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Preview to today's events
The inaugural Olympic Games Olympic Sprint will start the proceedings this evening, with the qualifying at 18:00 and the finals at 20:10. Favourites are France, Australia, Germany, Great Britain and Greece and it will be a titanic battle.
Next up is the women's 3000 metre individual pursuit, with the qualifying and semi-finals today. Favourite is French World Champion and record holder, Marion Clignet, who has been clocking 1:03 for flying 1 kms in training. She will be hard pushed by 'superwoman' and defending Olympic Champion, Antonella Bellutti of Italy. Bellutti has recently had her bike and position approved by the commissaires, as they falls within the UCI's technical regulations.
Leontien Zijlaard Van Moorsel is the other big favourite for the event, although her track preparation has not been as extensive as the former two. German Judith Arndt, New Zealander, Sarah Ulmer and Australian Alayna Burns are other strong candidates for the top four.
Then there will be the finals of the men's 4000 metre individual pursuit, with an all German final (Bartko versus Lehmann) and the possibility of an Australian or British bronze medal (McGee versus Hayles).
Of course, cyclingnews.com was there once again to providing the fastest and most comprehensive coverage of the Olympic cycling events.
France - or, more specifically - Arnaud Tournant, made amends for an unexpected loss in the Kilo last night by powering home the French team to snare the inaugural Gold Medal in the Olympic Sprint this evening. However, the emotional response from Tournant was the same: last night he cried when he unexpectedly lost, tonight he cried again when he won.
But this is not to deny the brilliant ride in the Kilo last night by Jason Queally, who took the final flying lap to secure the Silver for Great Britain, only 0.448 behind the World Champion French trio of Laurent Gane, Florian Rousseau and Tournant.
The ride off for Bronze was won by Australia, who defeated Greece with a time of 45.161. In what will be his last Olympics, Australia's Gary Niewand was happy, but not elated. "It's not gold, but it's certainly something I'll cherish. As long you take something home, that's OK," he said afterwards. His teammates, Darryn Hill and Sean Eadie, were "stoked" to have secured their first Olympic medal.
Nonetheless, Gold medals still elude the Australian track team, who have now won eight silver and nine bronze medals in Olympic track cycling since 1980, with only one Gold medal coming in the Team Pursuit at Los Angeles in 1984.
1 France 44.400 (60.81 km/h) Laurent Gane Florian Rousseau Arnaud Tournant 2 Great Britain 44.659 Chris Hoy Craig MacLean Jason Queally 3 Australia 44.719 Sean Eadie Darryn Hill Gary Neiwand 4 Greece 45.207 Kleanthis Bargkas Dimitrios Georgalis Lampros Vasilopoulos 5 Japan 45.406 Narihiro Inamura Yuichiro Kamiyama Tomohiro Nagatsuka 6 Latvia 45.589 Viesturs Berzins Ivo Lakucs Ainars Kiksis 7 Slovakia 45.659 Peter Bazalik Ivo Lakucs Ainars Kiksis 8 Germany 45.701 Jens Fiedler Stefan Nimke Soeren Lausberg 9 Spain 45.799 Jose Antonio Escureda Salvador Melia Jose Villanueva 10 Poland 46.186 Konrad Czajkowski Marcin Mientki Grzegorz Krejner 11 Czech Republic 46.276 Pavel Buran Martin Polak Ivan Vrba 12 USA 46.337 Christian Arrue Jona Carney John Bairos Qualifying Heats - Round 1 Heat 1 Latvia 45.589 defeated Poland 46.186 Heat 2 Slovakia 45.659 defeated USA 46.337 Heat 3 Spain 45.799 defeated Czech Republic 46.276 Heat 4 Japan 45.406 defeated Germany 45.701 Heat 5 Great Britain 44.659 defeated Australia 44.719 Heat 6 France 44.400 defeated Greece 45.207
Round 1 Greece 45.079 defeated Japan 45.264 Round 2 Australia 44.745 defeated Latvia 46.525 Round 3 Great Britain 44.517 defeated Slovakia 45.523 Round 4 France 44.302 defeated Germany 45.537
Bronze medal Australia 45.161 (59.79 km/h) Bronze Medal defeated Greece 45.332 Gold Medal final France 44.232 (61.04 km/h) Gold Medal defeated Great Britain 44.680 Silver Medal
It was a dramatic evening for the Women's 3000 metre Individual Pursuit, with first an Olympic Record and then the World Record falling. Holland's Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel set a new Olympic Record in qualifiying heats for the Women's 3000 metre indvidual pursuit with a flying 3.31.57, one of the fastest times all year and very close to Marion Clignet's world record of 3.30.974 set at the World Championships in 1996 at the Manchester Velodrome using the "superman" position.
