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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for April 17, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Jeff Jones

Track World's wrap up

Theo Bos (Netherlands)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The UCI Track Cycling World Championships concluded in Bordeaux on Sunday with four more events decided: the Women's keirin and scratch race, and the Men's sprint and Madison.

In the keirin, local hope Clara Sanchez was upstaged in the final by German Christin Muche, who recorded a convincing win over the Frenchwoman. Shuang Guo (China) finished with the bronze medal. In the women's scratch race, it was Colombian Olympic bronze medalist Maria Luisa Calle Williams who took home gold, beating Canada's Gina Grain in a messy finale after the pair had lapped the field. Olga Slioussareva (Russia) won the sprint for third.

The men's sprint wound up with the semi-finals and finals raced today. Dutchman Theo Bos added a second gold medal to his collection by convincingly beating Britain's Craig Maclean 2-0 in the final. Stefan Nimke (Germany) was quicker than Mickaël Bourgain (France) for the bronze. Finally, the Spanish pair of Juan Llaneras and Isaac Galvez dominated the men's Madison, lapping most of the field twice and finishing with 16 points, five ahead of Ukraine (Lyubomyr Polatayko and Volodymyr Rybin) and seven ahead of Argentina (Juan Esteban Curuchet and Walter Perez).

Click here for the full day 4 wrap-up.

U.S. team rounds off Track World's with two fourth places

The United States Cycling Team concluded the Track Cycling World Championships on Sunday with two fourth places. Becky Quinn (Quakertown, Pa./Team Spike) placed fourth in the women's 10 km scratch race and Jennie Reed (Kirkland, Wash./Team Spike) placed fourth in the women's keirin.

Jennie Reed (USA)
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

To solidify a spot in the finals, Reed placed second in her two qualifying heats, first to Di Mu, then to Shuang Guo, both of China. The six-woman final was without a clear-cut favourite after sprint and 500m time trial world champion Natallia Tsylinskaya of Belarus was eliminated in a photo finish a round earlier. Joining Reed and the Chinese duo in the finals were defending champion Clara Sanchez of France, Maria Garcia of Colombia and Christin Muche of Germany.

After drawing the pole position, Reed led the pack of six with one lap remaining, but a surge from the riders behind led to a subsequent disqualification for Mu followed by a crash for Garcia. Caught up in the aftermath, Reed had to settle for fourth place.

"I really don't know what happened," said Reed afterwards. "I have absolutely no idea. I'm trying to figure it out."

After dispatching some top sprinters in the sprint event earlier in the week, Reed was optimistic about her chances in the keirin, the stronger of her two events. "I had a good sprint. I beat some pretty fast girls. Usually when I have a good sprint, that means I'll have a great keirin."

Muche took the world title ahead of Sanchez, while Guo won the bronze.

Earlier in the day in the women's scratch race, Becky Quinn placed fourth. Two-thirds of the way through the 40-lap race, Gina Grain of Canada and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Maria Luisa Calle Williams of Colombia escaped from the pack and lapped the field, turning the final sprint into a dash for bronze.

In good position for the final sprint, Quinn was edged only by Olga Slioussareva of Russia, but with a pair of riders already a lap up on the peloton, Quinn had to settle for fourth overall. "Everybody has their agenda, and with two riders off the front like that with that many laps to go, the idea is just to keep it rolling and eventually catch," Quinn said after the race, "but nobody wants to sacrifice because everybody wants to win. Keeping the field rolling is one thing, but everybody was expecting everyone else to do the work. That's the way it goes sometimes."

With only one spot available on the podium in the closing kilometres, Quinn positioned herself for a shot at the bronze medal, but fell just short. "With two laps to go I was a little out of position, but I knew what I needed to do and where I wanted to be. Unfortunately it was for a field sprint and not for a spot on the podium."

In the final sprint, Williams took home the rainbow jersey ahead of Grain.

Australia ends World's campaign with five medals

Australia ended its campaign at the Track Cycling World Championships with one gold, two silver and two bronze medals. The result placed the Cyclones equal second with France for total medals won while Great Britain topped the count with six. The Netherlands, with three gold and one silver, topped the medal table with Australia ranked sixth.

Head Coach Martin Barras says the proximity of the World Championships to the Commonwealth Games, where Australian cyclists dominated, had an impact on the team here in Bordeaux. "It was difficult and we saw the same thing with the Brits in a couple of events where they did not perform as well as they would have liked and they agree their riders, like ours, had a little bit of trouble mentally backing up here," said Barras. "But essentially our goal was Melbourne and we nailed that objective.

"Having said that, we had some outstanding results, in particular the team pursuit win and Anna Meares' silver in the 500m," he said. "Katie Mactier responded like the great champion she is in the individual pursuit to come back from a bad ride in qualifying to post the fastest of the competition to win her bronze medal.

"The early hiccup was more an indication of the Commonwealth Games lag than a reflection of her form and that was also the case for Ben Kersten who rode brilliantly in Melbourne but admits he was a little off his best here."

Barras believes overall these Championships have identified some areas that need work as the team heads towards the Beijing Olympic Games.

"Although we have again demonstrated the ability to medal in both sprint and endurance events and men's and women's there are signs the depth we have enjoyed for the last four or five years is perhaps not there and that is important for us to realise," said Barras. "We now know where the effort needs to be made and where the rest of the world is caching up and that will help us immensely as we prepare for Beijing and for our overall future management of the team."

The final day of competition didn't yield any medals for Australia as both Anna and Kerrie Meares failed to qualify for the keirin final. Kate Bates, still suffering the effects of a flu that has stymied her Bordeaux campaign, managed 10th in a lacklustre women's scratch race and the Madison pairing of Simon Clarke and Sean Finning, who came in at the last minute as a replacement for an ill Miles Olman, finished eighth.

