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2007 UCI Track Cycling World Championships - CM
Spain, March 29-April 1, 2007
By Shane Stokes in Palma
Guo best in sprint qualifier
Having taken the bronze medal last year, Shuang Guo (People's Republic of China) posted the fastest qualifying time for the women's sprint.
She covered the 200 metre distance in 11.149 seconds, just under 0.05 seconds quicker than Simona Kreupeckaite. The Lituanian finished 0.003 seconds ahead of Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton, who won the sprint title in 2005 and took team sprint gold last night, with Clara Sanchez (France) in fourth.
Anna Meares (Australia) and defending champion Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus) were fifth and sixth.
24 of the 25 entered riders progressed to the next round, with Guo sprinting off against the slowest from the 200m TT, and so forth. The 1/16 and 1/8 finals plus the 1/8 final repecharge took place the afternoon following the qualifiers, with the quarterfinals following in the evening. The medals will be decided on the second day.
The medallists from last year progressed through the 1/16 finals without any serious problems, Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus), Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) and Shuang Guo (China) all winning their heats.
Pendleton had a scare, however, when her opponent Kristine Bayley swung up the track on the final lap bumped her hard. She was still able to win the heat, and the Australian received a warning for her move.
Others going through to the 1/8 finals were Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania), Clara Sanchez (France), Anna Meares (Australia), Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez (Cuba), Dana Glöss (Germany), Swetlana Grankowskaja (Russia), Anna Blyth (Great Britain) and Daniela Grelui Larreal (Venezuela).
Christin Muche (Germany) also went forward after her opponent Yvonne Hijgenaar (Netherlands) was relegated. The Dutchwoman was on her outside on the final lap and came down to clash shoulders several times, crossing the line first but being booted for her manoeuvre.
2006 champion Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus) plus podium finishers Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) and Shuang Guo (China) continued their progress when they won their heats in the 1/8 final this afternoon. In her race, Pendleton was up against countrywoman Anna Blyth, and came back from behind to win. 2004 silver medallist Anna Meares (Australia) beat Dana Glöss (Germany), while Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) and Clara Sanchez (France) also came out on top.
In the repechages, Muche and Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez grasped their second chance and went through.
1/4 final: Defending champ out of women's sprint
Victoria Pendleton may have lost out to Belarusian Natallia Tsylinskaya in last year's world championships but the Briton had the measure of her opponent, beating her in two rounds of their quarterfinal heat.
She will meet Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez in the semifinals tomorrow morning after the Cuban edged out Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) in their clash.
Meanwhile 2006 bronze medallist Shuang Guo (China) also kept her hopes of a rainbow jersey alive, progressing after she got the better of Christin Muche (Germany). The match between Anna Meares (Australia) and Clara Sanchez was the only one to go to a decider, but the Frenchwoman put herself out of the race when she crashed hard while forcing the 2004 silver medallist to ride on the blue band. She received a warning as a result, but missing out on the semifinal will hurt as much as the injuries she sustained while riding outside the rules.
Guo and Meares will therefore slug it out in the other semifinal. Former winner Pendleton will start tomorrow as the favourite, due to her pedigree at this level and also the fact that her second race against Tsylinskaya was the fastest of the evening, the women's team sprint gold medallist clocking 11.678. Next quickest was Guerra Rodriguez' first run of 11.707 seconds.
Semi-final: Pendleton and Guo advance to final
Great Britain rider Victoria Pendleton moved a step closer to reclaiming her 2005 sprint crown when she beat Cuban Guerra Rodriguez 2-0 in the semi finals.
The British rider raced to a comfortable win in both heats, while her rival for the final, Shuang Guo (China) had it a little more difficult, losing the first race to Anna Meares.
In the second match, the Australian led from the front and wound it up after the bell, but Guo passed her relatively easily. In the decider, Meares changed tactics and left the Chinese rider on front, with Guo holding a two length lead heading into the last lap. However it was the same result, the 2006 bronze medallist having too much power for her rival and holding off the challenge on the finishing straight.
Pendleton sounded determined afterwards. She finished second in 2006 and wants her crown back. "My legs feel good and I just really want to do it here," she said after her warm-down. "Last year I was disappointed with second, I won the Commonwealth title but I was quite disappointed that I couldn't follow through at the worlds. You could see it on my face on the podium, it was a case of forced smiles!"
