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World Track Championships - CM

Melbourne, Australia, May 26-30, 2004

Event program and results

Men's 50 km Madison

Curuchet & Perez a new force in the Madison

By Mal Sawford

Juan Esteban Curuchet & Walter Perez (Argentina)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

May 30, 2004: The Madison is always a spectacular race, even if it is often difficult for the uninitiated to follow. The World Championships Madison was no exception, with eighteen teams on the track, laps being won and lost, and a constantly changing lead.

The Argentinean team had promised plenty, after Juan Esteban Curuchet’s medal in the opening night’s Points Race. Proudly the oldest competitor in the field, the 39 year-old teamed with his ‘young’ (at 29) partner of two years to hit the lead for good with only 16 laps remaining in the 200 lap race.

How it unfolded

The bunch stayed intact for the first two sprints, with wins going to France and Austria, before Guido Fulst (Germany) surprised the bunch with a powerful attack. With little response from the bunch, the German pair gained a lap, putting them into the lead.

The attack was so swift that it took the pair only nine laps to catch the field, denying them any sprint points on the way. The sprint at 140 laps remaining saw Mark Renshaw (Aust) take second place, from a break of four teams: Lithuania, Australia, Argentina and Belgium, after Matthew Gilmore (Belgium) had sparked the split.

Mark Renshaw & Luke Roberts (Australia)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

After the sprint the teams from New Zealand, the Netherlands and Switzerland bridged, with Austria and Spain next to follow. The tired German’s had no answer to the flurry of attacks, and after a fruitless attempt to chase, returned to the main bunch. When the attackers lapped the main bunch with 83 laps to go, Germany were back on level terms on laps, but still without a sprint point to their credit.

The Belgian combination led on 10 points, and when Luke Roberts took the sprint at 80 laps, the Australians were in second place on 8. Robert Slippens put the Netherlands into the lead, winning the sprint at 60 laps, before the Argentines and Spaniards went on the attack.

The bunch split, with the Germans losing contact, and the Australians were in trouble at the back of the field before things regrouped. Six Day star Bruno Risi flew from the clouds with 46 laps remaining, and with Swiss partner Franco Marvulli, lapped the bunch with 35 laps remaining, taking maximum points in the third last sprint.

Curuchet’s winning move came with only 28 laps to travel, the sprint win at 20 laps during their solo attack putting them ahead of the Swiss team, with all other teams at least a lap behind. The Swiss team, trailing by two points in the final sprint, needed to place to win the race. The pace was high, as Australia and the Netherlands fought for the bronze, and despite Marvulli’s desperate effort, the Swiss were unplaced, leaving Curuchet and Perez World Champions.

Curuchet was more than willing to share his happiness, telling Cyclingnews through a translator, “I was a 15 year old with a dream. I’m 39 now so it has taken me over 20 years to get to this moment so you can imagine how I feel about it. I knew I had a little bit left at the end of the Points Race so I felt good going into the Madison.”

Robert Slippens & Danny Stam (Netherlands)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

The win was the first Gold for Curuchet after ten minor placings in a long career. “We were watching out for Holland. They have had good individual results and good team results. We have been watching them all year and especially today.”

The team didn’t panic after Germany took an early lap, saying, “We knew from experience that riders would get tired by the end so we knew we had to attack later in the race.”

Looking to the Olympics, Curuchet revealed, “We will follow a similar program going into the Olympics. We’ll do a lot of road work followed by some track work as it gets closer to the Olympics. I expect to do very well there, also.”

Perez was a little less verbose, but equally pleased to have been part of Argentina’s only World Championships win saying only, “Step one was to qualify. Step two was to get a medal here and the next step is to medal at the Olympics.”

Silver Medalist Franco Marvulli was delighted with the Swiss result, saying, “I am very relieved. I have not been in good shape as I have been in bed for three days before this totally exhausted. I could only manage to drink a berocca.

"Gold was too far away. We tried everything but in the end we did not have the legs to make it. Now I have that feeling between relief and disappointment as we had gold in our hands. Saying all this we didn’t lose gold we won silver.”

