Capacity crowds captivated by stunning sprints and endurance galore
By Les Clarke in Sydney
In a fantastic display of sprinting and endurance riding, France and Holland shared the night's honours on day two of at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome. With Gregory Bauge and Arnaud Tournant on song for the French and Holland taking wins in the women's 500m time trial and men's points race through Yvonne Hijgenaar and Niki Terpstra respectively, there was a feast of speed on offer for the excellent capacity crowd that really got behind all the riders.
In the semi finals of the men's sprint, Polish rider Damian Zielinski showed even more speed than his display in the keirin last night to secure his position in the men's sprint final with a win against Malaysia's Josiah Ng. In two carbon-copy races, Zielinski beat Ng by hitting out early over the final lap and never being headed to win with excellent leg speed that carried him home first in both races. It was a little more of the same for Gregory Bauge in the other semi final, leading countryman Arnaud Tournant into the final lap in both their races to come out on top in each. In the second of their showdowns, former world champion Tournant conceded defeat going into the second-last bend and Bauge cantered to victory.
In race one of the final for gold, Gregory Bauge played with his Polish opponent in the opening stages with the confidence of a rider who knows he's got speed on his side, leading from the front to defeat Zielinski by half a bike length at the finish. In their second encounter it was more of the same from Bauge, with the Frenchman giving Zielinski plenty of room heading into the back straight before zooming by the outside as though he were standing still - Bauge's speed was amazing, something he attributes to more gym work in the off season.
Greater experience also plays a vital role in his dominant win, saying through a translation after taking race two that, "I feel more mature on the track now; every race is different, and with the experience I have now I can read a race a lot better. This was the case in the second race when I felt I could get around the Polish rider in the back straight." This he certainly did to devastating effect to win the world cup overall title as well as tonight's race.
Click here for the full results, report and photos from Day 2.
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