Italy savours men’s team pursuit performance despite missing out on ride for bronze
Italy savoured their sixth place in the men’s team pursuit finals after being a late call-up to replace the Russian team but were disappointed to miss out on a place in the ride-off for bronze after being forced to overtake the Chinese riders in the first round and so lose valuable time.
New Zealand qualified for the ride-off for bronze with a time just seven hundredths of a second faster than Italy after racing against Great Britain in their ride. Italy set a new national record of 3:55:724 as they caught and beat China but it was little consolation. Denmark went on to beat New Zealand in the ride-off for bronze, taking the final medal in a time of 03:53.542. Great Britain beat Australia in the race for gold and silver.
Italy was nominated as a late replacement in the team pursuit at the after Russia’s appeal against its exclusion was turned down on the eve of the Games. The Italian track riders –including current individual pursuit world champion Filippo Ganna, had been enjoying a break from racing, with two riders training at altitude in Sestriere and others enjoying a holiday. They quickly travelled to Rio and did some last minute training with coach Marco Villa.
“We probably lost out on a ride for bronze due to overtaking the Chinese but we gave it everything, never hiding behind the excuse that we didn’t do any specific training before Rio,” Villa said.
“These guys are a little innocent and a little crazy but they took on this adventure without making any kind of calculation. They just put their heads done and we got on with it. They’re all young guys and so we can work together for the future and think about Tokyo in 2020.”
Malori completes his recovery after life-threatening crash
Adriano Malori has 'completed his recovery' from a life and career threatening crash in January, according to a statement issued by the Movistar team on Friday.
The Italian suffered head injuries when he hit a pothole at speed and catapulted over his handlebars on the fifth stage of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina earlier this year. He was induced into a coma for a week before being flown back to Spain to begin his recovery.
The 28-year-old was in rehabilitation six hours a day, using specialised methods such as hydrotherapy, virtual reality, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy and neuropsychology, and in April it was said that his recovery was going as well as could have been hoped. Doctors said the neurorehabilitation process would take six to twelve months and that has now been 'completed', according to the team.
A press conference was also announced for August 30 in Italy, where Malori will recount his experiences over the last seven months and, presumably, outline what's in store for him in the future, and whether he'll have the chance to return to racing before the end of the season.
Kenny can win triple gold, says Hoy
Chris Hoy has backed British sprinter Jason Kenny to equal his record tally of six Olympic gold medals by taking a clean sweep of three at the 2016 Games in Rio.
Even before competition got underway in the velodrome on Thursday, Hoy said Kenny could take a triple across the individual sprint, team sprint, and keirin, but his hunch was backed up when he helped GB to the first gold medal of the Games in the team sprint. It was Kenny's third successive Olympic team sprint gold, with an individual sprint gold and silver also in the bag from the last two Games.
Next up is the individual sprint, in which Kenny is once again world champion after his display in London in March, followed by the keirin.
"I don't want to say anything in case I jinx it, but that could be the start of three golds," said Hoy on the BBC coverage on Thursday evening. "He really looks in great form now and he has to be a favourite for the sprint. The keirin is a bit of a lottery but he has to be in with a shout."
If Kenny were to pull it off, he would equal Hoy's British-record total of six Olympic gold medals and one silver. At 28 and with surely another Olympics left in him after Rio, Hoy's prediction would put the Lancashire lad in to become Britain's all-time most decorated Olympian.
The Dutchman, now 31, has called the team home for pretty much the entirety of his career, having come up through the Rabobank Continental set-up.
“I feel great in this team. It’s a comfortable atmosphere and everyone works together very well. It’s a plus that I’m familiar with everyone.The riders and the staff know that they can approach me with questions," said Van Emden in a statement. "And already for a long time, I’m working together with a lot of boys in the team. It ensures that we’re able to reach our highest levels in the races. We’re willing to sacrifice for each other. Besides that, I still have a many ambitions in the time trials, and the team supports me perfectly with those via staff and materials.”
Van Emden is a strong rouleur with a string of lower-level victories to his name against the clock, but he suffered the disappointment of crashing on the opening time trial of this year's Giro d'Italia, which was taking place on home soil.
“Jos is a key rider in our team,” said directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven. “He is important in the classic races and in the grand tours, as well. He is able to win himself, too. He proved that in the Eneco Tour and the Ster ZLM Toer already. We’re happy with him signing a new two-year contract.”