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Sireau will skip keirin to focus on sprint

Men's sprint world record holder Kevin Sireau says he will not contest any keirin event this season. Sireau, who recorded 9.572 seconds in the 200m sprint in Moscow in May this year, told Cyclingnews at the track world cup event in Melbourne that he will instead focus his energy on the shorter event in the lead up to the 2010 track World Championships.

"I have decided to keep all my mental energy for the queen race, which in my mind is the individual sprint," said the 22-year-old Frenchman, who came second the first time he took part in that event at the World Championship in 2008. He was third this year behind compatriot Grégory Baugé and Malaysian sensation Azizul Hasni Awang.

Sireau’s coach Benoît Vêtu was impressed by his performance in Melbourne, where he claimed a silver-medal after losing out to local star Shane Perkins in the final. "Kevin has improved a lot during this tournament", Vêtu said. "He has worked tremendously on the tactical and mental aspect of the sprint, which is something new [for him]."

Sireau said "Perkins was right to profit from my mistake when I opened the door", an indication that the Australian might not have a second chance to beat him at the World Championship in March.

"Kevin is far from the form he’ll have in Copenhagen", Vêtu promised. The Cofidis rider didn't return to France after the second round of the World Cup series finished on Saturday. Instead, he flew to New Caledonia to take part in the Nouméa Open next week. From there he’ll go to Colombia for the third World Cup round in Cali, but will miss the final round in Beijing.

"We’ll all prepare for the Worlds on separate ways", he said of his sprint rivals. Although he won’t encounter Olympic champion Chris Hoy prior to the main event of the season in Denmark, he was happy to realise that the "British riders were beatable", as he didn’t need more than two legs to outsprint Daniel Ellis and Matthew Crampton in his respective quarter and semi-finals matches.

"Being the world record holder has earned me a bit more respect in the track cycling community," Sireau added. "But outside, it hasn’t changed my status at all, probably because we kind of prepared for that goal in secret and it didn’t get much media attention. Anyway, I still believe the most prestigious is the rainbow jersey, that’s what I want."

He’s been the World Champion twice in the team sprint, an event for which France yet has to select the third rider behind Baugé and Sireau. Michaël D’Almeida and François Pervis are the riders most likely to eventually replace injured sprinter Mickaël Bourgain.

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