Sireau quickest in qualifying for sprint gold

The first night of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester offered a taste of what may become a theme in the build-up to - and at - the London Olympics, with Australia and Britain battling for supremacy.

Between them, they claimed three of the four gold medals on offer, with only Frenchman Kevin Sireau - clearly in impressive form after going under ten seconds in the 200m qualifying time trial - breaking the hegemony with his defeat of Britain's Jason Kenny in the sprint final.

But it was Australia, continuing its phenomenal recent form on the track, which ended up on top at the end of the opening session, with golds in the men's pursuit and women's team sprint, to Britain's one gold in the women's team pursuit.

And like so many other occasions, the rivalry between the two nations was symbolised by a thrilling men's pursuit final. Rohan Dennis, whose stunning performance at the recent Australian national championships was comprehensively overshadowed by Jack Bobridge's world record, faced Geraint Thomas in the final, having pipped him in qualifying.

With home support many fancied Thomas to claim gold and he went out fast to build a significant lead at half-distance. He then started to fade however, just as Dennis began to pile on the pressure in the final four laps. By the finish the Australian had prevailed by just over a second, though he admitted he'd been oblivious to where he was in relation to Thomas, especially as the crowd became more urgent, willing Thomas on as Dennis began to claw back.

"I wasn't sure where he was until half-distance," said Dennis, "and I didn't think he'd be that far ahead. I was hoping he'd slowly die off, then with four laps to go I attacked it. I just consistently held it until those last four laps, then I just gave it everything: it was all or nothing."

"I just went out too hard," said Thomas. "The team pursuit [on Sunday] is the main thing. I did this to have a good hit out, but I still like riding the individual and it's something I want to win the Worlds in."

Australia's second gold medal came in the women's team sprint, with Anna Meares overcoming jet lag to partner Kaarle McCulloch to victory over China. "I think we performed great under the circumstances," said Meares. "The jet lag's been difficult to deal with this week, so we can be very happy with that."

There was disappointment for Meares' big rival, Victoria Pendleton, when she and Shanaze Reade, riding for Sky Track Cycling, false-started and then failed to qualify for the medal rides. Instead, the top British duo was overshadowed by the young pairing of Becky James and Jess Varnish, riding in GB colours, who made it to the bronze medal ride; they had to be content with fourth however, as France claimed the third step on the podium.

There was a world class performance by the British women in the team pursuit as they defeated the world record holders, New Zealand, in a British record 3:19.757. In another exciting race GB led from the start, but with a cushion of no more than 0.3 seconds until the final four laps.

On the line the gap was a shade over a second, but it was enough for the British trio of Wendy Houvenaghel, Jo Rowsell and Sarah Storey, to claim gold.

Rowsell believes they'll have to go two seconds faster to win gold at next month's world championships. "I think it'll be a 3.17," she said. "Everyone raises their game for the worlds anyway, and the Australian ‘A' team wasn't here today.

"But I think we have a lot of room for improvement," added Rowsell, "and there are about eight or nine of us working to try and get in the team."

Storey, the former Paralympic gold medal-winning swimmer, said it had been "a team effort. I feel there were eight or nine people with us on the track today. It was a massive team effort. We've not ridden as a combination for more than two weeks, and we've trained with all sorts of different line-ups. But we feel we've got more to come at the worlds."

Sireau, meanwhile, was an impressive winner of the men's sprint, coming from a heat down to beat Kenny after also recording a rare sub-ten second (9.983) 200m in qualifying. In a re-run of the 2008 Olympic final, Kenny had defeated Sky Track Cycling teammate Sir Chris Hoy in his semi-final, with Hoy bouncing back to claim bronze against Germany's Maxamillian Levy.

At the half-way stage of the men's omnium New Zealand's Shane Archbold has a healthy lead having won the flying lap and finished joint first in the points race before ending the opening session with fourth in the elimination race.

Morning session

There were few surprises in the opening session of the track World Cup in Manchester. Day one of the meeting is dominated by the men’s sprint, and home favourites Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny (Sky) are safely through to the semi-finals, along with World Cup leader Kévin Sireau (France) and Germany’s Maximilian Levy.

Sireau was the only man to break 10 seconds in qualifying, as he clocked 9.983, and he followed that up with routine wins over Bernard Esterhuizen (South Africa) and Teun Mulder (Netherlands) to make the last four, where he will face Levy.

