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Los Angeles Track World Cup - CDM
ADT Velodrome, Carson, California, USA, January 19-21, 2007
Session 2 - Evening, Friday January 19: Men: scratch final; keirin final; kilo TT final; Individual pursuit final, Women: sprint final; points race final
Exciting evening leads to British victories
By Rob Jones
The evening session saw six finals take place, with two Brits taking wins at their first World Cups in their respective events. Chris Hoy is making a very quick transition from the Kilo to Keirin, winning his first attempt in the event at a World Cup, while 18 year-old countryman Russell Hampton took the Scratch Race win at what was supposed to be a training event for him. All of this occurred under the watchful eyes of Floyd Landis and David Zabriskie, who were in the VIP area enjoying the racing.
The evening featured the semi-finals and finals for the top four women remaining in the competition - Anna Meares (Australia), Guo Shuang (China), Clara Sanchez (France) and Jane Gerisch (Germany). The racing took a turn for the record books, when Meares and Gerisch literally tied in their first ride - to a thousandth of a second, and to the pixel when the photofinish was reviewed. Thus, the pair had to re-ride, with Gerisch taking the first and Meares the next two to move onto the gold medal final.
In the Guo - Sanchez final, Guo crashed across the finish line in the first ride (taking down Sanchez), and then dropped down into the sprinters lane on the next ride, leading to her disqualification and giving Gerisch the bronze.
"I was really struggling after that tough semi," admitted Meares. "I've never tied like that before, although Lori-Ann (Muenzer) were separated by one pixel in 2004."
The final was almost anti-climactic, with Meares taking it in two straight. "This was one of the toughest sprint (competitions) in a long time. But Sanchez must have been tired and sore after her crash. I was surprised a bit in the last race at how Sanchez rode, though. Usually if she is at the front she rides hard and long, but she rode my style - short and fast - which was perfect for me to come round her."
The Chinese team were obviously upset at the disqualification, clustered around the officials for at least ten minutes and watching the replay on video.
As a sad sign of how far the Kilo has fallen since its removal from the Olympics, only ten riders started. Olympic champion Chris Hoy was not one of them. Times were ranging in the 1:04 to 1:06 range until the final rider, last year's World's bronze medalist Francois Pervis (France), laid down a blistering 1:02.255, a personal best.
"I was surprised to go so fast, since I still have a bandage on my back and am recovering from an injury to my vertebra. This is very good, since my goal is to win in Mallorca (World's), and last year I was third here and then third at Worlds..."
Pervis also commented on the dropping of the Kilo from the Olympics and the reduced field. "It is such a stupid thing. I would like to go to Beijing, but will mean changing to another sport, to the Keirin, and we have a lot of good Keirin riders in France."
Women's Points Race
This was one of the more exciting women's points races. Usually, one or two riders lap the field, and the riders cruise around between sprints as a group. This race saw constant attacks and counters, with no one able to steal a lap, and the final win coming down to the last sprint.
The early scoring leaders were Charlotte Becker (Germany), Leire Olaberria (Dur) and Wang Jianling (China). These three, along with Gina Grain (Canada) were part of a group mid-race that came the closest to taking a lap - gaining half a lap - before Hammer went to the front to pull them back. Hammer and Yoanka Perez (Cuba) dominated the latter half, with Perez moving into the lead after back-to-back sprint wins at laps 50 and 60. Hammer took the win at lap 70, tying the duo, and then it came down to who would be first across the line in the final sprint.
"I think the crowing glory that changed the race for me was the ten-to-go sprint. It was the one where there were two people off the front, I started gassin' it and I suddenly realized there was a chance that I could catch them, but I had to go completely all out, and after I did that, I absolutely blew myself, but I needed that.
"So coming in with just a few laps to go I was hurting bad and then (team mate) Becky (Quinn) came and she told me to get on her wheel. Unfortunately, I couldn't even hold her wheel because she was flying, but totally helped me out because the Cuban was stuck in the back and I could see that.
"With ten to go, I was either going to get the five points, but to blow over the top of everbody, but that really used all my gas up, but I knew that I had to concentrate and that I was tied with the Cuban. I just knew I had to beat her at the end."
Men's Individual Pursuit
This was no contest in the gold medal race between Vitaliy Popkov (Ukraine) and Fabien Sanchez (France). Popov was the fastest at every time split, and finished a second and a half up on Sanchez. In the bronze medal race, Sergi Escobar (Spain) took an early lead, but Valeriy Valynin (Russia) clawed his way back to win by a slim 39-hundredths, after posting a very fast final kilometre - over a second faster then the tiring Escobar.
Men's Scratch Race
This race was aggresive from the end of the first neutral lap. A group of eight immediately split off the field and took a lap, with another group of seven doing the same just past the halfway mark. There was one rider in both groups - Russell Hampton (100% Me Team), so the battle became for second place, with Wim Stroetinga (Netherlands) and Walter Perez (Argentina) the most aggressive of the 13 riders on the same lap. Perez tried to secure victory by jumping away in a group with 10 laps to go, and it looked like he would pull it off until Stroetinga literally caught him on the line to take silver.
Hampton is a first year senior - his biggest previous victory was the Junior Road Race title last year. This race was supposed to be "my first World Cup, so I am here for the experience. My coach didn't want me to go to the front from the start, but a group went away and i just sort of rolled onto it. The pace picked up and we were away for a lap. Then I watched for other (breaks), and got on another one the same way. No one seemed to be interested so I went across. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time."
