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Track World Cup 07-08 Round 4 - CDM
Copenhagen, Denmark, February 15-17, 2008
By Gerry McManus
The country steeped in the history of brave travelling warriors is now preparing for its own invasion with over 30 nations hoping to take home the gold medals in the final round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Denmark.
The three day event takes place in the town of Ballerup near Copenhagen with the Netherlands in pole position to take the top nations crown leading with 273 points with France in Second with 203 points. Many countries are expected to field strong teams in the final counting event to win the world cup medals and to qualify for the World Championships in Manchester in March.
Frenchman Mickael Bourgain (Cofidis) leads the men's sprint competition with 28 points but only has a one point advantage over team mate Kevin Sireau. The overall winner will now surely come from one of the leading duo as third placed Frenchman Gregory Bauge has only got 16 points and there is 12 for a win.
The Cofidis team also lead in the men's team sprint competition but are level on points with the Australia trade of Toshiba with the French national team in third and the Netherlands in fourth spot. Great Britain are expected to put out a strong combination this time as the world championships loom. GB decided not to field a team in Los Angeles and this weekend could be crucial to seven sprinters hoping for selection in the three man team at the Manchester World Championships next month. The Dutch team have surprised many this year after they beat the French team into second spot in Beijing in December.
It is 2-1 to France in the Kilometre time trial after Michael D'Almeidia won round one in Sydney and Francois Pervis won in Beijing. Aussie Scott Sunderland took victory in Los Angeles and the 19-year-old's time of 1.02.7 was nearly half a second faster than Yevgen Boubrukh but the Ukrainian now leads the overall series with only Hao Li Wen from China still able to take the overall honours.
Chris Hoy (Great Britain) is likely to ride the Keirin event having been unbeaten in the discipline in international events on the last 19 consecutive rides. He leads the series from arch rival Arnaud Tournant (France) and both will surely be in the running for the special Japanese Keirin Association race with a massive 15,000 euro on offer to the winner.
Roger Kluge (Germany) leads the scratch race series after winning in Sydney and placing well in the other two events.
It looks like a three way race in the points series with Commonwealth riders Cameron Meyer (Toshiba/Australia), Chris Newton (GBr) and Greg Henderson (NZl) in the top three respectively.
Denmark is not without its great track riders this year and you can expect the home crowd to bring the house down when Madison pairing Alex Rasmussen and Michael Mørkøv take to the boards on the final night. The Danish duo finished second in Los Angeles to tie up with Belgium in the overall series on 21 points with the Netherlands in third with 19 points and Spain fourth with 17 points leaving the race for the world cup series wide open.
Rasmussen and Mørkøv teamed up with Casper Jørgensen and Jens-Erik Madsen to finish second in the team pursuit behind a strong Australia team. Great Britain still leads the series overall having won in Sydney and Beijing but not competed in Los Angeles. World and Olympic individual pursuit champion Bradley Wiggins in not in the team travelling to Denmark this weekend. The GB team could just be experimental with qualification for the world's already taken care of but any combination could result in a time close to four minutes for 4,000m. The early rider list sees Australia opting out in the team event.
The women's racing is going to hotly contested. Great Britain is sending a small team of six riders but that includes triple world champion Victoria Pendleton who is expected to ride three out of the four sprinters events. BMX and team sprint world champion Shanaze Reade is also on the entry list. Australia are taking a back seat at this event with their qualifications already assured. Belarusian Natalia Tsylinskaya dominates the World Cup sprint series taking two victories in the last two events with Dutch girl Wily Kanis keeping in touch with the lead after her early victory in Sydney. Tsylinskaya is not on the team list for Copenhagen leaving Kanis the opportunity to win the event but she will need to come second or better to achieve that.
Cuba have dominated the women's 500m time trial with Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez amassing 34 points out of a possible 36 but will face fierce competition from Britain's Shanaze Reade who has targeted a good ride aiming for team selection for the Worlds in Manchester.
The anticipated debut of the British women's pursuit team will not go ahead in Copenhagen. The team has been dogged with illness and injury and GB have already qualified for the World Championships as host nation and they will ride their first competitive event in Manchester. Brits Rebecca Romero and Wendy Houvenaghel will battle it out against each other in the 3,000m individual pursuit. USA's Sarah Hammer will be favourite for the overall lying in second spot behind Aussie Katie Mactier who is not on the entry list at the time of writing.
Double road and cyclo-cross world champion Marianne Vos heads the shortish distance from Holland and will be one of the favourites for the scratch event where Cuban Yumar Gonzalez Valdivieso leads the series and in need of only one point to secure the world cup winner title.