Dajka satisfied with return to racing

By Gina Gershon in Manchester

Australian sprinter and 2002 world keirin champion Jobie Dajka was pleased with his competitive return to the track after serving a ban for lying to a doping inquiry. The Australian finished seventh in the men's sprint at the third round of the track cycling World Cup in Manchester on Saturday, losing in the quarterfinals to the eventual winner, Frenchman Mickael Bourgain.

Dajka was the eighth-fastest qualifier in 10.511 seconds, while Bourgain was quickest in 10.393. Dajka said that while his time was about where he expected it to be and he had no problems with accelaration, he did need to work on his top-end speed ahead of the World Championships in Los Angeles in March.

"There was two ways of looking at it," Dajka said. "I was disappointed not to get through, but he (Bourgain) was only 0.12 quicker. To come back and only be that far behind the leader was definitely a positive." When Dajka sat down to set his goals for the meet a couple of weeks ago, his main objective was not to embarrass himself with a poor performance in his comeback race. Now he believes he has achieved that aim.

"It's certainly satisfying," Dajka said. "It was good to be out there." It was Dajka's first race since he was axed from the Australian Olympic team shortly before the Athens Games. He was suspended until January 1 by Cycling Australia for lying to a doping inquiry headed by Justice Robert Anderson. Dajka was not convicted of any doping offence. His suspension was imposed for a code of conduct breach.

Bourgain won his contest for the sprint gold medal with Poland's Lukasz Kwiatkowski in straight races, while Jose Antonio Villanueva Trinidad beat another Frenchman, Gregory Bauge, to the bronze medal, also with two consecutive wins.

With world record holder Australia not entering the event, Olympic silver medallists Great Britain won the 4000-meter team pursuit. Rob Hayles, Paul Manning, Stephen Cummings and Chris Newton beat Spain in the gold medal ride-off and Germany beat the Netherlands to bronze. Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus won the men's points race, with Russian Nikita Eskov claiming silver and Pearce Colby of the United States the bronze.

Australian Katherine Bates won the 3000-meter individual pursuit ahead of Britain's Emma Davies and Karin Thurig of Switzerland. Russia's Tamilla Abassova won the women's 500-meter time trial, while Britain's Victoria Pendleton added the silver medal to her second place in Friday's sprint. Italian Elisa Frisoni was third.

For full results and report, see our Manchester coverage.

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