By BikeRadar As if the star pull of Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton wasn't enough for the...
As if the star pull of Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton wasn't enough for the sell-out crowd at Manchester Velodrome, there were big crashes and electrifying races to boot at Revolution 23.
The penultimate event of the series kicked off with rugby league stars Denis Betts and Mike Foreshaw leading off the two teams in the Italian Pursuit. With Pendleton, fellow Olympian Ed Clancy and youngsters from the DHL Future Stars programme also involved, Betts' team won in a thrilling race.
The Gloucester coach was clearly in the cycling groove, as earlier on he had taken part in a special celebrity Rollapaluza event. Lining up against Betts in the roller race was former Olympic 400m runner Iwan Thomas. Betts emerged triumphant and recorded the second fastest time of over 170 riders that day, only to be bested by 14-year-old Matt Rotherham.
Thrilling would be one way to describe the DHL Future Stars races, hair-raising would be another. The night began with Ruby Miller's superbly-timed late charge to win the Girls' 1.5km Dash, with Ruby also just losing the 5km Scratch to Harriet Owen. But things would soon get messy.
The Boys' 5km Scratch ended up being the longest ever race of its kind after a five-rider pileup six laps in saw the race stopped and restarted, only for a four-man pileup to halt proceedings again. John Paul held off Richard Forrest and emerged from the carnage to win.
The following 5km Points Race passed without anyone hitting the deck and with Simon Yates taking a fine win. Matt Bailey took a tight win in the Boys' Six-Lap Dash, just pipping South/South West's John Paul into second spot. The Girls' 5km Points Race saw Hannah Manley take a fine victory, but there was another big pileup five laps before the end.
The Elite Men's Devil/Scratch race showed why hybrid events can be so entertaining, with Chris Newton and Tony Gibb tumbling in the Devil section, while Geraint Thomas held off Peter Kennaugh and Andy Tennant for the win, after breaking away at the start of the Scratch section.
Newton would make up for his wipeout in the 10km Points Race however, holding off stiff competition from Kennaugh and Thomas to secure a close win.
It was battle of the Kates in the women's 5km Points Race, with Katie Colclough and Kate Calvert ending the race tied on points, with Colclough taking the win due to higher placings in two of the sprints. Paralympian Sarah Storey was a notable entry in the Elite Women's lineup, breaking away and taking one of the sprints on her way to fifth overall.
It was a good night for Dani King, who edged a victory in the 5km Motor Paced Scratch, and took a second win in the Six-Lap Dash.
Dynamite duo Ed Clancy and Steven Burke had the arena pulsating as they rode a stunning 54.572 to win the Madison 1km Time Trail. At one point it looked as though the pair were going to break the all-time record set by Chris Hoy and Arnaud Tournant, but it was not to be, this time at least.
Clancy was on top again for the 10km Scratch, where a cagey race blew into life with nine laps to go when Tony Gibb turned on the power. Clancy lagged behind the leaders until the last lap when he powered past everyone in a dominant display.
And it's hard to talk about dominance without mentioning Victoria Pendleton. Competing in the Women's Omnium event, she stated her intent early in the 200m Time Trail with a time of 11.258 showing that she was out to impress.
Pendleton comfortably won both of her sprint heats, despite an audacious early move by Jess Varnish in her first round, setting up the final event of the evening, the Keirin. She might have a reputation for merely 'doing enough' to get the win in many races, but tonight she was in no mood to relax, and with one lap to go she hit the burners, shot past three riders ahead of her and kept powering on, leaving the otherwise impressive Helen Scott in her dust. It was a dominant performance for the queen of the sprint.
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