Balmoral track in Brisbane, breaking a vertebra in his neck. He went on to train and mentor many young riders and continued to be a great ambassador for the sport.

    Cyclingnews sends its deepest condolences to the Cox family

    Obituary courtesy of Phill Bates

  • Spanish Olympian Escuredo retires

    José Antonio Escuredo won the silver in the keirin at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
    Article published:
    March 10, 2010, 8:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    Track sprinter bows out with strong words

    Spanish track sprinter José Antonio Escuredo has announced his retirement at the age of 39. After almost three decades of racing that has brought him a silver medal in the keirin at the 2004 Athens Olympics, silvers at the World Championships in the same discipline in 2004 and 2006, 10 World Cup victories and no fewer than 31 Spanish titles, three of which he still holds, Escuredo has decided to quit having been hampered in recent months by persistent injuries.

    "I haven't been able to train for months now, so I want to announce my decision to retire from competition after almost three decades of devoting myself to it with heart and soul," said Escuredo. "A decision like this is always difficult to take and even more so in my case since injuries and numerous crashes in recent times have not allowed me to demonstrate the level I've been at with results."

    The Spaniard added: "In spite of this, my preference is to bow out in this way when I'm still in good physical shape. I'm still the reigning Spanish champion in the three track sprint disciplines which I've focused on in recent years – the keirin, individual sprint and team sprint."

    Escuredo also made clear he is less than impressed with the performance of the Spanish track team's support staff. He stated that "the difficulties that the national track team is experiencing" had also played a role in his decision.

    "I don't want this to sound like the principal motive for my retirement, nor as criticism of the federation, nor as personal criticism of the national coach, but it is clear there is a bad atmosphere in the team and a total lack of knowledge within the national team's technical staff towards track racing in general and the sprint disciplines in particular."

    After that swipe at those running Spain's track program, Escuredo concluded by saying: "Apart from all that, looking back I want to say that I am happy and very satisfied with what I've achieved...

  • Queally takes aim at British team pursuit spot

    Jason Queally
    Article published:
    March 11, 2010, 10:00 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Briton swaps kilo for endurance discipline

    Former Olympic champion Jason Queally has confirmed he is aiming for selection for the British team pursuit squad for this month's International Cycling Union (UCI) Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    News of Queally's proposed return from retirement and move from sprint to endurance racing follows on from the stunning success of South Australian kilo rider James Glasspool's inclusion in his state's team pursuit squad at the recent Australian national track titles. While Glasspool was used to establish a fast base for his teammates in the first half of the 4000 metre event, Queally indicated to The Guardian that he will be looking to make a more complete transition to the discipline.

    "It's tough making the transition but my physiological make-up lends itself to it. As a kilometre rider my strength was the last lap," he told the newspaper. "The big issue for me is pacing, because you need to ride at a consistent pace and I tend to go too hard, which has an impact on the guys behind me."

    Queally, 39, was the winner of the penultimate Olympic kilo in Sydney, in 2000. After missing out on selection for the event in Athens four years later, and his nation's sprint squad for the Beijing Olympic Games, Queally announced his retirement from international competition and had been aiming for London's 2012 Paralympics as a tandem pilot for Anthony Kappes. However, Queally is now firmly focused on making the cut for the Olympic quartet in three years time.

    "It's going to be really tough because there are riders like Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins who are not in contention for places at present and guys like Andy Tennant are going faster all the time," he said.

    But the temporary absence of Thomas and Wiggins does open a window of opportunity for Queally to break into the British team pursuit squad at an international level. He is likely to have two bites at the apple this year, through the English team for the...

  • Great Britain announce team for World Championships

    Jason Queally
    Article published:
    March 12, 2010, 11:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Queally returns with Pendleton and Hoy adding experience

    British Cycling has announced a team of 19 riders for the up-coming track World Championships, taking place on 24 - 28 March 2010, in Copenhagen.

    Jason Queally will make a return to the boards after retiring in 2008 and is set to compete in the Team Pursuit. Queally, 39, was the winner of the penultimate Olympic kilo in Sydney, in 2000. After missing out on selection for the same event in Athens four years later, and after failing to make the GB sprint squad for the Beijing Olympic Games, Queally announced his retirement from international competition. He had been aiming for London's 2012 Paralympics as a tandem pilot for Anthony Kappes.

    “At 40, I was never going to get an opportunity like this again. Even if I don’t make it to London, I know I have had the opportunity to go for it. If I’m successful, fantastic, if not, I have given it my best shot," he said.

    Sir Chris Hoy will also compete at the World Championships after missing the event last year due to injury. Current Olympic and World Champion Victoria Pendleton will be looking to retain her title in the Sprint, whilst the trio of Lizzie Armitstead, Wendy Houvenaghel and Joanna Rowsell will be aiming to defend their World Champion title in the Women’s Team Pursuit, having already broken the World Record at the Manchester round of the World Cup in October.

    Full GB Squad

    Men’s Sprint
    Matt Crampton
    Dave Daniell
    Ross Edgar
    Chris Hoy
    Jason Kenny

    Men’s Endurance
    Steven Burke
    Ed Clancy
    Chris Newton
    Jason Queally
    Ben Swift
    Andy Tennant

    Women’s Sprint

    Rebecca James
    Victoria Pendleton
    Jess Varnish

    Women’s Endurance
    Lizzie Armitstead
    Anna Blyth
    Katie Colclough
    Wendy Houvenaghel
    Joanna Rowsell