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World Track Championships - CM
Melbourne, Australia, May 26-30, 2004
Men's Sprint Quarter Finals
Theo gets knocked down, but gets back up again
By Mal Sawford
May 29, 2004: Three of the match ups in the 1/4 Finals were decided in two rides, with only the Theo Bos / Jamie Staff pairing going to the decider. Bos and Staff actually set off form the start line four times, as the 20 year old Dutch rider was unlucky enough to hit the deck twice!
Staff surprised Bos in the first heat with his jump from behind and opened a two lap lead. Bos closed the gap dramatically in the final bend, but came up just short, but in his frantic throw at the line lost control of his machine, glanced off the solidly built Staff, and tumbled down the banking while travelling at top speed.
He was quickly to his feet and eager to get the second heat underway. His second fall came early as Staff moved down off the banking in the first turn, with his wheel slipping out from under him. Slow speed falls on a steeply banked track can often lead to more a painful landing; and this one seemed no exception.
Bos was on fire for the rerun, which was held as soon as the riders returned to the start line. The race unfolded in a similar fashion to the first heat, but this time Bos had speed to burn, taking the win by not much more than the width of his tyre.
The capacity crowd had adopted the battle scarred youngster, and cheered him home to victory. There was a much longer wait for the deciding heat, as a couple of medal presentation ceremonies were scheduled first, but the entire crowd stayed late to watch Bos outwit his more experienced opponent.
Bos climbed high on the banking and started to dive underneath Staff as they entered the home straight for the penultimate time, but as Staff moved to shut the door, Bos changed his line and flew past on the outside for a four length lead – and an easy win.
Bos revealed after the race that he hadn’t felt the pain from his falls, “because of the adrenalin I didn’t feel my body. It probably helped me tonight, but tomorrow will be different: after a sleep I will be stiff.”
When asked if he had fallen twice in one race before, he admitted that “I have never fallen on the track before. This was the first time! My team mate Teun (Mulder) he crashes a lot of times, and I say I’m just lucky all the time. But he said ‘your turn will come’ and now it’s my turn.”
The other matches saw Damian Zielinski (Poland) win his first ride against Mulder running the Dutchman down from behind, but choosing to lead out the second heat for a comfortable win.
Ryan Bailey qualified a second Sprint place for the Australian team in Athens, with convincing wins against Mickaël Bourgain (France) – again one from in front, and one from behind.
The first heat between sprint legends Jens Fiedler (Germany) and Laurent Gane (France) required a restart, after Fiedler brushed the track fence while the pair set up for the only track stand of the sprint rounds so far.
The restart saw Fiedler lead out while Gane followed at the top of the banking. When Gane jumped, the German held him at bay until the final bend, when Gane’s impressive top-end speed saw him home. The second heat saw Fiedler take the lead despite Gane’s best efforts to pin him against the fence. As Fiedler wound up, Gane backed off a length, and then charged past, giving his opponent a long ‘Lance style’ look as he crossed the line.
Images by Mark Gunter
Heat 1 1 Damian Zielinski (Poland) 10.773 11.013 2 Teun Mulder (Netherlands) Heat 2 1 Theo Bos (Netherlands) 11.024 10.867 2 Jamie Staff (Great Britain) 11.101 Heat 3 1 Ryan Bayley (Australia) 10.668 10.966 2 Mickaël Bourgain (France) Heat 4 1 Laurent Gane (France) 10.891 11.112 2 Jens Fiedler (Germany) Start list Heat 1 155 Teun Mulder (Netherlands) 179 Damian Zielinski (Poland) Heat 2 152 Theo Bos (Netherlands) 97 Jamie Staff (Great Britain) Heat 3 74 Mickaël Bourgain (France) 8 Ryan Bayley (Australia) Heat 4 103 Jens Fiedler (Germany) 75 Laurent Gane (France)