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Sydney Thousand - NE
Dunc Gray Velodrome, NSW, Australia, November 27, 2005
Howard has his day as Sydney Thousand woos big crowd
By Les Clarke
After months of anticipation, the Sydney Thousand carnival finally took place on November 27, pitting some of the world's best riders against each other in match sprints, scratch races and keirins.
There were two feature races on the day's bill - the Sydney Thousand handicap over 2000m and the 'Match race of the century' between reigning Olympic sprint champion Ryan Bayley and current sprint world champion Rene Wolff. In round 1 of the match sprint, Bayley and Wolff performed for the crowd, playing cat and mouse high on the track before Wolff headed for home on the last lap. Germany world champion sprinter was able to hold Bayley off until the final bend, when the Australian came around Wolff to win comfortably.
Round 2 of their duel saw more tactical racecraft from both riders, with Wolff asserting himself and lading Bayley out early on the final lap. He would up his sprint almost a full lap from home and held on for the win, despite the best efforts of the West Australian powerhouse to catch him.
In round 3 of the race of the sprint champions, Bayley allowed Wolff limited room high on the track, maintaining control over proceedings before hitting his straps a lap from the finish to hold off a fast-finishing Wolff for the win. Bayley said after the race that "neither of us wanted to hit it, so it got very, very busy and there was definitely some hard racing. Rene's sprint was a bit longer than I expected, so he was actually taking a bit of my sprint out of me."
Bayley was complimentary, saying, "Rene rode very well and thank god I had a bit of a home crowd to get behind me," as was Wolff, saying "It was one of the nicest crowds and I had a really nice race."
In the day's other feature race, the Avanti Bicycles Sydney Thousand, 16-year-old Victorian Leigh Howard was able to hold off a fast-finishing Ben Kersten to secure the win. Howard, a student at Geelong's Grovedale College, said he hopes the win can be the start of something big for his career, saying he wants to "eventually make my way into the ranks of road racing. Be a road sprinter in the mould of Baden Cooke or Brad McGee."
Starting off the 60m mark, Howard was able to maintain a strong rhythm with the likes of fellow Victorian Joel Leonard and favourite Ben Kersten before proving the strongest sprinter of the field, holding off Ben Kersten for his biggest career win so far. Kersten was suffering from a back injury, sustained earlier in the week, and told Cyclingnews it was causing him a lot of pain before, during and after his race.
With Anna and Kerrie Meares, Kristine Bayley and New Zealander Elizabeth Williams featuring as the big riders, the women's racing had plenty to offer spectators. Kerrie Meares convincingly won the women's keirin after earlier scoring a strong win in the women's sprint, beating Kristine Bayley in the race for first and second. Meares was happy with her performance, indicating that her preparations for the 2005-06 season are well on track. Although she found racing in the recent track world cup round in Moscow a tough task after a forgettable 2004-05 season, she was in good form against sister Anna and West Australian rider Bayley.
