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Track Cycling - Day 1, September 16

Men's 4000 m IP    Women's 500 m TT    Men's 1000 m TT    Cycling medal tally

Men's 4000 m Individual Pursuit

Bartko qualifies fastest

Robert Bartko
Photo: © AFP

German Robert Bartko qualified fastest in the men's 4000 metre individual pursuit, the first cycling event at the Dunc Gray Velodrome. Bartko was the last to start, going against Ukranian Oleksandr Symonenko, but outclassed the latter to ride a 4:18.976 (55.6 km/h). Bartko's time was a new Olympic record and was the fastest ever in a non-banned pursuit position, bettering the previous record set by Phillippe Ermenault (Fra) of 4:23.563 on July 30, 1993.

The night started well for Australian Brad McGee, who held the quickest time at 4:21.903 before it was bettered by British Rob Hayles (4:20.996). Then it was the turn of German Jens Lehmann, who split the two with a 4:21.350. However, Bartko came on last and smashed the previous times and will be the clear favourite for the gold medal.

The semi-finals will be later this evening, with the above four going in the following order: Hayles v. Lehmann, then McGee v. Bartko. The finals will be held tomorrow.


1 Robert Bartko (Ger)             4.18.976 (55.604 km/h) OR
2 Rob Hayles (GBr)                4.20.996
3 Jens Lehmann (Ger)              4.21.350
4 Brad McGee (Aus)                4.21.903
5 Phillippe Gaumont (Fra)         4.22.142
6 Oleksandr Symonenko (Ukr)       4.23.983
7 Sergiy Matveyev (Ukr)           4.25.380
8 Walter Fernando Perez (Arg)     4.30.757
9 Luke Roberts (Aus)              4.31.162
10 Mariano Friedick (USA)         4.31.241
11 Vladimir Karpets (Rus)         4.31.342
12 Christian Vande Velde (USA)    4.31.528
13 Alexei Markov (Rus)            4.31.589
14 Gary Anderson (NZl)            4.32.304
15 Franco Marvulli (Swi)          4.34.000
16 Antonio Tauler (Spa)           4.34.415
17 Vadim Kravchenko (Kaz)         4.40.410

German finale

In the first semi-final, it was German Jens Lehmann against Britain's Rob Hayles. Hayles had set the second fastest qualifying time at 4:20.966, however he could not back up in the semi-final three hours later. Jens Lehmann went out hard, and built a 1 second lead, which grew to 2 and then 2.77 after three kilometres. Lehmann finished in the same straight in 4:23.032 to advance into the final. Hayles backed off slightly when he knew he'd lost, saving something for tomorrow's bronze medal ride off.

In the second ride, it was fastest qualifier Robert Bartko against hometown hero, Brad McGee. Bartko was the clear favourite, but had he given too much in the first ride? The German started more slowly than McGee, but there was not much in it and the lead oscillated as they rode the first kilometre in 1:07.8. McGee lost a little time over the next two kilometres, but there was only half a second in it.

The Australian had to decide whether to go all out, or save something for the bronze. He raced to the death and with 1 kilometre to go, McGee started to come back but needed 1.128 second to do it and he couldn't. Bartko advanced into the final against his compatriot Lehmann.


First ride:

1 Jens Lehmann (Ger)         4.23.032 (54.746 km/h)
2 Rob Hayles (GBr)           4.30.080

Second ride:

1 Robert Bartko (Ger)        4.21.067 (55.158 km/h)
2 Brad McGee (Aus)           4.22.644

Women's 500 m Time Trial

Ballanger claims cycling's first gold

Felicia Ballanger
Photo: © AFP

The women's 500 metre time trial is a new event at the Olympics, so Olympic records were set at regular intervals. The first rider with that honour was Venezualan Daniella Larreal who rode 35.728 seconds for the distance. She was beaten by China's Wang Yan (35.013) who held the record before the quicker riders lowered the mark on this very fast track.

Michelle Ferris bettered her teammate, Lyndelle Higginson's time, setting 34.696. Ferris had huge crowd support, clocking 19.679 on the first lap (slower than Yan) but powered the second lap to set the new record. However, there were still five riders to come including the likes of Felicia Ballanger and Jiang Cuihua. The Chinese failed by 0.1 seconds, and Ferris was in the silver medal position.