Chris Hoy, the Kilo Olympic champion has switched to the Keirin, and this was to be his first World Cup attempt in the event. Based on his dominant performance and victory, it looks like the transition is going fairly well. Hoy appeared to be treating the event as a Kilo with a running start; jumping onto first wheel on the pace bike, and then riding a Kilo away from the other riders after the moto pulled off. In the first two rounds he opened gaps as big as 10 metres initially before coasting across the line first. The final wasn't quite as easy, since the Australians (with two riders) sought to neutralize him by taking the first two spots, to make him come around.
It didn't appear to make much difference, with Hoy still winding it up with four laps to go and flying by the front two. World Cup leader Ross Edgar (SIS - Great Britain) followed through on his wheel to take second; almost winning when Hoy eased up a bit early before the line.
"We had a plan," stated Australian coach Martin Barras, "but unfortunately our first guy (Scott Sunderland) wasn't quite fast enough. But we can beat him."
Hoy agrees that he will not always have it his way. "It was a big surprise really. I'm enjoying it, because it is a whole new type of racing; the Kilo hurts more, but the Keirin is more interesting. You have to be flexible, it is always changing.
"Maybe I was able to win this way this time, but it won't last; I will need to find new ways to get to the front. I knew that the Aussies would be trying something (in the final), and I struggled to get to the front, but didn't make it. So with two laps to go I just hit it really hard and went by.
"But I need to compete against Theo (Bos - Netherlands) and Arnaud (Tourant - France) at the World's to see how good I really am."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mitch Friedman/www.mitchophoto.com
Images by Mitch Clinton/www.clintonphoto.com
Men's Scratch final 1 Russel Hampton (GBr) Team 100% Me 1 lap down 2 Wim Stroetinga (Ned) 3 Walter Perez (Arg) 4 Volodymyry Rybin (Ukr) 5 Rafat Ratajczyk (Pol) 6 Aitor Alonso Granados (Spa) Cespa - Eustrak.Com 7 Ben Swift (GBr) 8 Fabio Masotti (Ita) 9 Charles Bradley Huff (USA) Team Tiaa Cref 10 Jesse Sergent (NZl) 11 Oleksandr Polivoda (Ukr) Isd Sport Donetsk 12 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) 13 Steve Schets (Bel) 14 Guillermo Ferrer Garcia (Spa) 2 laps down 15 Ho Ting Kwok (HKg) 16 Jhon G. Durango (Col) 17 Jiri Hochmann (Cze) 18 Marcel Kalz (Ger) 19 François Lamiraud (Fra) 20 Bruno Mzi (Swi) 21 Panagiotis Keloglou (Gre) 22 Siarhei Daubniuk (Blr) 23 Martin Liska (Svk) 24 Ryan Mckenzie (Can) Men's Keirin final Final 1-6 1 Chris Hoy (GBr) 2 Ross Edgar (GBr) Scienceinsport.Com 3 Shane Perkins (Aus) South Australia.Com 4 Scott Sunderland (Aus) 5 José Antonio Escuredo Raimondez (Spa) 6 Gregory Bauge (Fra) Final 7-12 7 Roberto Chiappa (Ita) 8 Lukasz Kwiatkowski (Pol) 9 Josiah Ng Onn Lam (Mas) 10 Kazuya Narita (Jpn) 11 Panagiotis Keloglou (Gre) 12 Gideon Massie (USA) Men's 1km time trial final 1 François Pervis (Fra) 1.02.255 (57.826 km/h) 2 Carsten Bergemann (Ger) 1.04.439 3 Yusho Oikawa (Jpn) 1.04.814 4 Hodei Mazquiaran Uria (Spa) 1.05.471 5 Marco Brossa (Ita) 1.06.527 6 Azizulhasni Da Md (Mas) 1.06.768 7 Stoian Vasev (Rus) 1.07.513 8 Konstantinos Iordanidis (Gre) 1.08.170 9 Azikiwe Kellar (Tri) 1.09.093 Men's Individual Pursuit final Gold Vitaliy Popkov (Ukr) 4.31.519 (53.034 km/h) Silver Fabien Sanchez (Fra) 4.37.066 Bronze Valeriy Valynin (Rus) 4.34.554 4 Sergi Escobar Roure (Spa) 4.34.593 5 David O'loughlin (Irl) 6 Patrick Gretsch (Ger) 7 Jenning Huizenga (Ned) 8 Tom Zirbel (USA) 9 Giairo Ermeti (Ita) 10 Sam Bewley (NZl) 11 Andrew Tennant (GBr) 12 Aliaksandr Lisouski (Blr) 13 Svein Tuft (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 14 Hayden Josefski (Aus) 15 Sergiy Laghkuti (Ukr) Arda Natura Pinarello Ukraina 16 Sergejus Apionkinas (Ltu) 17 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team 100% Me 18 Martin Lollesgaard (Den) 19 Christian Valenzuela (Mex) 20 Ingmar De Poortere (Bel) Women's Sprint final 1 Anna Meares (Aus) 12.393 12.086 2 Clara Sanchez (Fra) 3 Jane Gerisch (Ger) 4 5 Jennie Reed (USA) 6 Swetlana Grankowskaja (Rus) Moscow 7 Willy Kanis (Ned) 8 Liz Carlson (USA) 9 Jinjie Gong (Chn) 10 Daniela Larreal (Ven) 11 Oksana Grishina (Rus) 12 Yvonne Hijgenaar (Ned) 13 Lisandra Guerra (Cub) 14 Magdalena Sara (Pol) 15 Sandie Clair (Fra) 16 Kaarle Mcculloch (Aus) 17 Tamilia Abassova (Rus) 18 Nancy Contreras Reyes (Mex) 19 Renata Dabrowska (Pol)