Australia qualifies fastest in London Velodrome christening

Canada makes its mark in women's team pursuit qualifying

The London Olympic velodrome was christened on Thursday evening as the UCI World Cup got underway with qualifying rounds for the women's and men's team pursuit. The sell-out crowd came alive, naturally enough, for the home team, with the women scraping through to meet Canada in Friday's final, and the men, racing into what Ed Clancy called "a wall of noise for 16 laps", matching the women by posting the second fastest time, behind Australia.

The big surprise in men's qualifying was the poor performances of New Zealand, missing Jesse Sergent, and Russia. The latter, fielding a young team, looked especially ragged, almost losing a man in the first two laps, and doing well to keep the deficit to 0.2 seconds after a kilometre. But then the team that won the World Cups in Astana and Beijing -- in times of 3.56 and 3.57 -- collapsed, eventually finishing out of the medals in 5th.

Belgium will race New Zealand, who were also well off the pace, for the bronze medal.

Sunday's final will pit the old rivals, Australia, represented here by Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Alexander Edmondson and Michael Hepburn, against Great Britain, with the reigning world champions qualifying fastest in 3:57.885, to Britain's 3:58.446.

"That felt really smooth," said Bobridge after the finish of qualifying.  "It was good to get a hit out on the track and it is a bit different tonight with the qualifying so late at night. Normally you can get that blow out early in the morning and the cobwebs are normally flushed out.

"We can't complain with that ride. It was smooth, fast and in control the whole time."

There was mild disappointment in the British camp over the time, but not the performance. "Technically it was really smooth," said Peter Kennaugh, a member of the British team with Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Geraint Thomas. "We set off in the first 2k on a schedule to hold us back a bit and we were on the line perfectly. We really controlled it well.

"We thought we'd be able to lift it and we did at times, though the time could have been a bit quicker.

"There's loads more to come," added Kennaugh, "especially a few months down the line. I haven't even done a road race yet this season: that'll take fitness up another level. I think we can go quicker on Sunday as well."

Clancy paid tribute to the atmosphere created by the spectators but also identified an issue it raises: "There was a wall of noise the whole 16 laps. It didn't die down one bit. Usually it's the start and finish, but for qualifying that's a bizarre atmosphere.

"I can't believe 6,000 people have come to watch us qualify," continued Clancy. "It was mental. All we could hear was noise. We usually communicate within the line -- hold, squeeze, or if we lose a guy at the end -- [but] we couldn't have heard a thing there... It's something we'll have to think about with the coach."

In qualifying for the women's team pursuit, which concludes on Friday, the early starting Canadians were quickest with 3:20.785, a national record. First Australia and then Britain were expected to challenge that, and both started much faster than the Canadian trio of Tara Whitten, Gillian Carleson and Jasmin Glaesser, but both teams also faded over the second half.

In the home team's case that represented a turnaround of 1.2 seconds. From leading by 0.794, and being inside world record pace, the British team, comprising Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Wendy Houvenaghel, ended up finishing 0.415 seconds down, and only 0.056 seconds ahead of Australia to qualify for the final. That after Australia had a disrupted start thanks to a gate-malfunction. Holland were 4th to make the bronze medal ride-off against the Australians.

"We always planned to go out fast," said Rowsell. "We just couldn't keep it going, but hopefully tomorrow. We're racing for a medal so we'll look forward to that.

"The noise is amazing," Rowsell continued. "When you're racing you try to block everything out but you can't block that amount of noise out. I think the world record is possible on this track."

The British women's coach, Paul Manning, seemed to admit that the line-up might be tweaked for the final, with Dani King in the wings.

"We've got 24 hours now," said Manning, a member of Britain's world record-setting Olympic gold medal-winning men's team in Beijing. "It's quite a productive time to look at the four riders and see who we want to use."