The star attraction of the day was undoubtedly Robbie McEwen, and the Tour de France green jersey winner found his time racing the derny motor paced event difficult, saying a "miscommunication between myself and the derny rider" caused him to fall off the pace with approximately three laps remaining. He backed up for the final race of the day, the Blackman Cycles scratch race, maintaining good pace and rhythm mid-pack and enjoying a return to the track after nine years. The race was won by Korean rider Sun Jae Jang, with young Leigh Howard securing the rider of the meet award with second place against a quality field. Although he didn't feature in the results, McEwen appeared pleased with his brief trip to Sydney - something the large crowd also appreciated.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mark Gunter/www.pbase.com/gunterphotograph
Images by David Lane/www.actionsnaps.com.au
Event 1 Sydney Thousand 2000m 6 heats, first 3 to the final, 4-6 to Repecharge Heat 1 1 Joel Leonard 2 John Forrest 3 Leigh Howard Heat 2 1 Justin Tomlinson 2 Phillip Stokes 3 Tae Bok You Heat 3 1 Ben Kersten 2 Zakkari Dmester 3 Stephen Fitzpatrick Heat 4 1 Sun Jae Jang 2 Sung Baek Park 3 Peter Fitzpatrick Heat 5 1 Peter Barnard 2 Geoff Hopkins 3 Byung Hyun Lim Heat 6 1 Hyun Wook Joo 2 Joel Stewart 3 Paul Bayley Event 2 Brian Porter Commodities, Elite Women's Sprint Heat 1 1 Kerrie Meares (Queensland) Elizabeth Williams (New Zealand) Heat 2 1 Kristine Bayley (Western Australia) Anna Meares (Queensland) Event 3 International Match Race 750m Sprint, 3 laps 1 Mathias John (Germany) Nathan Seddon (New Zealand) Event 4 Blackman Bicycles Aces Keirin, 8 laps 3 heats, first 2 to the final Heat 1 1 Joel Leonard 2 Heat 2 1 Ryan Bayley 2 Scott Sunderland Heat 3 1 Mathias John 2 Shane Kelly Event 5 Avanti Women's Wheel Race, 5 laps 1 Soo Hyun Kim 2 Leeane Manderson 3 Apryl Eppinger Event 6 Round 1 Match Race of the Century, 1000m Sprint 1 Ryan Bayley (Australia) Rene Wolff (Germany) Event 8 Brian Porter Commodities Elite Women's Sprint, 750m final Sprint for 3-4 place 3 Anna Meares (Queensland) 4 Elizabeth Williams (New Zealand) Sprint for 1-2 place 1 Kerrie Meares (Queensland) 2 Kristine Bayley (Western Australia) Event 9 Round 2 Match Race of the Century Men's Sprint, 1000m 1 Rene Wolff (Germany) Ryan Bayley (Australia) Event 10 Ben Kersten Under 19 Scratch Race, 25 laps 1 Leigh Howard 2 Daniel Ellis 3 Dale Scarfe 4 Justin Tomlinson Event 11 Cyclingnews.com Elite Women's Keirin, 8 laps 1 Kerrie Meares 2 Elizabeth Williams (New Zealand) 3 Anna Meares Event 12 Round 3 Match Race of the Century 1 Ryan Bayley (Australia) Rene Wolff (Germany) Event 13 Avanti Sydney Thousand Final 2000m, 24 Finalists, 8 laps 1 Leigh Howard 2 Ben Kersten 3 Sung Baek Park Event 14 Le Spit Cyclery Women's Aces Scratch Race 25 laps 1 Sung Eun Gu 2 Katherine Bates 3 Leeane Manderson Event 15 AUSTAB Masters Invitation Point Score, 16 laps Point score, 8 sprints, points 3, 2, 1. Double points last sprint 1 David Willmott Event 16 Blackman Bicycles Aces Keirin Final, 2000m, 8 laps 1 Shane Kelly 2 Daniel Thorsen 3 Scott Sunderland 4 Ryan Bayley Event 17 Avanti Limited Riders Scratch Race, 14 laps 1 Nicholas Spratt 2 Mitchell Stock Event 18 Supreme Cycles Aces Derny Motor Paced, 30 laps 1 Mark Renshaw 2 Chris Sutton 3 Chris Young Event 19 Supreme Cycles Elite Women's Flying Lap 1 Kerrie Meares 14.88 2 Anna Meares 14.96 3 Kristina Bayley 14.97 Event 20 Poles and Underground A Reserve Elimination 1 John Forrest 2 Gavin Bates 3 Duncan Crosby Event 21 Burwood Cycle World A Reserve Scratch Race, 25 laps 1 Hyun Wook Joo 2 Sung Baek Park 3 Jung Hwan Youm Event 22 Blackman Bicycles Aces Scratch Race, 30 laps 1 Sun Jae Jang 2 Leigh Howard 3 Peter Fitzpatrick