Sunday, February 19, 2012

Track Cycling World Cup 2012: Day 3 - Surprise in the Sprints

World Record times were replaced by surprises, as the order of the day, with the Women’s Sprint throwing up some big ones.

The first medal of the evening was in the Kerin where there was no surprise, but it was no less exciting. Once the derny had done its job, Simon Van Velthooven launched a huge attack and left the rest of the pack reeling. Initially the only man who could keep up with the Kiwi was the powerhouse German Rene Enders.

Soon the split was brought back together, mainly by the effort of Mickael Bourgain and it was a very tight finish. Chris Hoy kept his cool and rode around the outside, to take his 51st medal and 35th gold. He showed the selectors that he is still well in contention for the Olympics, with Matt Crampton finishing a lowly 11th.

Women’s Individual Pursuit
The excitement didn’t stop there, as Joanna Rowsell claimed her second gold medal of the weekend. The Brit put in a stunning effort, to hold off a chasing Alison Shanks and put over a second into the Kiwi. Rowsell looked like she might have gone out too hard, with Shanks reducing the gap from a second to under half a second, but she kept going and drew the gap out again.

Amy Cure of Australia didn’t have it quite as comfortable, as she claimed the bronze medal. Cure edged out Vilija Sereikaite of Lithuania, by four tenths.

Women’s Individual Sprint
People were throwing out the form books, as the women’s sprint came up with all manner of surprises. There was little surprise when Anna Mears beat Victoria Pendleton in the semi-final, with the Aussie claiming dominance over the past few years. Pendleton was primed to take herself into the final, with the score at 1-1, but an uncharacteristic error from the Olympic Champion saw Mears dive up her inside.

This left Pendleton fighting Wai Sze Lee for the bronze medal position; it was almost a repeat of the semi-final, as Lee dived down the inside of Pendleton. The Brit used her power to go around the outside and pip the Hong Kong rider to the line. She was soon to get her own back and took her in the next two races and claimed the bronze medal.

Mears went into the final of the even as the big favourite against Shuang Guo of China. While the bronze medal went down to a decided Guo wasn’t going to give Mears the chance to fight back and she claimed the gold in two races.

Men’s Omnium
After two days of racing, the men moved towards the final of the omnium event. Much more focus has been put on this event, after the decision was made to include it in the Olympics. The eventual winner, Juan Esteban Arango was there or thereabouts in all of the events and he finished with a full 11 points less than second place. Ho Sung Cho was the man who claimed second, while a victory in the time-trial put Zachary Bell into third place.

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