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World Track Championships - CM
Melbourne, Australia, May 26-30, 2004
Tales from the track
News and gossip from day 1 of the Melbourne World Track Championships
By Karen Forman in Melbourne
World Cup gold medalists have to be content with bronze at World's
Craig McLean was cautiously optimistic after his British team qualified second fastest in the first round of the men's team sprint, just 0.6 seconds behind the French leaders, at Melbourne's Vodafone Arena velodrome today.
Having won the Sydney World Cup a fortnight ago in a smashing time, he thought the team had what it took to take the gold medal today. What he didn't anticipate was a false start in the first round and a mechanical problem, which led to a stressful false start in the final, resulting in a bronze rather than a coveted gold medal.
McLean told Cyclingnews after he, Jason Queally and Jamie Staff recorded 44.482 to the French (Mickael Bourgain, Laurent Gane and Arnauld Tournant) team's 44.22 in qualifying that he had been very happy with the ride.
"Normally qualifying is a bit slower, but normally you qualify in the morning, so we had all day to wake up," he said. "I think Sydney was a good indicator, doing 44.3 in the final. You always expect then to go out a bit faster the next time."
McLean said Queally had struggled a bit, just missing the start. "But the main point of being here is to qualify for the Olympics," he said. "A win isn't our major goal tonight. It's just practice. We're qualified for the teams sprint now and a top 10 also gets us into the sprint, the kilo and the keirin. Now we can sit back and enjoy it."
He said he wanted to finish top four in the kilo on Thursday, with the goal of attaining a second kilo spot for Athens for Great Britain.
Still, having said qualification was the main goal, he admitted to being disappointed with first round ride, which they completed in 44.705 and then bronze medal ride-off against Germany (44.765).
"It was all right," he said. "I guess my expectations were higher. It's not like us to go slower the next ride. Probably the mechanical problem - Jamie's bars came loose and they wouldn't stop the clock but classified it as a false start which mean we would be disqualified if there was another false start - was a contributor. It added to the pressure really.
"And then sitting around in the gate for so long didn't help."
McLean said he hadn't felt particularly bad, but not particularly good either, during the final. "It's hard to judge how you are going, you are always doing your best. It's a bit sad when you think the Sydney World Cup winning time was quicker than the winning time here today.
"But the job is done, we have qualified for the sprint. That's the main thing."
More Day 1 News from the Melbourne World Track Championships
By Karen Forman in Melbourne