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Track World Cup 07-08 Round 3 - CDM
Los Angeles, California, January 18-20, 2008
Session 6 - January 20: Men: Madison, Sprint; Women: Team pursuit, Keirin
Ukraine tops the medal count with women's team pursuit gold
By Laura Weislo in Los Angeles
The Ukrainian pursuiters continued to make history on Sunday in Los Angeles with a new best time in the women's team pursuit final. The trio pulled the World Cup leader's jersey from the Russian team with a superb 3.27.44 finish, averaging 52 kph for the three kilometre distance.
Yelizaveta Bochkarova, Svitlana Galyuk and individual pursuit winner Lesya Kalitovska gave their country its second gold medal of the meet, and its fourth overall after the bronze medal won by the men's pursuit team and the silver taken by Yevgen Bolibrukh in the kilometre.
The Ukrainian women were clearly proud to have stepped up their game and taken over the World Cup lead, and to put their country on top of the medal count for the meet. Kalitovska said, "Our strength is the cohesiveness of our team, the focus, the friendship and the good atmosphere on the team. We're very happy."
The Russians lagged behind for the entire final, slightly weakened by the absence of Evgeniya Romanyuta, the silver medalist in the scratch race, who was fighting a fever during the qualifier and was forced to withdraw from the final. The Russians could only substitute with Anastasiya Chulkova, a sprinter who had raced the team sprint, match sprint and keirin.
Elena Tchalykh, the bronze medalist from the scratch race, was initally brought in to replace Chulkova who completed the pursuit team with Romanyuta and Olga Slysureva in the previous World Cup rounds. Tchalykh admitted that she hadn't done a pursuit for years, and was a bit rusty, but still helped the team to a 3.30.02, the second fastest ride of the meet.
The American squad gave the crowd a scintillating bronze medal round, where they were in a near dead heat against the German squad throughout the race.
"We had no clue where they were on the track compared to us," explained Lauren Franges. "Every time we'd come out of turn two we could see them coming out of turn four, and we couldn't tell." Franges, Christy King, and former world time trial champion Kristin Armstrong buried themselves in the final kilometre to slowly inch away, ending the race just four tenths ahead for bronze.
"We knew going into it we were 9/10ths slower than the Germans," explained Franges, "and we knew we had to step up our game." The effort was so extreme that Armstrong could not attend the podium ceremony as she still had not recovered enough to get on her feet.
Reed delivers another gold to the home town crowd
American Jennie Reed went undefeated in the women's keirin, taking both the semifinal and the final with a long turn of speed on the front of the group which no rider could match. Reed's victory in the final over Dutch sensation Willy Kanis and Jinjie Gong (Giant) sent up a huge cheer from her home town fans. The win was the second for the USA after Taylor Phinney's winning individual pursuit.
"I've always wanted to have a good home town performance and I finally did, so I'm really happy with it," Reed beamed after accepting the gold medal. She explained that her style of leading from the front may look formulaic, but is actually quite nuanced. "In the first round I definitely went to the front early - I didn't want to take a risk of not to make it in because the first round is always the hardest. In the semi and the final, I was actually quite patient, and when I made my move it was quite sharp. I feel good from the front always."
"I think with every race I read the race, and it may look like I'm using the same tactic, but when I decide to go it's always at a different point in the race, it's always on feeling." Her style suited the Los Angeles velodrome, which is the track she uses for training on a regular basis. "On this track it's really hard to pass if you're too far back," she explained."I train on this track, so I know it quite well and it's a good tactic for this track.
Reed, who took the silver in Sydney behind Victoria Pendleton, was sick and could not compete in Beijing, and will now head to Copenhagen to try for more UCI points. But the Momentum Cycling rider knows exactly where her sights are set: "What I really want is the keirin title in Manchester."
Chiappa stuns the French, takes his first World Cup sprint
Italian Roberto Chiappa stunned the crowd, the other riders, himself - just about everyone - by powering to his first World Cup victory in the face of strong competition from the French team. His path to the gold medal began in the quarterfinal round when he defeated Mickaël Bourgain, the winner from the Sydney World Cup round. He then went on to defeat Dutch rider Teun Mulder in the semifinals with a razor thin margin in race one, but a comfortable lead in race two.
The two Frenchman, Kevin Sireau and Gregory Bauge faced off against each other in the semi's, with Sireau easily defeating a clearly fading Bauge in the last two of three races, setting up a nail-biting final between the Italian sprint champion and the 20-year-old member of the gold medal winning Cofidis team sprint squad.
Chiappa got the jump on Sireau in race one, hitting out from the back stretch to open up a gap on the Frenchman. The second race saw both riders put in a strong acceleration early into the final lap, fighting neck and neck into each turn until the arrived in the finishing straight to a deafening roar of the crowd. Chiappa, on the inside, lunged for the line as Sireau made a powerful final surge, but the Italian was able to hold a few inches advantage at the line to take his first World Cup win and the first medal for Italy.
"I'm very happy because now my condition is very good for the next World Cup and for the world championships," the 34-year-old Bergamo resident explained. "It was a surprise, but my legs are very good, and my head is also good."
Dutch rider Teun Mulder handed the French team another defeat in the bronze medal round, taking two for two against Bauge. "I was happy about the final round," Mulder said. "The final against Roberto was the difficult one for me - I felt a little tired after that. Sireau and Bauge had a three race round, and I could see they were a little bit tired."
