By Gerard Knapp
The first night of racing at the Dunc Gray Velodrome saw some excellent racing, including the men's keirin final - a showdown between super-sprinters Theo Bos (Netherlands) and Ryan Bayley (Australia) - as well as the women's 20km points race, taken by Australia's Katherine Bates.
On hand to support Bates were members of her own fan club - friends and former schoolmates of the champion Australian cyclist who attended Westfields Sports High School in Sydney. While keen supporters of their friend, some still seemed perplexed by the point score's tactical finale. "Kate finished the race halfway back in the field, but still wins. What's that about? But we're still happy for her and it's great she won."
The race itself was closely fought and it was in fact a late attack by Catherine Cheatley (New Zealand) for the final sprint that took the top points, leaving the leaders to scrap over the remaining points from the minor placings to determine the overall winner.
"I've got some school friends here, all my family - it's a very rare opportunity. I've never actually ridden this event at Sydney World Cup before, so to be able to come out and win is pretty cool," Bates said afterwards.
For complete coverage of the first day of racing at Sydney's World Cup track opener, click here.