Sunday, March 27, 2011

Track World Championships - Day 5

Anna Meares became the second woman to win three rainbow jerseys, in one world championship, as she won a dramatic Kerin.

Women’s Kerin
The big surprise of this event was Victoria Pendleton’s failure to reach the major final, after she was squeezed out in the final sprint. Pendleton was the first woman to win three golds in one championship, but she has failed to take any home with her this time. Mears went in to the final as the big favourite, however she had to contend with Frenchwoman Clara Sanchez. Shuang Gou led the group around on to the final lap, but it nearly came a cropper when Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez crashed. The Cuban caught her elbow on Gou’s leg, which sent her flying down the track, but fortunately she hit no one else. Sanchez took the chance to jump the group, as Gou slowed down, with Meares right on her wheel. The Aussie showed to power, we all know she has, to obliterate the rest of the group. Olga Panarina put in a stunning sprint to go over the top of two riders, to take silver, and Sanchez took bronze.

Track World Championships - Day 4

Anna Meares finally broke her duck, in the women’s individual sprint, and dethroned Victoria Pendleton in Apeldoorn.

Women’s Individual Pursuit
Meares has been the bridesmaid, in this event, on several occasions, despite winning six other rainbow jerseys. The Aussie met Pendleton in the semi-final, who forced it to a decider, after capitalising on Meares’ hesitancy, in the second heat. After dispatching the five-time World and Olympic Champion, she went on to meet Simona Krupeckaite, in the final. The Lithuanian was a much easier target and she was beaten in only two races. Her success, in this event, has had to come at a price; the Aussie gave up the 500m sprint, to allow her to focus the pursuit. Pendleton went on to claim the bronze, in emphatic style, after toppling Olga Panarina, in two heats.

Track World Championships - Day 3

Gregory Bauge didn’t even look like he was breaking a sweat, as he eased passed Jason Kenny, to take his third consecutive Individual Sprint World Championship.

Men’s Individual Sprint
Bauge went fourth in qualifying and was drawn against fellow Frenchman Mickael Bourgain, who had set the fastest time. Bourgain put up a solid fight in the first heat, but was eventually overpowered by Bauge, on the final straight. The second heat was more of a foregone conclusion, as the elder rider ramped up the speed. In the other semi-final, Jason Kenny continued in his ascendency, as he confidently beat Sir Chris Hoy in two. Bauge went on to face Kenny in the final and despite the Brit’s best efforts the Frenchman toppled him in two. Hoy managed to salvage some pride, by taking the bronze medal, but he was forced to go to the decider.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Track World Championships - Day 2

Great Britain destroyed their rivals, to take a dominant gold medal in the women’s team pursuit in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.

Women’s Team Pursuit
The team of Wendy Houvenaghel, Laura Trott and Danielle King demolished the United States, by almost two seconds. The result is proved all the better, considering Trott and King were making their Elite debuts at World level. New Zealand took their first medal of the championships, by beating Australia in to third. The slow track at Apeldoorn has caught a few people out, but the British team made sure they were perfectly honed for it and it showed.

Track World Championships - Day 1

Olga Panarina became the first gold medallist of the 2011 World Championships, as she took victory in the women’s 500 metre time trial.

Women’s 500 t.t.
The Belarusian just managed to pip Sandie Clair, to the win, by two tenths of a second, with a time of 14.649 seconds. Clair took gold in this event at the European Championships, but didn’t have enough in the tank. The event has fallen out of favour since it was axed from the Olympics, but that didn’t stop a top class field taking part. Just behind the leading pair, were Miriam Welte and Willy Kanis.  

Men’s Team Pursuit
Australia was the surprise winners in the team pursuit, as current Olympic Champions Great Britain, only managed a bronze medal. The Aussies put out a formidable team of; Jack Bobridge, Rohan Denis, Michael Hepburn and, Commonwealth time-trial bronze medallist Luke Durbridge. Russia had no answer to Australia and crossed the line almost five seconds down. Great Britain’s performance was almost as good, despite not having their normal big hitters, as they took three seconds out of New Zealand.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Franco Pellizotti banned by CAS after being cleared in Italy

Franco Pellizotti may have been forgiven, for thinking he’d got off scot free, after the UCI brought him to court for abnormalities on his biological passport.

The Italian has been convicted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, after the UCI appealed the original decision. Pellizotti was provisionally suspended, before the 2009 Giro d’Italia, and has had all of his results since then removed.

He had been cleared by an Italian court in October and even went as far as threatening to sue the UCI. The cycling governing body has managed to get their own back, after the CAS lumped the Liquigas rider with an 115,000 Euro fine. The UCI are applauding this as a success for the biological passport; as much as it is a success, it is another case of one court saying one thing and another saying something else. If a rider is to be banned, they should have a total ban, and there shouldn’t be so many decisions turned over.