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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Danes get their first gold, Australia adds more
Taylor Phinney took his second consecutive pursuit title in Copenhagen.
The second night of racing got underway with a bang as the Australian women set off in search of the team's third gold medal in the championships. The sprint team of Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch crushed the competition in the qualifying and finals, setting new world records in both races.
The Australians would see their second gold of the night thanks to the women's pursuit team, which powered to the win over Great Britain. The New Zealand women failed to make the gold medal final, but set a new world record in the bronze medal final to eclipse Team USA.
The US would net its second individual pursuit title with Taylor Phinney rocketing to the win over New Zealander Jesse Sergent, while Great Britain reversed its slow performance thanks to multiple Olympic champion Chris Hoy, who dominated the men's keirin to bring his country its first gold of the week.
The home town crowd roared in delight when Dane Alex Rasmussen scored the home country's first gold medal in the men's scratch race Thursday night. He slipped away with Colombia's Juan Esteban Arango Carvajal and Kazuhiro Mori of Japan in a break that would lap the field.
The Dane then secured the gold medal by besting his two break companions in the sprint.
Phinney repeats world championship success in individual pursuit
Defending champion Taylor Phinney bounced back from a narrow defeat in the qualifying round of the individual pursuit to land his second rainbow jersey. The son of former world champion Connie Carpenter and top sprinter Davis Phinney was calm, collected and very strong in this evening’s final, shrugging off the earlier result to beat Jesse Sargent (New Zealand) by 4 minutes 16.6 to 4 minutes 18.459.
“I came here with the aim of defending my title, so it is really unbelievable to win,” he said. “It took a lot of effort, but it was worth it. The crowd was great, everybody cheering – it was awesome, that is all I can ask for. This is a fast track and I think we did some fast times.”
Phinney was .114 off Sergent’s pace in the qualifiers, yet was considerably stronger in the finals. He put that down to a couple of reasons, including his preparation.
“In training I have been focussing on the ending efforts,” he explained. “I wanted to go even faster than 4.16 but it wasn’t going to happen. I think as I progress, I want to be able to go faster in the finals than in qualifying. So that is something that I look forward to.”
Sergent said that he didn’t fold badly in the finals, but rather Phinney is a very strong pursuit rider and that he could support the second effort better.
“I definitely felt alright. It was the fastest second ride I have done, so I have got to be pretty happy with that,” he said. “Taylor is definitely a bit of a machine when it comes to pursuiting, so hopefully in the future I can get a little bit more endurance and hopefully I can back it up a bit better.
“I knew the final was going to be hard. I was just a little bit off and I didn’t quite have that top end at the end to go real fast. But I still did a 4.18. Anyway, Taylor is a good friend of mine, so it is not too much of a blow not to have won.”
The two are on the same Trek-Livestrong squad and while both strongly wanted to win, the rivalry was not terribly intense. “Jessie Sergent is a really good friend of mine,” said Phinney. “He is on my team. So to be racing with him is a win-win situation. I am really happy.”
One rider who was a little frustrated of the outcome was Jack Bobridge (Australia). He was fastest for much of his qualifying ride but cracked slightly at the end, fading inside the final quarter of the race. He had to be content with third in those qualifiers, and an eventual bronze medal over Alexander Serov (Russian Federation).
“To be honest, there was definitely a bit of disappointment there after my nationals in Adelaide, where I rode so well,” he admitted, referring to the scorching time he set then. “But I didn’t ride so smart this morning. I got a bit excited and rode too hard too early. I paid the price for it in the last half of the race. I had to ride off for the bronze medal.
“But at the end of the day, the two guys who beat me are world-class riders, as they have shown in the past and what they did today,” he added. “So they definitely deserve it. I am still happy that I am on the podium. We live to fight another day, I suppose.”
Rasmussen takes popular home victory in scratch race
Denmark’s Alex Rasmussen brought smiles, cheers and tears to the home crowd this evening when he took a fine gold in the scratch race. After biding his time during a controlled first half of the event, the 2005 champion blasted clear with 35 laps to go, working with Japanese rider Kazuhiro Mori (Japan) to gain a lap.
The field chased hard, but after 17 laps out in front the duo succeeded in getting across to the back of the peloton, moving them into a clearly advantageous position.
The pack stalled when they gained the lap and eventual silver medallist Juan Esteban Arango Carvajal (Columbia) was able to sneak away. He quickly gained time on a demoralised bunch and gained his own lap with 11 to go. That set things up for a three way battle for gold, and the experienced Rasmussen made sure he was first of them to the line.
