Sunday, February 19, 2012

Track Cycling World Cup 2012: Day 2 - The World Records Tumble

With the Olympics only five months away, the Olympic Velodrome was set alight with World Records.

All the riders were eager to show their form, at the test event, and it was Australia and Great Britain leading the way. Australia were the first team to win gold, when Melissa Hoskins went with 2km to go in the women’s scratch race. Hoskins managed to leave the rest of the field behind and take a great solo victory.

Women’s Team Sprint
Great Britain were next up and have changed their Women’s Team Sprint line-up, since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, but they are no less a force to be reckoned with. Jess Varnish has been solely focused on training for the opening lap and it showed when she set a British record in the heats. All the pressure was put on the five time Individual Sprint champion, Victoria Pendleton, to fight back.

The Australians weren’t going to give it to them easily and went on to set a world record, in the semi-finals. Anna Meares and Kaarle McCoulloch will be hoping to retain the World Championship title and looked determine to get a good run into the championships. In the end, there was only three tenths of a second between the two teams.

Women’s Team Pursuit
Surprise in the women’s Team Pursuit, with the Australians left to fight it out with the Netherlands for the bronze medal. The team from down under were too much for the Dutch and they finished almost three seconds ahead of them and set a new world record.

With a new record set in the bronze medal competition, the major final was going to be a huge battle. It was all change again for team GB, as Dani King made a return from illness and replaced an unhappy looking Wendy Houvenaghel. Great Britain was out of the blocks with great force and had Canada right on the back foot, but the Canadians began to come back at them. The current world and Olympic Champions didn’t panic and manage to maintain a gap of 8 tenths, when they crossed the finish line.

Men’s Team Sprint
It was a different set of countries in the final of the men’s Team Sprint, as Germany and France did battle. It was all go from the start, as the fastest lead out man in the world, Rene Enders went out so fast that he left his teammates in his wake. They managed to pull it back and held off a charge back from France, to win by less than a tenth of a second. Australia and Great Britain found themselves in an unusual position, in the bronze shootout. Team GB were in control from the start and it was left to Chris Hoy to finish it off.

Men’s Kilo & Points Race
The final two medals of the day were the Men’s Kilo and the Men’s Point’s race. Stefan Nimke got Germany’s second gold, as he beat Mickael D’Almeida by eight tenths of a second. Britain’s Matt Crampton could only manage fourth, while he recovers from an accident.

The points race provided the usual excitement with Albert Torres and Kirill Sveshnikov taking two laps on the rest of the bunch. Eleven other riders, including Australia’s Luke Durbridge, took one lap. However it was the two laps that helped Torres take gold, despite being beaten to the finish line by Sveshnikov. The Spaniard beat the Russian by 16 points, who only managed to take points in one sprint.

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