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World Track Championships - CM
Melbourne, Australia, May 26-30, 2004
Women's 25km points race
Olga takes the points - for the fourth time
By Karen Forman
May 29, 2004: Russian Olga Slyusareva became the first rider to taken four consecutive gold medals in the women's world championship points race after a brilliant ride, which included the taking of a lap at Melbourne's Vodafone Arena tonight.
The married mother of one took out three sprints and placed in three others to total 39 points ahead of Italian Vera Carrara (31) and Mexican Belem Guerrero Mendez (30) who also were a lap up. Well behind in fourth spot was new world pursuit champion Sarah Ulmer of New Zealand (12 points), who failed to make the breakaway of three despite being the instigator of repeated attacks early in the race.
For the Russian, the gold medal went a long way to making up for her disappointing individual pursuit result (she finished fourth) on Friday. "Yesterday I was disappointed not to win the individual pursuit, so today I was determined to do as well as I could," she said through an interpreter.
"I am very happy to have won." She said she had considered "everyone" a danger to her tonight, "because all want to qualify for the Olympics". As to whether she will be able to sustain the effort in Athens, she said she could only "see what happens".
"I have had wonderful support form my family, from my husband and my six year old son. Having them here has helped me a lot. They help to calm me down before a big race."
Like a few of the female athletes here in Melbourne, she said she was considering having another child after the Olympics. Carrara, who won a gold medal in the points race in the 2003 Sydney World Cup, told Cyclingnews she was very happy with her silver medal because it gave her the qualification for the Athens Olympics she had come to Melbourne to get.
"This will be my first Olympic Games and this was my second world championships (her first was in 1998)," she said. "I have been riding my bike for 18 years and my dream is to go to the Olympics and win a gold medal. This is the only event I came to do. I love it because it is a group race." Carrara also rides the road with the GS Fiamme Azzurre team in Italy and is also hoping for a ride in the Athens road race.
How it unfolded
A prancing Ulmer showed she still had plenty of energy to spare even after her 3km IP world championship the previous day, going straight to the front of the pack after the rolling start. Up there with her were Czech Lada Kozlikova, Australian Kate Bates, eventual gold medallist Slyusareva and German Hanka Kupfernagel - as it turned out, the key players in the race.
For a time it was Ulmer and Bates setting the pace, then Greek rider Eleftheria Maria Ellinikaki attacked with 92 laps to go. Bates promptly chased her. The sudden increase in speed saw gutsy Algerian rider Cherifa Adda (see story) struggling off the back.
Slyusareva led into the first sprint, which she won and then Cuban Yoanka Gonzalez Perez counter attacked. Perez and Ukrainian Lyudmyia Vypyraylo started swapping turns about 10 bike lengths off the front of a hard-chasing bunch.
The Algerian was lapped with 86 laps to go and pulled out four laps later, her Olympic dream in tatters. Mexican Belem Guerrero Mendez attacked from high on the bank, marked heavily by Ulmer who took the lead. Gonzalez led into the second sprint with Bates on her wheel and took the points. The German Hanka Kupfernagel counter attacked but the bunch didn't want to let her go far.
At this stage Sylusareva, Bates and the Mexican were all equal on five points. Ulmer and Bates started swapping turns again but then Gonzalez darted to the front, resulting in the field becoming more strung out. The Ukrainian won the third sprint and Kupfernagel counter-attacked out of the effort, with Slyusareva on her wheel.
Ulmer swooped like a magpie in her black and white New Zealand strip from high on the banking with 66 laps to go and attacked hard, immediately taking 20 bike lengths on the field. Strung out and chasing hard behind her with Slyusareva, who didn't miss a beat throughout the race, then Bates and Columbian Maria Luisa Calle and then Dutch rider Adrie Visser.
It was Kupfernagel who brought the bunch up to the leaders. Carrara led out at the bell for the next sprint tailed by Guerrero, the Italian, Mexican and German and took the points. Ulmer then counter attacked chased by Calle and French rider Marion Clignet and it was her involvement that made it look like a bike race.
She won the fifth sprint and collected her first but unfortunately only points for the event. She attacked again with 54 to go and three riders were spat out the back with the rush of speed. The next sprint was taken by Chinese Li Meifang, who had attacked with 35 to go and got half a lap ahead of the field, controlled by Visser.
The Czech rider had a go then and got 20 bike lengths on a strung out field. Slyusareva won the eighth sprint with Carrara counter attacking out of it, tailed by the Russian. The pair then got away with Mendez, leaving Ulmer setting the pace on the front of the chasing pack and started working on what would become a 20 point winning lap by the time the lap counter signified five laps to go. Slyusareva won the ninth sprint and the final effort gave five points to Ulmer and propelled her into fourth spot, just out of the medals.
Images by Mark Gunter
1 Olga Slyusareva (Russia) 39 pts 2 Vera Carrara (Italy) 31 3 Belem Guerrero Mendez (Mexico) 30 4 Sarah Ulmer (New Zealand) 12 5 Meifang Li (China) 12 6 Lyudmyla Vypyraylo (Ukraine) 8 7 Katherine Bates (Australia) 8 8 Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) 7 9 Adrie Visser (Netherlands) 6 10 Marion Clignet (France) 5 11 Gema Pascual Torrecilla (Spain) 2 12 Lada Kozlikova (Czech Republic) 1 13 Erin Mirabella (USA) 1 14 Edita Kubelskiene (Lithuania) 15 Maria Luisa Calle (Colombia) 16 Eleftheria - Maria Ellinikaki (Greece) 17 Santia Tri Kusuma (Indonesia) 18 Yoanka Gonzalez Perez (Cuba) -13 19 Mandy Poitras (Canada) -19 DNF Cherifa Adda (Algeria) DNF Yong Mi Kim (Korea) DNF Nontasin Chanpeng (Thailand)
1 Cherifa Adda (Algeria) 2 Katherine Bates (Australia) 3 Mandy Poitras (Canada) 4 Meifang Li (China) 5 Maria Luisa Calle (Colombia) 6 Yoanka Gonzalez Perez (Cuba) 7 Lada Kozlikova (Czech Republic) 8 Gema Pascual Torrecilla (Spain) 9 Marion Clignet (France) 10 Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) 11 Eleftheria - Maria Ellinikaki (Greece) 12 Santia Tri Kusuma (Indonesia) 13 Vera Carrara (Italy) 14 Yong Mi Kim (Korea) 15 Edita Kubelskiene (Lithuania) 16 Belem Guerrero Mendez (Mexico) 17 Adrie Visser (Netherlands) 18 Sarah Ulmer (New Zealand) 19 Olga Slyusareva (Russia) 20 Nontasin Chanpeng (Thailand) 21 Lyudmyla Vypyraylo (Ukraine) 22 Erin Mirabella (USA)