“The pressure here at home is tremendous, but when you win it it is a relief,” he told Cyclingnews afterwards. “The moment of the attack was instinct. I felt good from the start and wanted to get away. It is always difficult at the start of the scratch race, everybody is looking out at each other, but when it starts to become a hard race then you have a chance. I just looked for a moment where it was possible to go.
“It is always when you are in the front and when people go up [the track] behind you, you just have to keep going. You don’t have to do it like a breakaway, you just have to keep rolling.”
Esteban Arango Carvajal was very pleased with how the evening turned out. “I am very happy about this medal. I came here alone three days ago, and am really happy because it is a very hard medal to get in the World Championship.”
He chose his moment perfectly and gained the lap far more quickly than Rasmussen and Mori did. He agreed that the tactics worked out very well. “I think my attack was done a good time of the race. Other people eased back once the others got a lap. I thought it was the right time to attack, and I was feeling good at that moment.”
With three riders clearly in the running for gold, others who had been in the bunch did what they could to try to gain a lap before the end. Certain strong riders such as Britain’s Chris Newton had tried to whip up the chase earlier on when Rasmussen and Mori were clear, and they then tried to jump clear after the lap was gained. However things were too tightly controlled, meaning that the title was between three riders.
Rasmussen has been successful all winter in six day competitions and last year won World titles in both the Madison and team pursuit. The home crowd were fully behind him and he didn’t disappoint, going from a long way out to ensure that he would grab another rainbow jersey.
“I hadn’t done the scratch race for a long time, I didn’t know how fast they were,” he said. “But I felt super strong, so I felt confident that I could win it. I just did a long effort at the very end and didn’t take any chances in the final sprint.”
Martin Blaha (Czech Republic) was fourth, ahead of Newton (Great Britain). Mykhaylo Radionov (Ukraine) completed the top six.
Esteban Arango Carvajal will try to go one better than his silver in the omnium. “I’ll do that race next,” he said. “I am feeling strong and I think that the omnium should be good for me too.”
Rasmussen will focus on the Madison next. His success in six day racing should mark himself and Michael Morkov out as favourites, but he said that a niggling injury was a slight concern for them. “I feel absolutely good for that, but my partner has a bit of a problem with his knee in the past week. We will see how it goes, but hopefully we can compete for medals.”
Once that race is completed, he’ll turn his focus back to road racing with the Saxo Bank team. His next big target will be Paris-Roubaix, where he’ll seek to turn his track horsepower into a strong performance on the cobbles. Because of that, he’s been trying to limit his time on the track of late.
“We’ll see how the change goes, switching over. I think it is going to be hard, although I didn’t want to do too much track. I have been on the road until last week, so hopefully it will be just a case of getting back on the road and doing a lot of kilometres to get ready.”
Gold women's pursuit medal for Australia, world record for New Zealand
Going almost two seconds quicker than they did in this afternoon’s qualification, the Australian riders raised their game to win the women’s team pursuit final and thus bag the country’s fourth gold medal of these world championships. Ashlee Ankudinoff, Sara Kent and Josephine Tomic squared up against Great Britain in the final and led the entire way. They completed the 3000 metre distance in a time of 3.21.748, considerably faster than the 3.23.161 set this morning, and deposed last year’s world champions in the process.
It was an emotional win for the trio, who took bronze last year in Poland. “I am absolutely stoked,” beamed Tomic after receiving her rainbow jersey. “We won in Beijing [World Cup] and that gave us a little bit of confidence that we can do better than bronze, which we were getting every time we did it. We came in here confident and we are so stoked to actually pull it off. We trained so hard for this, so it is a dream come true.
“Coming into the race, we expected that Great Britain and New Zealand would be our main rivals,” she added. “It has always been us three on the podium in every major competition. We knew it would be tough and we would have to fight right to the end, but now it is pretty sweet.”
It was the second silver medal in two days for Wendy Houvenaghel, who lost out to Sarah Hammer (USA) yesterday. She, Liz Armitstead and Joanna Rowsell finished in 3.24.571; the latter said afterwards that they were up against it today.
"It was tough,” admitted Rowsell. “We have never gone into the World Championships down on qualification. We have always had a big buffer and we did not have that after our ride, so it was a different situation for us today. It is obviously one we will have to get used to.”
In a curious development, the bronze medallists New Zealand ended up with a prize arguably equal in status to the gold. They went almost three seconds quicker than this afternoon’s ride when beating the US riders for bronze; the time set this evening was 3.21.552, .323 faster than the previous world record.
