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World Track Championships - CM

Melbourne, Australia, May 26-30, 2004

Event program and results

Tales from the track

News and gossip from day 2 of the Melbourne World Track Championships

By Karen Forman in Melbourne

Alzamora wants to repeat Aussie madison gold

Spaniard Miquel Alzamora has travelled a long way to Australia hoping to achieve his lifelong dream of Olympics qualification. But that's not the only reason he came to the World Track Championships in Melbourne this week.

Alzamora, 30, who lives on Majorca, would love to win the event he calls a "lottery" - the scratch race - and his pet event - the madison. He is particularly hungry for a madison gold medal because he took the madison gold last time he was in Australia for a world championships (Perth in 1997) and dreams of making in a second-visit Down Under double.

But even if he doesn't win any medals, performing well enough to qualify for the Olympics will be enough, says the affable Spaniard who set out on his riding career as a junior, contesting the junior world championships in 1992. He started riding at senior world championship level in 1995 and has had a relatively successfully career, winning the scratch race gold medal last year in Mexico and the silver in the madison at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

He's much more confident of success in the madison than the scratch race here in Melbourne, however, given the unpredictable nature of the scratch race animal.

"Anybody can win in a scratch race," he told Cyclingnews. "Realistically, 90 per cent of the riders stand a chance in a scratch race. It can be a lottery. One mistake in a scratch race can completely destroy your chances."

That's why he never rides the same race twice. "I try to change my tactics so people can't see any tactics in the way I race. Sometimes I jump from the start. Sometimes I wait for the event. I do whatever it takes. I try a different plan every time."

Alzamora had an unexpected setback to his Olympic dream in February when he crashed in the madison during the Moscow World Cup and broke his arm. "The Argentinean had attacked and the Colombians were chasing him. They fell in front of him and I couldn't miss them, so I fell down too."

The Spaniard suffered a severe break and separation of the bones in his arm, as well as copping a 7cm splinter , which inserted itself under his shoulder. "It was very painful. The doctor had to cut me open and take it out."

The accident resulted in three weeks off the bike and although he has recovered well enough, says the arm still gives him trouble during changes in the madison. There's not much he can do, however. "I just have to work with it."

He says his fitness has improved this year and he has worked hard on his preparation. "My dream is to be the Olympic madison champion," he said. "That's not so easy because there is not a lot of money available to develop cyclists in Spain, although more money has been coming because of the interest in road racing, which has spilled over to the number of riders going to the track to compete. This has improved the level of competition."

More Day 2 News from the Melbourne World Track Championships

By Karen Forman in Melbourne

  • Ulmer breaks world record - In the final qualifying heat of the women's 3km individual pursuit, New Zealand's Sara Ulmer has broken the world record with a time of 3.30.604, two-tenths of a second inside the record that was set by Holland's Leontien Zijlaard - Van Moorsel in a semi-final at the Sydney Olympics.
  • Wolff returns to Germany after training accident - German sprinter Rene Wolff will make an unscheduled trip back to Germany this morning to get urgent treatment for a knee injury sustained in a freak accident at Melbourne's Vodafone Arena this morning.
  • Secret women's business challenges Van Moorsel - It's not the kind of thing that people (especially males) talk out loud about - but female athletes of all disciplines certainly know that having - or not having - a menstrual period when it's time for an important event can make or break you.
  • Australia misses out on hoped-for second kilo berth - Australia's hopes to forge a second berth for the men's kilo at the Athens Olympics - and Ben Kersten's Olympic dream - were shattered in Melbourne tonight when neither Kersten nor Shane Kelly finished in the top four of the world championship event.
  • Mendez wants to take gold for Mexico - At 30 she is one of the more senior female cyclists at Melbourne's Vodafone Arena for the 2004 World Track Championships, but Mexican Belem Guerrero Mendez isn't letting extra years give her extra stress as she prepares for the women's points race on Saturday.