Barras predicts tough kilo

Hoy and Qeally

Hoy and Qeally (Image credit: AFP)

By Rob Jones in Melbourne

Moving back to the track; tomorrow (March 16th) the opening session runs from 6 pm to 10:30 pm local time - 2 am to 6:30 am EST. Three events will take place (with medals awarded in all three the same evening): Women's 500m time trial, men's kilo and men's individual pursuit.

Martin Barras, the head coach of the powerhouse Australian team, points to the kilo as being possibly the most competitive event of the entire track program.

"You've got the three top kilo riders in the world here - Chris Hoy (Scotland), Jason Queally (Great Britain), Craig Maclean (Great Britain). Two Commonwealth Games champions, two Olympic champions...the kilo is where it is at."

Barras also points to the women's individual pursuit as a very competitive event. "Katie Mactier and Kathy Bates (both Australia) are very strong, so I think it will be those two in the final."

What about the rumour that world record holder and Olympic champion Sarah Ulmer (New Zealand) will ride?

Barras laughed, "That's the kiwis paying us back for the trick I tried on them in Athens. I told Kurt (Innes, the New Zealand track coach at the time) that Katie (Mactier) was planning on catching Sarah in the first six laps. So Sarah went out two seconds faster in the first laps, and we thought it was good because she would tire at the end. But then she ended up breaking the world record by three seconds. I don't think Sarah will do the pursuit, it hasn't been in her program, but if she does, it will be a very interesting race!"

In other news, Scotland's Chris Hoy is entered in four events - kilo, team sprint, sprint and keirin - but it is only the first two events that are certainties, according to team personnel. Hoy may enter either the sprint or keirin as well, but is unlikely to do both.

Canada has 7 athletes scheduled to compete in 7 events:

Mandy Poitras - points race
Gina Grain - points race
Zach Bell - individual pursuit and points race (also road time trial)
Martin Gilbert - points race and scratch race (also road race)
Travis Smith - team sprint, sprint and keirin
Yannick Morin - kilo and team sprint
Cam Mackinnon - sprint, kilo and team sprint

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