By Gennie Sheer
Reigning points race World Champion Kate Bates (T-Mobile) claimed third place and captured Australia's only medal on day two of racing in the UCI Track World Cup in Beijing.
Bates rebounded after a disappointing showing last week at the Sydney World Cup to collect a bronze medal in the women's points race. She made her presence felt in a hard fought 20 kilometre, 80 lap race with sprints for points every twenty laps. The race win went to Dutch sensation, Marianne Vos with Cuba's Yoanka Gonzalez Perez in second.
"I was pretty disappointed last week and tonight is certainly a confidence boost because this is where the Olympics will be," said Bates. "I think I picked my act up a bit this week and really had to tough it out."
The Sydney rider acknowledged that the pressure of being the reigning World Champion and racing in front of her home crowd last weekend affected her more than she expected it would.
"I wouldn't have admitted going into Sydney that I felt that pressure but my reaction after the event - I was just glad it was over," said Bates. "I've waited my whole career to get a stripey jersey (World Champion's rainbow striped jersey) but the pressure I put on myself to defend it in Sydney was too much.
"Now here I proved I have the stripes for a reason and could show everybody exactly why I do," she explained. "I made a really positive step tonight in doing that."
However because of Bates' Sydney woes her schedule of racing has been amended and she now expects to race the third round of the series in Los Angeles in January.
"That wasn't the original plan but hopefully I can get on the podium there as well," she said. "It's a unique opportunity to have the World Champion's jersey leading into an Olympic year and I want to make the most of that and use the pressure that put me off a bit last week to really motivate me and get me going."
Bates brought Australia's medal tally to one gold, one silver, and two bronze medals with one day of competition remaining. Competition in Beijing will wrap up Sunday with the women's keirin and men's sprint and Madison.