Franco Marvulli & Bruno Risi (Switzerland)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

The Bronze went to the Netherlands, after a close sprint battle with the Australian pair. Robert Slippens knew luck had played a part. “We know with the Madison the six or seven teams who can win, you have to be a little bit lucky. It’s always hard losing first position after leading during the last part of the race.”

Far from being disappointed with narrowly missing a medal, Mark Renshaw was “ecstatic after the week I’ve had. Last night was one of the toughest nights for me, watching the guys gold from the sidelines. I knew I had to finish top ten to go to Athens and so to finish fourth I’m ecstatic.”

His thoughts now turn to the Olympics, where he hopes to cement a place in the Teams Pursuit line up; but was realistic enough to offer the following when asked if he thought he would get a ride. “I’ll have to wait and see. I’ve just qualified in the Points Race and the Madison so hopefully selectors in Australia will think I can help with the medal tally. One of our problems in Australia is we have too much depth!”

Results

1 Argentina              7 pts
 Juan Esteban Curuchet    
 Walter Perez             
2 Switzerland            5 pts
 Franco Marvulli          
 Bruno Risi               
 
One lap behind
 
3 Netherlands           18 pts
 Robert Slippens          
 Danny Stam               
4 Australia             17 pts
 Mark Renshaw             
 Luke Roberts             
5 Belgium               14 pts
 Matthew Gilmore          
 Iljo Keisse              
6 Austria                8 pts
 Roland Garber            
 Franz Stocher            
7 Ukraine                7 pts
 Volodymyr Rybin          
 Vasyl Yakovlev           
8 New Zealand            3 pts
 Greg Henderson           
 Hayden Roulston          
9 Spain                   
 Miquel Alzamora Riera    
 Joan Llaneras Rosello    
 
Two laps behind
 
10 France               15 pts
 Neuville Jérôme          
 Franck Perque            
11 Slovakia              5 pts
 Martin Liska             
 Jozef Zabka              
12 Great Britain         4 pts
 Dean Downing             
 Russel Downing           
13 Czech Republic        3 pts
 Martin Blaha             
 Petr Lazar               
14 Germany                
 Guido Fulst              
 Sven Teutenberg          
 
Three laps behind
 
15 Russia                 
 Oleg Grishkine           
 Serguei Koudentsov       
 
Four laps behind
 
16 Kazakhstan            3 pts
 Ilya Chernyshov          
 Yuriy Yuda               
17 Uruguay               1
 Tomas Margalef           
 Milton Wynants           
DNF South Africa          
 Robert Dale              
 Jean-Pierre Van Zyl      

Startlist

1 Argentina        Black   Juan Esteban Curuchet
                   Red     Walter Perez
2 Australia        Black   Mark Renshaw
                   Red     Luke Roberts
3 Austria          Black   Roland Garber
                   Red     Franz Stocher
4 Belgium          Black   Matthew Gilmore
                   Red     Iljo Keisse
5 Czech Republic   Black   Martin Blaha
                   Red     Petr Lazar
6 Spain            Black   Miquel Alzamora Riera
                   Red     Joan Llaneras Rosello
7 France           Black   Neuville Jérôme
                   Red     Franck Perque
8 Great Britain    Black   Dean Downing
                   Red     Russel Downing
9 Germany          Black   Guido Fulst
                   Red     Sven Teutenberg
10 Kazakhstan      Black   Ilya Chernyshov
                   Red     Yuriy Yuda
11 Netherlands     Black   Robert Slippens
                   Red     Danny Stam
12 New Zealand     Black   Greg Henderson
                   Red     Hayden Roulston
13 South Africa    Black   Robert Dale
                   Red     Jean-Pierre Van Zyl
14 Russia          Black   Oleg Grishkine
                   Red     Serguei Koudentsov
15 Switzerland     Black   Franco Marvulli
                   Red     Bruno Risi
16 Slovakia        Black   Martin Liska
                   Red     Jozef Zabka
17 Ukraine         Black   Volodymyr Rybin
                   Red     Vasyl Yakovlev
18 Uruguay         Black   Tomas Margalef
                   Red     Milton Wynants