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2002 WTC

 

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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti


World Track Championships - CM

Stuttgart, Germany, July 30 - August 3, 2003

Event program and results

Day 1 Wrap: Tears, comebacks, personal bests and improved luck

By Valkerie Mangnall in Stuttgart, Germany

An emotional first full day of competition at the World track Championships saw tears of joy, personal best rides for world and Olympic stars, a comeback from injury for one of the track's modern greats and a welcome change of luck for the Swiss squad.

Tearful Nimke

Heading for home
Photo: © Hennes Roth
Click for larger image

Germany's Stefan Nimke survived a hellish wait to be crowned king of the kilo as reigning champion Chris Hoy failed to feature in the medals on opening night at the world track cycling titles.

Nimke burst into tears when he was finally declared the winner after setting off third in the field of 22 to post a blistering time of one minute 01.225 seconds on the fast Stuttgart track. "It was hell to wait so long until they were all finished and I knew that I had won," said Nimke, who was a popular winner on home soil after missing the German championships with a slipped disc in his back.

"I knew I was in good shape and I was hoping to be first or second but I was still a little bit surprised and really happy at winning today."

PBs for Hoy & Kelly

Green and gold for silver
Photo: © Hennes Roth
Click for larger image

Hoy managed only fourth, despite riding a personal best of 1:01.704, while compatriot Jamie Staff was seventh and Olympic champion Jason Queally finished ninth. "It's a different scenario," Hoy said of his first experience taking off as last rider. "You are having to switch off and ignore what's happening but you can't do that so you've just got to relax and focus on your own race and hope it's going to be good enough. I did the best I could."

Meanwhile, after his nightmare senior debut in 1991, when he swung up a lap early on the 285m circuit thinking he had finished because he could not hear the bell above the roar of the crowd, a much older and wiser Shane Kelly claimed silver this time.

The 31-year-old Australian was pleased after clocking his personal best at sea level with 1:01.356. "I knew I had something in me, this year training has been very good, I haven't had too many mishaps or dramas and I knew I had a lot of speed and power, more so than I had last year," Kelly said. "I'm still knocking on the door, they still know I'm coming so that's a good thing I'm 31, who knows, 32 may be a good year."

Tournant's comeback

Arnaud Tournant also recovered from a slipped disc that kept him out of competition for about six months to claim third in 1:01.644. "The bronze medal is really like gold for me," the Frenchman said. "Stefan has belonged to the world's best for a number of years now and I really think he deserved the title."

Swiss luck changes

Swiss timing
Photo: © Hennes Roth
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In the men's scratch race, Switzerland turned some bad fortune around with Franco Marvulli holding onto the title he won last year. Marvulli would not have even had a start in the event had Swiss teammate Alexander Aeschbach not been ruled out by a nasty crash. Aeschbach suffered two broken ribs when he was hit by a bus while training on the road on Monday.

Marvulli jumped with two laps to go and held on for the win ahead of France's Robert Sassone and Jean-Pierre Van Zyl of South Africa. "I wanted to defend my title, I wanted to keep the rainbow jersey" said Marvulli. "I noticed with about two laps to go it was gong quite well. I didn't want to leave it to a sprint at the end so I went two laps before the end. I had nothing to lose, it was everything or nothing."

Slusareva retains

What's the point? Winning
Photo: © Hennes Roth
Click for larger image

Olga Slusareva retained her points race crown, comfortably beating Lithania's Edita Kubelskiene by 27 points to 19. The Russian grabbed points in all but three of the 12 sprints, winning the third and seventh. Yoanka Gonzalez Perez of Cuba was third with 16 points.