By Mal Sawford in Bordeaux
Of the four medals decided on the first day of the 2006 world track championships, only one had the crowd on its feet, as the French team of Gregory Bauge, Mickael Bourgain and Arnaud Tournant came from behind to overhaul a new look team from Great Britain. While the wins by Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus) in the 500 metre time trial, Sarah Hammer (USA) in the pursuit and Peter Schep (Nederlands) in the 40km points race received were applauded, the reaction whenever French riders took to the boards was deafening.
Womens 500 metre time trial
Young French rider Sandie Clair was first off, and posted a respectable time of 35.114. Her time survived the next six challengers, including one of the medal chances, Australias Kerrie Meares. The first to lower the time was 18-year-old Cuban Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez, who stormed through the opening lap in 19.218, which eventually proved to be the best start of all the women. She stopped the clock in 34.609, a time which stood until the final two riders. Shuang Gao (China) Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) and Victoria Pendleton (Britain) were all less than a tenth of a second slower, but Anna Meares ended the debutants dream of a world title when she took the top position in 34.332.
While Guerras time surprised many, the rider herself had high hopes. When asked if she expected to do so well, she replied Yes, actually I was training in the [UCI] world cycling centre, and with my times in training and after getting focussed for the world championships and how I was going in the training, I knew I was going to take a medal.
Click here to read the rest of wrap-up from Day 1.