Alison Shanks was understandably pleased with what is a very nice consolation prize. “We lost that gold medal this morning but it is absolutely fantastic to have gone out and broken that world record tonight,” she said. “I think we did a perfect team ride, really. This morning we were a bit up and down, but then we put together a plan so that when we crossed that finish line, every single rider was totally maxed out. It was great to get a world record time.”
The Australian team has had an excellent worlds thus far and Tomic wants to add further to that medal haul. “I have got Omnium on Saturday where I am hoping to defend my world title from last year. Tomorrow I have got to rest and refocus, and hopefully I can make it two from two.”
While the US team didn’t succeed in taking bronze, the riders concerned will be satisfied with their fourth place. Hammer said yesterday that the newly-formed trio was chasing a top five finish in its worlds debut. She indicated that she’d deem a second ride on the day – in other words, a place in a medal final – as a good success; they duly delivered on that target, getting things moving on what US Cycling hopes will be a strong future in this area of the sport.
Meares, McCulloch defend team sprint gold, grab world record
They set a new world record in the qualifiers and went even quicker in the finals; the Australian pairing of Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch scorched to gold in today’s team sprint, becoming the first to dip under the 33 second barrier with a lightning-quick time of 32.923.
Meares took gold yesterday in the 500m time trial and used the same speed to good effect today, twinning with McCulloch to beat the Chinese duo Junhong Lin and silver medallist last year, Jinjie Gong. That ensured they defended the world title they took in Poland 12 months ago.
Lituanians Gintare Gaivenyte and Simona Krupeckaite had a straightforward run to the bronze medal, beating Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish (Great Britain).
“I really had a great ride yesterday and I am even happier to have a great ride today,” said Meares, when asked about her twin gold medals. She believes that more world records will be broken in the years ahead. “I think the times will come down further on the way towards London. If you look at the Chinese and how far they have come this year; also ourselves, we have improved by two tenths of a second in one year.
“The Great Britain team of Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton are going to be working really hard over the next couple of years, being the hometown heroes in London at the Olympic Games,” she added. “And then you throw in the Dutch pairings that are always very consistent…it is just an open field.”
McCulloch was as delighted with the world record as she was to retain the rainbow jersey. “I am actually stoked. I thought we’d have to do a time like this to win, and I was right. We really wanted to crack that 33 second barrier and we did it.”
The win secured the third gold medal for Australia, following victories yesterday by Meares (500m TT) and Cameron Meyer (points race). That haul would be later increased to four when the women’s team pursuit was settled.
Hoy takes first gold for Team GB
Chris Hoy took Britain’s first gold medal of the championships when he triumphed in the final of the men’s keirin, beating Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia) and Maximilian Levy (Germany) with his trademark long burst of speed.
As he has done in other years, Hoy hit out from the front, leading the riders for the final two laps and holding off all those behind. The former Olympic kilo champion is well known for his sustained power and the same formula worked again. Awang put in an impressive final sprint and nearly got by, but Hoy held on to take what is his tenth career rainbow jersey.
“I am just over the moon tonight. That was such a hard victory. It is very special for me this evening,” he said.
The track in Ballerup has mixed memories for Hoy but on balance, it is a positive place for him. He took his first world title here in the kilo, back in 2002, but crashed heavily during last year’s World Cup and was forced to miss the Worlds. Coming back here and succeeding has turned things around once again.
“Last year I was sitting at home, watching it on television. I wanted to be there so badly. But with the injury I sustained here in the World Cup, it meant I was out of the World Championships. So it is lovely to be back here, to be back in the winning way again.”
He had a scare in the first round of the qualifiers when another Malaysian, Joshia Ng Onn Lam, cut across him right after the start and brought him down. Hoy returned to his bike quickly and the race was restarted, minus Ng. Hoy also had a run-in with Awang (in the final, with the latter handed a warning for dangerous riding. That too was restarted and Hoy prevailed.
Awang was close to Hoy at the line but came up a little short. He was nevertheless delighted with his performance, which shows how cycling has developed in his country in recent years. “I am so happy,” said the World Cup winner. “Last year, wearing the leader’s jersey, I couldn’t make any movement. But this year I could make the final. I had no chance to get to the front today, I got second place, but that is still good for me. It is my first time at the world championship in the keirin - last year I did the sprint.”
“I tried to get past him [Hoy] but he is so strong, he is so fast. But second place…I am still happy with that.”
Both Hoy and Awang are looking to London in two year’s time, when they will compete in the Olympics. Hoy will head there as defending champion, having won three golds in Beijing, and he is aware that he needs to keep the pressure on.
“The standard is going up and up all the time. It makes you work harder,” he said. “Even the standard within the British team, it pushes me on. There is no room for complacency, there is no room to relax or to expect to be the same without more work.”