Going through in two races is clearly a plus. "If you win the first you have the mental advantage. To get it over in two is much easier for me. Coming back after a mistake, you haven't got any chance other than to make amends.
"Some riders respond better to that situation than others. In the past, I always try to get everything out on the third ride but some riders lose their confidence a bit after two races [when it goes to a decider]."
At the time of talking, Guo and Meares still had to have their third race. Pendleton thought that the Australian was capable of coming back and winning, but this later proved not to be the case. She said that she had no preference as regards who she would meet in the final.
"I don't mind who I am up against, for me it is an equal situation. They are both good riders, I have seen them perform this year at a very high level, taking medals at World Cup standard. I think it is pretty even, but I hope it goes well for me against whoever goes through."
Finals; Victoria victorious again
Two years after she first won the world title in Los Angeles and one year after she had to settle for silver in Bordeaux, Victoria Pendleton is back in the rainbow jersey of world sprint champion, netting her second gold here in Palma.
Pendleton was up against Shuang Guo in the final and handled things confidently. In the first heat the Chinese rider jumped going onto the final lap but Pendleton passed her easily on the back straight, racing home well clear. She was more audacious in the second round, going from a lap and a half out and again putting a gap between herself and the 2006 bronze medallist.
I am really pleased about being back in the rainbow jersey again, she said after the podium presentation. I think losing last year and finishing in second place was quite tough. I didnt really go into the world championships feeling my strongest, so I am really glad with this. I wanted it back badly so I was determined to get it this time.
It is a different feeling [to 2005]. Once you have done it once, you know it is possible again. When you lose it you think I made a mistake there. It is nice to have it back.
In truth, Pendleton appeared well in control in the final. When asked if she found one of the earlier opponents especially difficult, she said that squaring up against three time sprint victor Natallia Tsylinskaya in the quarterfinal was a challenge. I think riding against Tsylinskaya was tough. Although I knew that from looking at her 200 metre time, she wasnt going as fast as usual, she is by far one of the strongest sprinters around for many years. A multiple world champion [eight across the disciplines ed.].
For me to come up against her in early rounds was quite tough, as it was a ride I imagined doing in a final, not in an early stage. So it was quite hard to do that.
She was diplomatic when asked if her final was straightforward. I guess so . You have demons with certain riders, I guess, certain people who have beaten you in the past, while there are others you have more confidence in beating. In Manchester I beat Shuang, so I went in to the race quite confident.
In the race for bronze, Anna Meares came out best against Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez (Cuba). She went from a long way out in the first heat and held off her Cuban rival, despite the fact that the ride came less than half an hour after the broke the world record in the 500 m TT.
She repeated the same tactic in the second heat, jumping before the bell and hitting the line well clear.
Qualifying 1 Shuang Guo (People's Republic of China) 11.149 (64.579 km/h) 2 Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) 11.191 3 Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) 11.194 4 Clara Sanchez (France) 11.270 5 Anna Meares (Australia) 11.278 6 Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus) 11.346 7 Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez (Cuba) 11.365 8 Willy Kanis (Netherlands) 11.408 9 Swetlana Grankowskaja (Russian Federation) 11.444 10 Anna Blyth (Great Britain) 11.497 11 Yvonne Hijgenaar (Netherlands) 11.503 12 Daniela Grelui Larreal (Venezuela) 11.541 13 Jinjie Gong (People's Republic of China) 11.563 14 Christin Muche (Germany) 11.610 15 Jennie Reed (United States Of America) 11.617 16 Lulu Zheng (People's Republic of China) 11.656 17 Dana Glöss (Germany) 11.667 18 Jane Gerisch (Germany) 11.679 19 Diana Maria Garcia Orrego (Colombia) 11.682 20 Miriam Welte (Germany) 11.743 21 Oksana Grishina (Russian Federation) 11.809 22 Kristine Bayley (Australia) 11.957 23 Renata Dabrowska (Poland) 11.972 24 Helena Casas Roige (Spain) 12.596 25 Tamilla Abassova (Russian Federation) 14.561 1/16 final