The British duo of Hoy and Kenny will face off in the other semi-final. Hoy was a shade quicker in qualifying. Hoy faced a stiff challenge in Michael D'Almeida (France) in the semi-final, but came through 2-0, while Kenny accounted for Lei Zhang (China).

Australian talent Rohan Dennis had the quickest time in qualifying for the men’s pursuit (4.15.519) and is set for a tight battle with Geraint Thomas (Sky) for the honours.

In the women’s team pursuit, Great Britain delighted the Manchester crowds by being the fastest in qualifying, although they were pushed all the way by a strong New Zealand trio. The men’s omnium also got underway, with Shane Archbold (New Zealand) getting off to the best possible start in the flying lap. His time of 13.291 was enough to take an early lead in the competition.

Full Results

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Men's Sprint Qualifying
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kévin Sireau (France)0:00:09.983
2Chris Hoy (Great Britain)0:00:10.046
3Jason Kenny (Great Britain)0:00:10.049
4Maximilian Levy (Germany)0:00:10.144
5Scott Sunderland (Australia)0:00:10.235
6Lei Zhang (People's Republic of China)0:00:10.256
7Michaël D'Almeida (France)0:00:10.258
8Damian Zielinski (Poland)0:00:10.269
9Teun Mulder (Netherlands)0:00:10.293
10Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia)0:00:10.310
11Carsten Bergemann (Germany)0:00:10.315
12Tsubasa Kitatsuru (Japan)0:00:10.325
13Andrii Vynokurov (Ukraine)0:00:10.329
14Robert Forstemann (Germany)0:00:10.333
15Miao Zhang (People's Republic of China)0:00:10.363
16Bernard Esterhuizen (South Africa)0:00:10.386
17Roy Van Den Berg (Netherlands)0:00:10.391
18Daniel Ellis (Australia)0:00:10.418
19Travis Smith (Canada)0:00:10.424
20Denis Shurshin (Russian Federation)0:00:10.450
21Sam Webster (New Zealand)0:00:10.470
22Joseph Veloce (Canada)0:00:10.479
23Tomas Babek (Czech Republic)0:00:10.482
24Ethan Mitchell (New Zealand)Row 23 - Cell 2
25Juan Peralta Gascon (Spain)0:00:10.486
26Yudai Nitta (Japan)0:00:10.492
27Tobias Wachter (Germany)0:00:10.500
28Christos Volikakis (Greece)0:00:10.545
29Josiah Ng Onn Lam (Malaysia)Row 28 - Cell 2
30Jimmy Watkins (United States Of America)0:00:10.566
31Adam Ptacnik (Czech Republic)0:00:10.567
32Vladimir Khozov (Russian Federation)0:00:10.569
33Hersony Gadiel Canelon Vera (Venezuela)0:00:10.589
34Maciej Bielecki (Poland)0:00:10.651
35Zafeirios Volikakis (Greece)0:00:10.660
36Muhamad Edrus Mdyunos (Malaysia)0:00:10.676
37Hodei Mazquiaran Uria (Spain)0:00:10.677
38Atsushi Shibasaki (Japan)0:00:10.724
39Clemens Selzer (Austria)0:00:10.730
40Itmar Esteban Herraiz (Spain)0:00:10.744
41Yuriy Tsyupyk (Ukraine)0:00:10.806
42Angel Ramiro Pulgararaujo (Venezuela)0:00:10.814
43Kazuya Narita (Japan)0:00:10.934
44Francesco Ceci (Italy)0:00:10.970
45Tomeu Gelabert Serra (Spain)0:00:11.065
46Valerio Catellini (Italy)0:00:11.120
47Miles Stovold (USA)0:00:11.179
48Andrew Kelley (USA)0:00:11.201
49Adria Sabate Masip (Spain)0:00:11.359
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Men's Omnium Qualifying - Heat 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Tristan Marguet (Switzerland)23pts
2Rafal Ratajczyk (Poland)21Row 1 - Cell 3
3Martyn Irvine (Ireland)20Row 2 - Cell 3
4Bobby Lea (United States Of America)20Row 3 - Cell 3
5Bryan Coquard (France)20Row 4 - Cell 3
6Carlos Alberto Uran Arroyave (Colombia)20Row 5 - Cell 3
7Tim Veldt (Netherlands)13Row 6 - Cell 3
8Michael Freiberg (Australia)12Row 7 - Cell 3
9Shane Archbold (New Zealand)9Row 8 - Cell 3
10Nicky Cocquyt (Belgium)8Row 9 - Cell 3
11Recep Ünalan (Turkey)6Row 10 - Cell 3
12Long Jin (China)5Row 11 - Cell 3