Elite men team's pursuit
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Australia 0:03:57.885  
  Jack Bobridge (Aus) Australia    
  Rohan Dennis (Aus) Australia    
  Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Australia    
  Michael Hepburn (Aus) Australia    
2 Great Britain 0:03:58.446  
  Steven Burke (GBr) Great Britain    
  Edward Clancy (GBr) Great Britain    
  Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Great Britain    
  Geraint Thomas (GBr) Great Britain    
3 New Zealand 0:04:04.218  
  Sam Bewley (NZl) New Zealand    
  Aaron Gate (NZl) New Zealand    
  Westley Gough (NZl) New Zealand    
  Marc Ryan (NZl) New Zealand    
4 Belgium 0:04:06.596  
  Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Belgium    
  Dominique Cornu (Bel) Belgium    
  Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Belgium    
  Jonathan Dufrasne (Bel) Belgium    
5 Russia 0:04:06.823  
  Artur Ershov (Rus) Russia    
  Valery Kaykov (Rus) Russia    
  Evgeny Kovalev (Rus) Russia    
  Ivan Savitsky (Rus) Russia    
6 Netherlands 0:04:07.825  
  Michael Vingerling (Ned) Netherlands    
  Levi Heimans (Ned) Netherlands    
  Jenning Huizenga (Ned) Netherlands    
  Arno Van Der Zwet (Ned) Netherlands    
7 Colombia 0:04:08.287  
  Juan Esteban Arango (Col) Colombia    
  Edwin Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia    
  Arles Antonio Castro Laverde (Col) Colombia    
  Weimar Roldan Ortiz (Col) Colombia    
8 Lokosphinx 0:04:08.999  
  Kirill Sveshnikov (Rus) Lokosphinx    
  Roman Ivlev (Rus) Lokosphinx    
  Pavel Karpenkov (Rus) Lokosphinx    
  Sergey Shilov (Rus) Lokosphinx    
9 Chile 0:04:10.222  
  Luis Mansilla (Chi) Chile    
  Antonio Cabrera (Chi) Chile    
  Gonzalo Miranda (Chi) Chile    
  Pablo Seisdedos (Chi) Chile    
10 Denmark 0:04:10.783  
  Casper Folsach (Den) Denmark    
  Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Denmark    
  Rasmus Quaade (Den) Denmark    
  Christian Ranneries (Den) Denmark    
11 Korea 0:04:10.795  
  Sunjae Jang (Kor) Korea    
  Seungwoo Choi (Kor) Korea    
  Keonwoo Park (Kor) Korea    
  Seon Ho Park (Kor) Korea    
12 France 0:04:12.666  
  Vivien Brisse (Fra) France    
  Kevin Labeque (Fra) France    
  Kevin Lesellier (Fra) France    
  Laurent Pichon (Fra) France    
13 Ukraine 0:04:12.763  
  Yuriy Agarkov (Ukr) Ukraine    
  Maksym Polishchuk (Ukr) Ukraine    
  Vitaliy Popkov (Ukr) Ukraine    
  Vitaliy Shchedov (Ukr) Ukraine    
14 Italy 0:04:13.247  
  Marco Coledan (Ita) Italy    
  Omar Bertazzo (Ita) Italy    
  Michele Scartezzini (Ita) Italy    
  Paolo Simion (Ita) Italy    
15 Germany 0:04:14.280  
  Maximilian Beyer (Ger) Germany    
  Robert Bengsch (Ger) Germany    
  Marcel Kalz (Ger) Germany    
  Theo Reinhardt (Ger) Germany    
16 Hong Kong 0:04:14.731  
  Ho Ting Kwok (HKg) Hong Kong    
  Ki Ho Choi (HKg) Hong Kong    
  King Lok Cheung (HKg) Hong Kong    
  King Wai Cheung (HKg) Hong Kong    
17 Switzerland 0:04:15.339  
  Gael Suter (Swi) Switzerland    
  Cyrille Thiery (Swi) Switzerland    
  Silvan Dillier (Swi) Switzerland    
  Frank Pasche (Swi) Switzerland    
DSQ Spain    
  Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Spain    
  Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Spain    
  Asier Maeztu Billelabeitia (Spa) Spain    
  Sebastian Mora Vedri (Spa) Spain    
Elite women's team pursuit
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Canada 0:03:20.785  
  Tara Whitten (Can) Canada    
  Gillian Carleton (Can) Canada    
  Jasmin Glaesser (Can) Canada    
2 Great Britain 0:03:21.370  
  Laura Trott (GBr) Great Britain    
  Wendy Houvenaghel (GBr) Great Britain    
  Joanna Rowsell (GBr) Great Britain    
3 Australia 0:03:21.426  
  Annette Edmondson (Aus) Australia    
  Melissa Hoskins (Aus) Australia    
  Josephine Tomic (Aus) Australia    
4 Netherlands 0:03:22.776  
  Kirsten Wild (Ned) Netherlands    
  Vera Koedooder (Ned) Netherlands    
  Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Netherlands    
5 United States 0:03:23.208  
  Sarah Hammer (USA) United States    
  Jennie Reed (USA) United States    
  Lauren Tamayo (USA) United States    
6 New Zealand 0:03:25.468  
  Lauren Ellis (NZl) New Zealand    
  Jaime Nielsen (NZl) New Zealand    
  Alison Shanks (NZl) New Zealand    
7 Lithuania 0:03:28.156  
  Ausrine Trebaite (Ltu) Lithuania    
  Vaida Pikauskaite (Ltu) Lithuania    
  Vilija Sereikaite (Ltu) Lithuania    
8 Germany 0:03:28.387  
  Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Germany    
  Charlotte Becker (Ger) Germany    
  Madeleine Sandig (Ger) Germany    
9 Ukraine 0:03:28.633  
  Svitlana Galyuk (Ukr) Ukraine    
  Lesya Kalitovska (Ukr) Ukraine    
  Lyubov Shulika (Ukr) Ukraine    
10 China 0:03:29.136  
  Fan Jiang (Chn) China    
  Wenwen Jiang (Chn) China    
  Jing Liang (Chn) China    
11 Belgium 0:03:29.188  
  Jolien d'Hoore (Bel) Belgium    
  Els Belmans (Bel) Belgium    
  Kelly Druyts (Bel) Belgium    
12 RusVelo 0:03:30.190  
  Evgenia Romanyuta (Rus) RusVelo    
  Verena Absalyamova (Rus) RusVelo    
  Irina Molicheva (Rus) RusVelo    
13 Poland 0:03:30.975  
  Malgorzata Wojtyra (Pol) Poland    
  Eugenia Bujak (Pol) Poland    
  Katarzyna Pawlowska (Pol) Poland    
14 Japan 0:04:13.408  
  Maki Tabata (Jpn) Japan    
  Hiroko Ishii (Jpn) Japan    
  Kayono Maeda (Jpn) Japan    
DSQ Belarus    
  Tatsiana Sharakova (Blr) Belarus    
  Alena Dylko (Blr) Belarus    
  Aksana Papko (Blr) Belarus    


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