Then in the semi-final Leontien went one better and did break Marion's record, one that many thought would never be broken. Her time of 3.30.816 using the normal aero position shaved 0.158 off the Frenchwoman's record and sets up a cracking final for tomorrow evening. In her semi-final, Clignet did enough to ensure a finals berth and finished with a 3.36.224, over two seconds ahead of British rider Yvonne McGregor, who will ride off for the bronze with Sarah Ulmer from New Zealand, who posted a 3.43.8 and was caught by the Dutch rider with over one lap remaining.
In the qualifying rounds, defending Olympic champion Antonella Bellutti stretched the limits of acceptable riding positions with a recent - but presumably legal - adaptation of Graeme Obree's now-outlawed tuck position, but was still off the pace and qualified in fifth place, defeating Germany's Judith Arndt in a time of 3.36.967.
1 Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel (Ned) 3.31.57 (51.04 km/h) OR 2 Marion Clignet (Fra) 3.34.636 3 Yvonne McGregor (GBr) 3.35.492 4 Sarah Ulmer (NZl) 3.36.764 5 Antonella Bellutti (Ita) 3.36.967 6 Judith Arndt (Ger) 3.37.609 7 Alayna Burns (Aus) 3.38.223 8 Erin Mirabella (USA) 3.38.431 9 Natalia Karimova (Rus) 3.41.627 10 Lada Kozlikova (Cze) 3.43.019 11 Rasa Mazeikyte (Ltu) 3.43.980 12 Maria Luisa Calle (Col) 3.44.395 Qualifying Heats Round 1 Heat 1 Lada Kozlikova (Cze) 3.43.019 defeated Maria Luisa Calle (Col) 3.44.395 Heat 2 Alayna Burns (Aus) 3.38.223 defeated Erin Mirabella (USA) 3.38.431 Heat 3 Yvonne McGregor (GBr) 3.35.492 defeated Natalia Karimova (Rus) 3.41.627 Heat 4 Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel (Ned) 3.31.570 defeated Rasa Mazeikyte (Lit) 3.43.980 Heat 5 Antonella Bellutti (Ita) 3.36.967 defeated Judith Arndt (Ger) 3.37.609 Heat 6 Marion Clignet (Fra) 3.34.636 defeated Sarah Ulmer (NZl) 3.36.764
Round 1 - first semi Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel (Ned) 3.30.816 (51.23 km/h) WR defeated Sarah Ulmer (NZl) 3.43.820
The somewhat parochial Australian crowd raised the roof at the Dunc Gray Velodrome this evening to cheer home local boy Bradley McGee to a Bronze medal, while Robert Bartko prevailed in the all-Germany final and defeated Jens Lehmann to secure the Gold Medal with a time of 4.18.85.
The Australian rode a personal best to record a 4.19.25 and was trailing British rider Rob Hayles for the majority of the event and with only 500 metres remaining he dug deeper than ever before and gradually pegged back Hayles as the volume inside the velodrome reached a crescendo. "To do it under pressure, ah hell, this crowd just brought me on," he said afterwards.
It was also a personal best for McGee, who only 10 days earlier had hit a kerb in Adelaide, fell and broke his collarbone. A steel plate was inserted that same day and only two days later, he was back on the stationary trainer.
The final for the Gold Medal was more subdued as the two German riders set off and Bartko rode the fastest time of the day to secure Germany's first gold medal at the velodrome and set a new Olympic Record.
Bronze Medal final
Gold Silver Bronze Total France 2 0 0 2 Germany 1 2 0 3 Great Britain 1 1 0 2 Australia 0 1 3 4 China 0 0 1 1