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Australia qualifies fastest in London Velodrome christening

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Australia drilled it perfectly to go fastest

Australia drilled it perfectly to go fastest (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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Ed Clancy takes the applause as GB makes the final

Ed Clancy takes the applause as GB makes the final (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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The Canadians were a cut above in qualifying setting themselves up for a fight with the Brits for gold.

The Canadians were a cut above in qualifying setting themselves up for a fight with the Brits for gold. (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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NZ down to three but made the bronze medal final

NZ down to three but made the bronze medal final (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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Australia fast off the mark

Australia fast off the mark (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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Australia goes into the gold medal final

Australia goes into the gold medal final (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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The Aussies celebrate going fastest in men's team pursuit qualifying

The Aussies celebrate going fastest in men's team pursuit qualifying (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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The new velodrome

The new velodrome (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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Laura Trott leads GB

Laura Trott leads GB (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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Jo Rowsell on the front for GB

Jo Rowsell on the front for GB (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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The final 200m flat out for Australia

The final 200m flat out for Australia (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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Tomic seems back to her best in London.

Tomic seems back to her best in London. (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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Tomic hits the front for Australia

Tomic hits the front for Australia (Image credit: Gerry McManus)
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GB team goes under 4 minutes

GB team goes under 4 minutes (Image credit: Gerry McManus)

The London Olympic velodrome was christened on Thursday evening as the UCI World Cup got underway with qualifying rounds for the women's and men's team pursuit. The sell-out crowd came alive, naturally enough, for the home team, with the women scraping through to meet Canada in Friday's final, and the men, racing into what Ed Clancy called "a wall of noise for 16 laps", matching the women by posting the second fastest time, behind Australia.

The big surprise in men's qualifying was the poor performances of New Zealand, missing Jesse Sergent, and Russia. The latter, fielding a young team, looked especially ragged, almost losing a man in the first two laps, and doing well to keep the deficit to 0.2 seconds after a kilometre. But then the team that won the World Cups in Astana and Beijing -- in times of 3.56 and 3.57 -- collapsed, eventually finishing out of the medals in 5th.

Belgium will race New Zealand, who were also well off the pace, for the bronze medal.

Sunday's final will pit the old rivals, Australia, represented here by Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Alexander Edmondson and Michael Hepburn, against Great Britain, with the reigning world champions qualifying fastest in 3:57.885, to Britain's 3:58.446.

"That felt really smooth," said Bobridge after the finish of qualifying.  "It was good to get a hit out on the track and it is a bit different tonight with the qualifying so late at night. Normally you can get that blow out early in the morning and the cobwebs are normally flushed out.

"We can't complain with that ride. It was smooth, fast and in control the whole time."

There was mild disappointment in the British camp over the time, but not the performance. "Technically it was really smooth," said Peter Kennaugh, a member of the British team with Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Geraint Thomas. "We set off in the first 2k on a schedule to hold us back a bit and we were on the line perfectly. We really controlled it well.

"We thought we'd be able to lift it and we did at times, though the time could have been a bit quicker.

"There's loads more to come," added Kennaugh, "especially a few months down the line. I haven't even done a road race yet this season: that'll take fitness up another level. I think we can go quicker on Sunday as well."

Clancy paid tribute to the atmosphere created by the spectators but also identified an issue it raises: "There was a wall of noise the whole 16 laps. It didn't die down one bit. Usually it's the start and finish, but for qualifying that's a bizarre atmosphere.

"I can't believe 6,000 people have come to watch us qualify," continued Clancy. "It was mental. All we could hear was noise. We usually communicate within the line -- hold, squeeze, or if we lose a guy at the end -- [but] we couldn't have heard a thing there... It's something we'll have to think about with the coach."

In qualifying for the women's team pursuit, which concludes on Friday, the early starting Canadians were quickest with 3:20.785, a national record. First Australia and then Britain were expected to challenge that, and both started much faster than the Canadian trio of Tara Whitten, Gillian Carleson and Jasmin Glaesser, but both teams also faded over the second half.

In the home team's case that represented a turnaround of 1.2 seconds. From leading by 0.794, and being inside world record pace, the British team, comprising Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Wendy Houvenaghel, ended up finishing 0.415 seconds down, and only 0.056 seconds ahead of Australia to qualify for the final. That after Australia had a disrupted start thanks to a gate-malfunction. Holland were 4th to make the bronze medal ride-off against the Australians.

"We always planned to go out fast," said Rowsell. "We just couldn't keep it going, but hopefully tomorrow. We're racing for a medal so we'll look forward to that.

"The noise is amazing," Rowsell continued. "When you're racing you try to block everything out but you can't block that amount of noise out. I think the world record is possible on this track."

The British women's coach, Paul Manning, seemed to admit that the line-up might be tweaked for the final, with Dani King in the wings.

"We've got 24 hours now," said Manning, a member of Britain's world record-setting Olympic gold medal-winning men's team in Beijing. "It's quite a productive time to look at the four riders and see who we want to use."