Felicia Ballanger, the world record holder and triple world champion started strongly, riding 19.161 on the first lap - 0.5 seconds faster than anyone else. She held her advantage, finishing in 34.140, a new Olympic record and 0.13 seconds outside the World Record. The first gold medal to France, with Ferris taking the silver and Cuihua the bronze.

There was disappointment for Lyndelle Higginson, who finished 14th after pulling her foot out at the start. Her time was 35.859 seconds.


1 Felicia Ballanger (Fra)            34.140 (52.724 km/h) OR
2 Michelle Ferris (Aus)              34.696
3 Jiang Cuihua (Chn)                 34.768
4 Wang Yan (Chn)                     35.013
5 Chris Witty (USA)                  35.230
6 Magali Faure Humbert (Fra)         35.266
7 Ulrike Wichelt (Ger)               35.315
8 Catherine Freitag (Ger)            35.473
9 Tanya Dubnicoff (Can)              35.486
10 Iryna Yanovich (Ukr)              35.512
11 Daniella Larreal (Ven)            35.728
12 Szilvia Noemi Szabolcsi (Hun)     35.778
13 Lori-Anne Muenzer (Can)           35.846
14 Lyndelle Higginson (Aus)          35.859
15 Oxana Grichina (Rus)              36.169
16 Fiona Ramage (NZl)                36.536
17 Mira Kasslin (Fin)                37.145

Men's 1000 m Time Trial

Queally in a new Olympic record

Jason Queally
Photo: © AFP

An amazing finale to the men's 1000 metre time trial saw Great Britain score its first gold medal of the Games, with Jason Queally clocking 1:01.609 to beat German Stefan Nimke by 0.9 seconds and Shane Kelly by 1.2 seconds. Favourite, Arnaud Tournant could not match them, finishing fifth in 1:03.029, his worst time in a major competition for some time.

It was an upset for both Kelly and Tournant who were widely tipped as the gold and silver, however Queally rode extremely well, if a little messy on the banking. His coach gave the thumbs up after the ride, as he'd set a new Olympic record, however there were still three riders to come.

Nimke started a little behind, and got close to Queally by halfway, then faded in the final two laps but it was still good enough for the silver. Kelly looked smooth in the early laps, and was up by halfway. However, he slowed towards the end and lost the vital fractions of a second. As watched, surrounded by empty seats, the crowd raised the roof but became very subdued afterwards. At the end of it, Kelly had the third fastest time and therefore looked set to finish out of the medals.

However, the final ride produced the biggest disappointment. Arnaud Tournant, who has set the world record, and been unbeaten in major competitions for the past few years, could not get it together on this most important of nights. He started well, and was under the time by halfway, but then start to lose it. Arnaud knew he'd blown it on the third lap, and almost sat up on the last lap. He was totally disappointed at the finish as was coach Gérard Quintyn. "Merde" was clearly seen on his lips.

The end result saw bronze to Kelly, silver to Nimke and gold to Queally - an impressive result but not completely unexpected. At last year's world championships, Queally finished 6th despite being hit by a car two and a half hours beforehand...


1 Jason Queally (GBr)              1.01.609 (58.433 km/h) OR
2 Stefan Nimke (Ger)               1.02.487
3 Shane Kelly (Aus)                1.02.818
4 Soeren Lausberg (Ger)            1.02.937
5 Arnaud Tournant (Fra)            1.03.029
6 Dimitrios Georgalis (Gre)        1.04.108
7 Grzegorz Krejner (Pol)           1.04.156
8 Garen Bloch (RSA)                1.04.478
9 Narihiro Inamura (Jpn)           1.05.085
10 Julio Cesar Herrera (Cub)       1.05.537
11 Matt Sinton (NZl)               1.05.706
12 Jim Fisher (Can)                1.05.835
13 Martin Polak (Cze)              1.05.851
14 Jonas Carney (USA)              1.05.968
15 David Cabrero (Spa)             1.07.710
16 Gvido Miezis (Lat)              1.08.113

Cycling Medal Tally - Day 1

                     Gold      Silver     Bronze    Total
France                 1          0          0        1
Great Britain          1          0          0        1
Australia              0          1          1        2
Germany                0          1          0        1
China                  0          0          1        1

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