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Baugé eyes Olympic gold in Rio after Worlds success

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France’s Gregory Bauge world title in the men's sprint

France’s Gregory Bauge world title in the men's sprint (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Michael Bauge wins the men's sprint ahead of his compatriot Francois Pervis during an exhibition race at the inauguration ceremony of the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Velodrome

Michael Bauge wins the men's sprint ahead of his compatriot Francois Pervis during an exhibition race at the inauguration ceremony of the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Velodrome (Image credit: AFP)

Grégory Baugé has only just been crowned World Champion but already his sights are set on bigger and better things. The Frenchman rode to his fourth sprint world title on home soil in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, but insisted that it's the prospect of an Olympic gold medal that really spurs him on.

"[My obsession] has always been the Olympics," he told L'Equipe. "I shouldn't say that, with these World Championships but you want to be Olympic Champion and that's what you work for.

"This isn't necessarily the greatest [of my gold medals] but it has it's own unique quality. We're in France, on home soil. It's the first time I've had so many friends and family in the stands and everyone was happy, moved."

Baugé believes the French squad as a whole is in great shape with 18 months to go until the Olympics in Rio in 2016. He singles out Laurent Gané, a former gold-medallist at Olympic and World Championship level who was appointed as coach in October last year, as a key component.

"His arrival has been good for the group - a few months ago, no one would have backed us. We have gone well this week but I'll say it again: Rio. We want to shine at Rio."

Francois Pervis, the man Baugé usurped as sprint king, was rueful after finishing down in seventh, despite defending his world titles in the keirin and kilo. After a disappointing qualifying lap, the 30-year-old lost to compatriot Quentin Lafargue and went into the repecharges before meeting Baugé.

"I made far too many errors," he said. "Against Greg I won the first sprint but then I made two tactical errors – the first time I went from too far out and the next time I didn't give it enough and he attacked me with one lap to go.

"I am disappointed because, despite not being in peak condition, I think I had the legs to challenge for the podium. I would have liked to have faced Grégory in the final. I am have a diesel engine and I felt better and better as the rounds went on and he would have been less fresh but it’s my fault – I shouldn't have lost in the round of 16.”

Despite disappointment in the sprint, Pervis can be pleased with his two gold medals on the back of a winter that hardly went according to plan. Various problems, including illness, have disrupted his progress and since the last Worlds in Cali he has only competed at the French National Championships.

"Two weeks ago I called the national technical director to say that I wouldn't be at the World Championships - I didn't feel ready. I was going through a bad period. This winter has been complicated – I've had some problems. Even if I am not at my peak I managed to defend two world champion titles. Thanks to that, I'm still confident for the Olympics."