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) TeamResult
 Jack Bobridge (Aus) Australia  
 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Australia  
 Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Australia  
 Michael Hepburn (Aus) Australia  
2Great Britain0:03:58.446 
 Steven Burke (GBr) Great Britain  
 Edward Clancy (GBr) Great Britain  
 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Great Britain  
 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Great Britain  
3New Zealand0:04:04.218 
 Sam Bewley (NZl) New Zealand  
 Aaron Gate (NZl) New Zealand  
 Westley Gough (NZl) New Zealand  
 Marc Ryan (NZl) New Zealand  
 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Belgium  
 Dominique Cornu (Bel) Belgium  
 Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Belgium  
 Jonathan Dufrasne (Bel) Belgium  
 Artur Ershov (Rus) Russia  
 Valery Kaykov (Rus) Russia  
 Evgeny Kovalev (Rus) Russia  
 Ivan Savitsky (Rus) Russia  
 Michael Vingerling (Ned) Netherlands  
 Levi Heimans (Ned) Netherlands  
 Jenning Huizenga (Ned) Netherlands  
 Arno Van Der Zwet (Ned) Netherlands  
 Juan Esteban Arango (Col) Colombia  
 Edwin Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia  
 Arles Antonio Castro Laverde (Col) Colombia  
 Weimar Roldan Ortiz (Col) Colombia  
 Kirill Sveshnikov (Rus) Lokosphinx  
 Roman Ivlev (Rus) Lokosphinx  
 Pavel Karpenkov (Rus) Lokosphinx  
 Sergey Shilov (Rus) Lokosphinx  
 Luis Mansilla (Chi) Chile  
 Antonio Cabrera (Chi) Chile  
 Gonzalo Miranda (Chi) Chile  
 Pablo Seisdedos (Chi) Chile  
 Casper Folsach (Den) Denmark  
 Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Denmark  
 Rasmus Quaade (Den) Denmark  
 Christian Ranneries (Den) Denmark  
 Sunjae Jang (Kor) Korea  
 Seungwoo Choi (Kor) Korea  
 Keonwoo Park (Kor) Korea  
 Seon Ho Park (Kor) Korea  
 Vivien Brisse (Fra) France  
 Kevin Labeque (Fra) France  
 Kevin Lesellier (Fra) France  
 Laurent Pichon (Fra) France  
 Yuriy Agarkov (Ukr) Ukraine  
 Maksym Polishchuk (Ukr) Ukraine  
 Vitaliy Popkov (Ukr) Ukraine  
 Vitaliy Shchedov (Ukr) Ukraine  
 Marco Coledan (Ita) Italy  
 Omar Bertazzo (Ita) Italy  
 Michele Scartezzini (Ita) Italy  
 Paolo Simion (Ita) Italy  
 Maximilian Beyer (Ger) Germany  
 Robert Bengsch (Ger) Germany  
 Marcel Kalz (Ger) Germany  
 Theo Reinhardt (Ger) Germany  
16Hong Kong0:04:14.731 
 Ho Ting Kwok (HKg) Hong Kong  
 Ki Ho Choi (HKg) Hong Kong  
 King Lok Cheung (HKg) Hong Kong  
 King Wai Cheung (HKg) Hong Kong  
 Gael Suter (Swi) Switzerland  
 Cyrille Thiery (Swi) Switzerland  
 Silvan Dillier (Swi) Switzerland  
 Frank Pasche (Swi) Switzerland  
 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) TeamResult
 Tara Whitten (Can) Canada  
 Gillian Carleton (Can) Canada  
 Jasmin Glaesser (Can) Canada  
2Great Britain0:03:21.370 
 Laura Trott (GBr) Great Britain  
 Wendy Houvenaghel (GBr) Great Britain  
 Joanna Rowsell (GBr) Great Britain  
 Annette Edmondson (Aus) Australia  
 Melissa Hoskins (Aus) Australia  
 Josephine Tomic (Aus) Australia  
 Kirsten Wild (Ned) Netherlands  
 Vera Koedooder (Ned) Netherlands  
 Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Netherlands  
5United States0:03:23.208 
 Sarah Hammer (USA) United States  
 Jennie Reed (USA) United States  
 Lauren Tamayo (USA) United States  
6New Zealand0:03:25.468 
 Lauren Ellis (NZl) New Zealand  
 Jaime Nielsen (NZl) New Zealand  
 Alison Shanks (NZl) New Zealand  
 Ausrine Trebaite (Ltu) Lithuania  
 Vaida Pikauskaite (Ltu) Lithuania  
 Vilija Sereikaite (Ltu) Lithuania  
 Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Germany  
 Charlotte Becker (Ger) Germany  
 Madeleine Sandig (Ger) Germany  
 Svitlana Galyuk (Ukr) Ukraine  
 Lesya Kalitovska (Ukr) Ukraine  
 Lyubov Shulika (Ukr) Ukraine  
 Fan Jiang (Chn) China  
 Wenwen Jiang (Chn) China  
 Jing Liang (Chn) China  
 Jolien d'Hoore (Bel) Belgium  
 Els Belmans (Bel) Belgium  
 Kelly Druyts (Bel) Belgium  
 Evgenia Romanyuta (Rus) RusVelo  
 Verena Absalyamova (Rus) RusVelo  
 Irina Molicheva (Rus) RusVelo  
 Malgorzata Wojtyra (Pol) Poland  
 Eugenia Bujak (Pol) Poland  
 Katarzyna Pawlowska (Pol) Poland  
 Maki Tabata (Jpn) Japan  
 Hiroko Ishii (Jpn) Japan  
 Kayono Maeda (Jpn) Japan  
 Tatsiana Sharakova (Blr) Belarus  
 Alena Dylko (Blr) Belarus  
 Aksana Papko (Blr) Belarus  


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