|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
World Track Championships - CM
Melbourne, Australia, May 26-30, 2004
Men's 4000m Teams Pursuit - Finals - May 29, 2004
The Brits push Australia to a hat-trick
By Mal Sawford
May 29, 2004: Australia claimed its first Gold Medal of the 2004 Track Cycling World Championships thanks to a rampaging Teams Pursuit quartet of Peter Dawson, Ashley Hutchinson, Luke Roberts and Stephen Wooldridge.
As fastest qualifiers by two seconds, the team was heavily fancied to win its third Gold in succession. The plan, according to Australian Endurance Coach Ian Mackenzie, “was to ride controlled for the first 2km, and then give it everything.”
And that is exactly how it unfolded. The teams were neck and neck for the first three kilometers, with the lead changing back and forth by a few tenths of a second regularly. When ‘Macca’ gave the signal to lift in the closing laps, the British team could not respond, losing a rider and dropping a second and a half in the final four laps. Mackenzie summed up the ride as follows, “This is the closest the Brits have come to us for three years, so full credit to them. The guys really had to dig deep in the last few laps. I’m really happy with the ride. We couldn’t be in a better position at this stage of the year.”
So how did the Australians feel about winning a gold?
Peter Dawson: "Three in a row, it's unbelievable. It's something really special. To do it in front of a home crowd, is so amazing. Six years it's been . . . it's unbelievable."
Ashley Hutchinson: "I was on the sidelines last year and I just can't thank the Australian team enough for taking me on. I have all these emotions. My family is here watching. It's awesome."
Luke Roberts: "To win in front of a home crowd is unbelievable. We weren't all that confident, really. We came here with the aim of qualifying for Athens and a win would be a bonus. This was just a goal along the way, but the main goal is Athens.
"We didn't ride 100 per cent in form so to still win at 95 per cent was aweseome."
Stephen Wooldridge: "It's unbelievable, three in a row for me. The feeling doesn't change, every time it just gets better. The crowd helped a lot here. I haven't raced in front of a crowd like this before. Luke said he wasn't 100 per cent confident but he didn't tell me about that!"
While the riders celebrated their win with the capacity crowd, taking countless laps of honour, kissing the track and hoisting bikes in the air, British Coach Simon Jones told Cyclingnews he was a bit disappointed with this squad’s time.
“We hoped to do 4 minutes flat. I hate getting beaten by the Aussies, hate it. In reality, that was as good a time as I can expect from this team – while we have Bradley Wiggins to come in the Australians still have some of their best to come back as well.”
Asked if a World Record was within the team's capabilities, he was adamant that it was. “It will take a 3.55 to win the Olympics, and I fully expect to be competitive against Australia for the Gold.”
Bronze went to the smooth Spanish squad ahead of the Dutch, with Individual Pursuit winner Sergi Escobar Roure’s two-lap turns the difference between the teams.
Again, there was little separating the teams at the three kilometre mark, before Jens Mouris lost contact, and the Spaniards powered away to win by almost a second. Escobar praised the strong team spirit that exists in the Spanish camp.
“The team felt good and we found a great rythmn. We call ourselves the ‘Spanish Machine.’ We have been training together for two years now, and we know each other very well and can try to cover if one rider is feeling down.” Escobar and the Spanish Machine are determined to bring home a medal from Athens.
Images by Mark Gunter
Bronze medal final 1 Spain 1.05.291 (2) 2.04.514 (2) 3.04.328 (1) 4.04.968 (58.783km/h) Carlos Castano Panadero Sergi Escobar Roure Asier Maeztu Billalabeitia Carlos Torrent Tarres 2 Netherlands 1.05.248 (1) 2.04.389 (1) 3.04.453 (2) 4.05.751 (58.595km/h) Levi Heimans Jens Mouris Jeroen Straathof Peter Schep Gold medal final 1 Australia 1.04.388 (2) 2.02.896 (2) 3.01.547 (1) 4.00.322 (59.919km/h) Peter Dawson Ashley Hutchinson Luke Roberts Stephen Wooldridge 2 Great Britain 1.04.321 (1) 2.02.646 (1) 3.01.835 (2) 4.01.841 (59.543km/h) Robert Hayles Paul Manning Christopher Newton Bryan Steel
Bronze final Spain Carlos Castano Panadero Sergi Escobar Roure Asier Maeztu Billalabeitia Carlos Torrent Tarres Netherlands Levi Heimans Jens Mouris Jeroen Straathof Peter Schep Gold medal final Australia Peter Dawson Ashley Hutchinson Mark Renshaw Stephen Wooldridge Great Britain Steven Cummings Paul Manning Christopher Newton Bryan Steel