Elite men team's pursuit
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
Jack Bobridge (Aus) Australia
Rohan Dennis (Aus) Australia
Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Australia
Michael Hepburn (Aus) Australia
2Great Britain0:03:58.446
Steven Burke (GBr) Great Britain
Edward Clancy (GBr) Great Britain
Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Great Britain
Geraint Thomas (GBr) Great Britain
3New Zealand0:04:04.218
Sam Bewley (NZl) New Zealand
Aaron Gate (NZl) New Zealand
Westley Gough (NZl) New Zealand
Marc Ryan (NZl) New Zealand
Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Belgium
Dominique Cornu (Bel) Belgium
Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Belgium
Jonathan Dufrasne (Bel) Belgium
Artur Ershov (Rus) Russia
Valery Kaykov (Rus) Russia
Evgeny Kovalev (Rus) Russia
Ivan Savitsky (Rus) Russia
Michael Vingerling (Ned) Netherlands
Levi Heimans (Ned) Netherlands
Jenning Huizenga (Ned) Netherlands
Arno Van Der Zwet (Ned) Netherlands
Juan Esteban Arango (Col) Colombia
Edwin Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia
Arles Antonio Castro Laverde (Col) Colombia
Weimar Roldan Ortiz (Col) Colombia
Kirill Sveshnikov (Rus) Lokosphinx
Roman Ivlev (Rus) Lokosphinx
Pavel Karpenkov (Rus) Lokosphinx
Sergey Shilov (Rus) Lokosphinx
Luis Mansilla (Chi) Chile
Antonio Cabrera (Chi) Chile
Gonzalo Miranda (Chi) Chile
Pablo Seisdedos (Chi) Chile
Casper Folsach (Den) Denmark
Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Denmark
Rasmus Quaade (Den) Denmark
Christian Ranneries (Den) Denmark
Sunjae Jang (Kor) Korea
Seungwoo Choi (Kor) Korea
Keonwoo Park (Kor) Korea
Seon Ho Park (Kor) Korea
Vivien Brisse (Fra) France
Kevin Labeque (Fra) France
Kevin Lesellier (Fra) France
Laurent Pichon (Fra) France
Yuriy Agarkov (Ukr) Ukraine
Maksym Polishchuk (Ukr) Ukraine
Vitaliy Popkov (Ukr) Ukraine
Vitaliy Shchedov (Ukr) Ukraine
Marco Coledan (Ita) Italy
Omar Bertazzo (Ita) Italy
Michele Scartezzini (Ita) Italy
Paolo Simion (Ita) Italy
Maximilian Beyer (Ger) Germany
Robert Bengsch (Ger) Germany
Marcel Kalz (Ger) Germany
Theo Reinhardt (Ger) Germany
16Hong Kong0:04:14.731
Ho Ting Kwok (HKg) Hong Kong
Ki Ho Choi (HKg) Hong Kong
King Lok Cheung (HKg) Hong Kong
King Wai Cheung (HKg) Hong Kong
Gael Suter (Swi) Switzerland
Cyrille Thiery (Swi) Switzerland
Silvan Dillier (Swi) Switzerland
Frank Pasche (Swi) Switzerland
Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Spain
Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Spain
Asier Maeztu Billelabeitia (Spa) Spain
Sebastian Mora Vedri (Spa) Spain

Elite women's team pursuit
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
Tara Whitten (Can) Canada
Gillian Carleton (Can) Canada
Jasmin Glaesser (Can) Canada
2Great Britain0:03:21.370
Laura Trott (GBr) Great Britain
Wendy Houvenaghel (GBr) Great Britain
Joanna Rowsell (GBr) Great Britain
Annette Edmondson (Aus) Australia
Melissa Hoskins (Aus) Australia
Josephine Tomic (Aus) Australia
Kirsten Wild (Ned) Netherlands
Vera Koedooder (Ned) Netherlands
Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Netherlands
5United States0:03:23.208
Sarah Hammer (USA) United States
Jennie Reed (USA) United States
Lauren Tamayo (USA) United States
6New Zealand0:03:25.468
Lauren Ellis (NZl) New Zealand
Jaime Nielsen (NZl) New Zealand
Alison Shanks (NZl) New Zealand
Ausrine Trebaite (Ltu) Lithuania
Vaida Pikauskaite (Ltu) Lithuania
Vilija Sereikaite (Ltu) Lithuania
Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Germany
Charlotte Becker (Ger) Germany
Madeleine Sandig (Ger) Germany
Svitlana Galyuk (Ukr) Ukraine
Lesya Kalitovska (Ukr) Ukraine
Lyubov Shulika (Ukr) Ukraine
Fan Jiang (Chn) China
Wenwen Jiang (Chn) China
Jing Liang (Chn) China
Jolien d'Hoore (Bel) Belgium
Els Belmans (Bel) Belgium
Kelly Druyts (Bel) Belgium
Evgenia Romanyuta (Rus) RusVelo
Verena Absalyamova (Rus) RusVelo
Irina Molicheva (Rus) RusVelo
Malgorzata Wojtyra (Pol) Poland
Eugenia Bujak (Pol) Poland
Katarzyna Pawlowska (Pol) Poland
Maki Tabata (Jpn) Japan
Hiroko Ishii (Jpn) Japan
Kayono Maeda (Jpn) Japan
Tatsiana Sharakova (Blr) Belarus
Alena Dylko (Blr) Belarus
Aksana Papko (Blr) Belarus


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Richard Moore

Richard Moore is a freelance journalist and author. His first book, In Search of Robert Millar (HarperSport), won Best Biography at the 2008 British Sports Book Awards. His second book, Heroes, Villains & Velodromes (HarperSport), was long-listed for the 2008 William Hill Sports Book of the Year.

He writes on sport, specialising in cycling, and is a regular contributor to Cyclingnews, the Guardian,, the Scotsman and Procycling magazine.

He is also a former racing cyclist who represented Scotland at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and Great Britain at the 1998 Tour de Langkawi

His next book, Slaying the Badger: LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France, will be published by Yellow Jersey in May 2011.

Another book, Sky’s the Limit: British Cycling’s Quest to Conquer the Tour de France, will also be published by HarperSport in June 2011.



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