13Eerik Idarand (Estonia)3Row 12 - Cell 3
14Kazuhiro Mori (Japan)3Row 13 - Cell 3
15Mario Contreras Reyes (Mexico)-17Row 14 - Cell 3
DNFChristopher Imrek (Austria)Row 15 - Cell 2 Row 15 - Cell 3
DNFJason Forde (Barbados)Row 16 - Cell 2 Row 16 - Cell 3
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Men's Omnium Qualifying - Heat 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Ioannis Tamouridis (Greece)25pts
2Ho Ting Kwok (Hong Kong)23Row 1 - Cell 3
3Erik Mohs (Germany)22Row 2 - Cell 3
4Walter Fernando Perez (Argentina)8Row 3 - Cell 3
5Ben Swift (Great Britain)8Row 4 - Cell 3
6Elia Viviani (Italy)7Row 5 - Cell 3
7Ho Sung Cho (Korea)6Row 6 - Cell 3
8Siarhei Sakavets (Belarus)5Row 7 - Cell 3
9Unai Elorriaga Zubiaur (Spain)5Row 8 - Cell 3
10Alois Kankovsky (Czech Republic)5Row 9 - Cell 3
11Almonacid Mansilla (Chile)4Row 10 - Cell 3
12Niki Byrgesen (Denmark)3Row 11 - Cell 3
13Artur Ershov (Russia)2Row 12 - Cell 3
14Gediminas Bagdonas (Lithuania)2Row 13 - Cell 3
15Vladimir Tuychiev (Uzbekistan)Row 14 - Cell 2 Row 14 - Cell 3
16Rémi Pelletierroy (Canada)Row 15 - Cell 2 Row 15 - Cell 3
DNFDavid Askurava (Georgia)Row 16 - Cell 2 Row 16 - Cell 3
DNFJames Louter (South Africa)Row 17 - Cell 2 Row 17 - Cell 3
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Men's Sprint 1/8 finals - Heat 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kevin Sireau (France)0:00:10.842
2Bernard Esterhuizen (South Africa)Row 1 - Cell 2
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Men's Sprint 1/8 finals - Heat 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chris Hoy (Great Britain)0:00:10.519
2Miao Zhang (China)Row 1 - Cell 2
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Men's Sprint 1/8 finals - Heat 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jason Kenny (Great Britain)0:00:10.456
2Robert Forstemann (Germany)Row 1 - Cell 2
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Men's Sprint 1/8 finals - Heat 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Maximilian Levy (Germany)0:00:10.539
2Andrii Vynokuov (Ukraine)Row 1 - Cell 2
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Men's Sprint 1/8 finals - Heat 5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tsubasa Kitatsuru (Japan)0:00:10.358
2Scott Sunderland (Australia)Row 1 - Cell 2
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Men's Sprint 1/8 finals - Heat 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lei Zhang (China)0:00:10.702
2Carsren Bergemann (Germany)Row 1 - Cell 2
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Men's Sprint 1/8 finals - Heat 7
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael D'Almeida (France)0:00:10.702
2Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia)Row 1 - Cell 2
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Men's Sprint 1/8 finals - Heat 8
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Teun Mulder (Netherlands)0:00:10.848
2Damian Zielinski (Poland)Row 1 - Cell 2
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Women's Team Pursuit Qualifying
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Great Britain0:03:20.962
2New Zealand0:03:20.988
3Ouch Pro Cycling0:03:23.048
5Team 100% Me0:03:23.355
11United States0:03:29.312
17Giant Pro Cycling0:03:31.832
21Dft Treads Com0:03:51.908
DSQReyno De NavarratelcoconoRow 21 - Cell 2
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Men's Sprint Quarterfinals - Heat 1, Race 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kevin Sireau (France)0:00:10.328
2Teun Mulder (Netherlands)Row 1 - Cell 2
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Men's Sprint Quarterfinals - Heat 1, Race 2
#Rider Name (Country) Team