Spain steps up to the top of the Olympic podium on the track

By Rob Jones in Beijing Spain became the first nation other than Britain to win a gold medal on the...

By Rob Jones in Beijing

Spain became the first nation other than Britain to win a gold medal on the track, when Joan Llaneras took the men's points race. He was one of the favorites for the event, but he initially struggled, while Germany's Roger Kluge took a lap and the early lead. Llaneras' experience would pay off in the end though.

The race was very complicated," said Llaneras. "My initial plan was to try to earn some early points and build up an advantage, but the race was not very controlled, and many riders were attacking."

"Everyone was watching what I was doing, and when Kluge gained a lap, it was even more challenging," said Llaneras. "It was the riders who shouldered the responsibility for the race, who did well, like Kluge, [Chris] Newton and myself. In the second half of the race it became possible to ride more to a plan, and I was able to attack and take one lap, and then another."

Llaneras, Kluge and Great Britain's Newton were the only riders to take two laps on the field and, while Llaneras had the title wrapped up with one sprint remaining. Kluge had beat Newton in the final sprint to clinch silver.

Llaneras won the gold medal in the points race at the Olympic Games in 2000 and the silver in the points race in 2004.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Olympic men's points race.

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