The fact that his medal is the sole gold for Team GB after two days of racing is a big surprise, and something that not many would have predicted. Hoy will do his bit to try to increase the medal haul, aiming for success in the sprint. But he says that there is no need to panic for the team as a whole.
“The medals have been under pressure but there have been some good performances within the results so far for the British team,” he said. “I think that come 2012, we will be back up there.”
As for Awang, he too is determined to ride as well as possible. Malaysian cycling is a fraction of the size of its British counterparts and he knows that his performances are very important in terms of raising interest in his home country.
“I need to bring more results for the development of cycling. I am doing this for the future of Malaysian cycling,” he said. “Hopefully the results that I earn can get more young talent into the sport.”
Earlier, three former winners of the world championship keirin successfully progressed to this evening’s second round of the contest, with defending champion Maximillian Levy, 2007 and 2008 victor Chris Hoy, and the 2005 winner Teun Mulder all qualifying this afternoon.
Britain’s Matt Crampton and Levy (Germany) were the two quickest in the first heat, while Francois Pervis (France) and the Kiwi Sam Webster progressed in the second. Malaysian rider Azizulhasni Awang led Mulder (Netherlands) over the line in heat three.
However Awang’s compatriot Josiah Ng Onn Lam was involved in controversy in the final of the four heats, cutting across Hoy at the start and sending the Briton crashing to the ground. Following a short delay for the commissaires to check video footage, he was disqualified.
Hoy showed there was no lingering effects from his spill when he raced to victory in the restarted heat four. He was a long way back with two laps to go but thundered to the front in the finishing straight, showing that he means business.
Simon Van Velthooven (New Zealand) won the first of the repechage heats, beating Denis Spica (Czech Republic) to the line. The second heat saw Jason Niblett (Australia) hit the line first, while Adam Ptacnik (Czech Republic) was relegated due to his deliberately riding on the blue line. Michael Seidenbecher (Germany) and Kota Asai (Japan) also progressed, winning repechages three and four.
|1||Taylor Phinney (United States Of America)||0:04:16.600|
|2||Jesse Sergent (New Zealand)||0:04:18.459|
|3||Jack Bobridge (Australia)||0:04:18.066|
|4||Alexander Serov (Russian Federation)||0:04:21.263|
|1||Alex Rasmussen (Denmark)|
|2||Juan Esteban Arango Carvajal (Colombia)|
|3||Kazuhiro Mori (Japan)|
|4||Martin Blaha (Czech Republic)||-1 lap|
|5||Chris Newton (Great Britain)|
|6||Mykhaylo Radionov (Ukraine)|
|7||Thomas Scully (New Zealand)|
|8||Ho Ting Kwok (Hong Kong, China)|
|9||Morgan Kneisky (France)|
|10||Erik Mohs (Germany)|
|11||Zachary Bell (Canada)|
|12||Tim Mertens (Belgium)|
|13||Magkoyras Neofytos Sakellaridis (Greece)|
|14||Viktor Shmalko (Russian Federation)|
|15||Elia Viviani (Italy)|
|16||Pablo Seisdedos (Chile)|
|17||Lukasz Bujko (Poland)|
|18||Daniel Holloway (United States Of America)|
|19||Travis Meyer (Australia)|
|20||Franco Marvulli (Switzerland)|
|21||Werner Riebenbauer (Austria)|
|22||Matthew Brammeier (Ireland)|
|DNF||Angel Dario Colla (Argentina)|
|DNF||Alexey Kolessov (Kazakhstan)|
|Wai Sze Lee|
|Zhao Juan Meng|
|1||Chris Hoy (Great Britain)|
|2||Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia)|
|3||Maximilian Levy (Germany)|
|4||Teun Mulder (Netherlands)|
|5||François Pervis (France)|
|6||Sam Webster (New Zealand)|
|7||Matthew Crampton (Great Britain)|
|8||Michael Seidenbecher (Germany)|
|9||Simon Van Velthooven (New Zealand)|
|10||Shane Perkins (Australia)|
|11||Jason Niblett (Australia)|
|DSQ||Kota Asai (Japan)|
|1||Chris Hoy (Great Britain)|
|2||Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia)|
|3||Sam Webster (New Zealand)|
|4||Shane Perkins (Australia)|
|5||Michael Seidenbecher (Germany)|
|6||Kota Asai (Japan)|
|1||Maximilian Levy (Germany)|
|2||Teun Mulder (Netherlands)|
|3||François Pervis (France)|
|4||Simon Van Velthooven (New Zealand)|
|5||Jason Niblett (Australia)|
|6||Matthew Crampton (Great Britain)|