The French track sprint team of Grégory Baugé, Kevin Sireau and Mickaël Bourgain defended their title as World Champions in Polish Pruszkow yesterday. Notably competing against the UK squad – which snatched the Olympic honours from the French in Beijing last year – the trio dominated the riders from the United Kingdom for the fourth time in a row at a World Championship.
"We didn't want to let this title go easily!" said Baugé. "I wasn't the only one thinking like this – the others, too, were motivated."
Sireau felt the same. "I felt more emotions than last year," he said. "It reminded me of the Games, of the confrontations with the British throughout last year. It was essential to win."
In the qualifying round, the team scored the fastest time with the help of Michaël d'Almeida, who was replaced by Mickaël Bourgain for the finale. "The roles were reversed this time," explained Bourgain, who had been replaced twice last year at the Worlds and the Olympics. "I was the reserve rider and wondered if I wasn't going to go back to the hotel... I can imagine how Michael felt. On the podium, there can be only three. But you shouldn't forget that it was him who qualified the team for the finale. We raced with four riders!"
This World Championship title is the ninth gold medal for the French team sprint since 1997. The British team of Matt Crampton, Jason Kenny and Jamie Staff was however without Chris Hoy. If you think this worked for the French, discuss it in our track forum.