Hondo comes back in Köln

After one year of suspension, German cyclist Danilo Hondo will make his come-back on Easter Monday at the Rund um Köln race in Germany. The world class sprinter will return to the peloton in the colours of Lamonta, a German Continental team. His contract with the squad was signed last week, but if Hondo gets an offer from a ProTour team, he is free to leave the third division outfit.

"Of course that's unusual," the manager of Team Lamonta, Holger Sievers told Radsportnews. "But the situation is what it is. I think it's completely understandable that Danilo wants to go to the Tour de France; on the level where he belongs. We don't hold a grudge against him for that. For us, it's a huge publicity already." The team's sponsor, a furniture company, agreed to sign him and increased its budget immediately - Hondo' earnings are of course far from a ProTeam's salary, but not reported as low as Continental level neither. The German is eager to return to racing.

Thomas Dekker wants "a real go" at the Tour in 2008

Rabobank's Thomas Dekker, overall winner of this year's Tirreno Adriatico, will participate in the Tour de France for the first time this year. The young Dutchman, who finished a very respectable 19th in Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, wants to get to know the 'Grande Boucle' in view of obtaining what many say lies within Dekker's reach: a Tour de France overall victory.

But the 21 year-old knows that this won't come around too soon. "I'm looking forward to my first Tour this summer," Dekker told Sportwereld. "I want to achieve a good prologue and do well in the two time trials, too. Then, I hope to be in the right breakaway one day, but my main task is to be there for our leaders, Menchov and Rasmussen. I give myself another three years to go for the general classification."

The tall time triallist knows he has to improve his climbing to count as an overall Tour de France contender, which is why he is now under the wing of both experienced and doubted cycling trainer Luigi Cecchini, who also looks after the likes of Jan Ullrich, Alessandro Petacchi, Juan Antonio Flecha and Fabian Cancellara. "It was a choice I made with my manager Jaak Hanegraaf," said Dekker, who is outspoken on the subject and stands by his decision. "This 62 year-old scientist knows everything about cycling training, and I aim to achieve the greatest in my discipline. He is a second father to me. When I go back to Tuscany in May, I'll buy an apartment in Lucca.

"I want to have a real go at the Tour in 2008," he continued. "I will only rest when I have a Grand Tour on my palmarčs, when I'll have put my mark on the cycling of the next ten years."

Looking further into the future, Dekker doesn't exclude leaving his Rabobank squad. "I had a contract until the end of this year," he said. "I renewed it for one season. Rabobank would have liked to keep me until 2008, but I didn’t want that. I need to stay true to myself. When I'm 24, I have to slowly be able to lead a team."

Quick.Step to Georgia

The Belgian Quick.Step-Innergetic squad has announced its selection of riders for the upcoming Tour de Georgia in the United States. Directeur sportif Luca Guercilena will have the following riders looking for victory in America: Davide Bramati, Francesco Chicchi, Sebastien Rosseler, Leonardo Scarselli, Matteo Tosatto, Remmert Wielinga, Jurgen Van De Walle and Geert Verheyen.

Health Net without two Kiwis

The Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis will be without the services of its two New Zealanders in the near-term. Greg Henderson will be out for several weeks after suffering a fractured hip in a crash during the McLane Pacific Downtown Criterium. Initially, the injury was thought to be a deep contusion, but after several weeks without improvement, x-rays showed a femoral head fracture. Henderson is expected to make a full recovery, and will return to racing this season.

Hayden Roulston will be out indefinitely after contracting a viral illness shortly after his silver medal winning performance in the points race at the Commonwealth Games on March 17. Doctors are continuing to monitor his recovery in his native New Zealand.

For the Ford Tour de Georgia, Mike Sayers and Tim Johnson will replace Roulston and Henderson. For Europe, Garrett Peltonen and Jeff Louder will ride in their places.

Team pursuit final - the gap was narrower

The Aussie train
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

In our News story yesterday on the Australian team's victory in the teams pursuit final at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Bordeaux on Saturday, April 15, Cyclingnews reported the finishing margin as "36 hundredths of a second", when in fact it was 36 thousandths of a second (0.036).

Both teams were down to three riders for final few laps, but Australia's third rider stopped the clock at 4.01.491, compared to Great Britain’s 4.01.527 in one of the closest finals in memory.

Replays indicate that the first rider for the British team actually hit the line before an Australian, but the Australians fanned out to hit the line side by side, while the British trio were still in pursuit formation.

Great Britain's coach, Simon Jones, admitted to being “a little bit surprised with the result to be honest.

"I don’t often like to think about the result generally, I like to think about our performance. I was actually more pleased there with our performance than I was at the Commonwealth Games, because we rode a really good pursuit."

Jones explained that the British squad were beaten despite everything going to plan. "We didn’t come out as quick - that was the plan. And we came home really fast; we were beaten by the better team and I genuinely believe that. Overall I’m really pleased, but it’s gutting to lose, particularly to the Aussies! They rode a fantastic race though, it was close. It was a good race,” he said.

It appears the Australians had learned a lesson from the earlier session. In the qualifying rides, Australia had had the best time check at 3750 metres, but Britain had picked up almost a second over the final lap. Australian coach Ian McKenzie said, “it wasn’t so much that the English had a mammoth last lap [in qualifying], it was more that we had a really poor last lap, so we put a strategy in place to try and eliminate that”.

The strategy worked, and it was this difference in technique that seemingly made the difference on the night.

See: Day 3 wrap for more details

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)