The 26-year-old described the final round. "The first race I made a big jump, and I won not easily but good. In the second round I wanted to go full gas with two and a half laps to go because I thought [Bauge] was a little tired. I gave it everything I had but he was still pretty close, so I had to push it to the line."
Mulder was taking on his second World Cup of the season after being defeated in the 1/8 final in Sydney by Bauge. In between, he tuned up his form by racing the sprint competition at the six day in Rotterdam. "That was a good race to show ourselves to the Dutch crowd, and it was also good preparation for the World Cup," Mulder explained. "The World Cups are the most important races for me because I want to qualify for the Olympic games. Especially in the keirin." After placing third in the keirin in Sydney and fourth here in Los Angeles, Mulder is now focusing on Copenhagen to gain a chance to race the Olympic Games in Beijing.
"There are only three spots in the Olympic games - obviously Theo Bos is the number one, and I need to qualify through the World Cups. With the team sprint we have a very good team, and I think we have enough points for the Games, but I will race in Copenhagen one more time so I can make sure we have enough points."
Belgium sneaks away to claim Madison gold
The Belgian team scored its first and only medal of the Los Angeles World Cup - indeed, its first medal of the 2007-2008 World Cup series - with a well-timed move early in the men's Madison. The pair of Kenny De Ketele and Tim Mertens attacked before the first points sprint of the race, and succeeded in stealing a lap quite quickly. The duo then kept the race in check, being sure to up the pace or mark moves to prevent any other teams from gaining a lap, thereby ensuring victory.
"We went into the race knowing we wanted to try to take a lap, because I'm not so strong in the sprints," explained De Ketele. "Tim is the fastest guy of our pair, but there are some guys like the Danish pair who are a lot faster." To attack so early in the race usually allows other teams ample opportunity to escape and join up in stealing a lap, but the attentive duo took the opportunity and made it work. "We didn't plan to go in the beginning - more like in the last quarter of the race - but you can never predict how the race is going to develop," he continued. "For us, it developed perfectly."
What ensued after the Belgians took their lap was quite unusual for a Madison of this importance, according to Team Slipstream's Colby Pearce. "Our tactic was to play a waiting game - to key off some of the bigger teams. Spain, the Dutch, and I thought maybe Denmark was going to try to take a lap, but it never really played out that way. The Belgians lapped, and then it was a little bit negative racing, which is really opposite what it was at the first two World Cups."
The Danish team was quite aggressive in the sprints, and gained a commanding lead with 18 points to secure silver, but despite their best efforts, Alex Rasmussen and Michael Morkov could not escape the field. The duo followed the Australian pair of Cameron Meyer and Glen O'Shea in an attack with 30 laps to go, and managed to get half way across to the rear of the field before the chase ensued, and pressure from the Spanish, German and British teams closed the gap down with ten to go.
The penultimate points sprint went to the Germans, pushing the Slipstream team of Pearce and Mike Friedman into fourth place, four points in arrears and with little chance of gaining the bronze. "At the end I was thinking this is a good opportunity to go," Pearce described the point where the Danish and Australian teams were being brought back. "I was thinking as soon as they catch we can launch, and with seven to go, I tried, but I just didn't go anywhere. The speed was too high going into it, and that was my last bullet."
Coming into the final lap, the Dutch team attacked, drawing away the British, Italian and German teams to take the final points. The finish secured Germany's second medal of the LA World Cup after Charlotte Becker's win in the women's scratch race.
"It was a difficult race because the Belgian guys took a lap, and then everyone had to watch the Belgians," explained Olaf Pollack. "We wanted to take a lap, but everyone was looking at us. The Slipstream and the Danish wanted to go only for the points, but we had better luck than Slipstream today."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mitch Clinton/www.clintonphoto.com
Images by Mitch Friedman/www.mitchophoto.com
Women's team pursuit final 1 Ukraine 3.27.44 Yelizaveta Bochkarova (Ukraine) Svitlana Galyuk (Ukraine) Lesya Kalitovska (Ukraine) 2 Russian Federation 3.30.02 Anastasiya Chulkova (Russian Federation) Olga Slyusareva (Russian Federation) Elena Tchalykh (Russian Federation) 3 United States Of America 3.31.45 Kristin Armstrong (United States Of America) Lauren Franges (United States Of America) Christen King (United States Of America) 4 Germany 3.31.86 Charlotte Becker (Germany) Christina Becker (Germany) Verena Joos (Germany) Men's sprint Semifinal Heat 1 1 Kévin Sireau (Fra) Cofidis 10.652 10.591 2 Gregory Bauge (France) 0.10.74 Heat 2 1 Roberto Chiappa (Italy) 0.10.90 11.07 2 Teun Mulder (Netherlands) Gold medal final 1 Roberto Chiappa (Italy) 0.11.67 11.57 2 Kévin Sireau (Fra) Cofidis Bronze medal final 1 Teun Mulder (Netherlands) 2 Gregory Bauge (France) Women's keirin Round 2 Heat 1 1 Anna Meares (Aus) Team Toshiba 2 Swetlana Grankowskaja (Russian Federation) 3 Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez (Cuba) 4 Jane Gerisch (Germany) 5 Diana Maria Garcia Orrego (Colombia) 6 Olga Panarina (Ukraine) Heat 2 1 Jennie Reed (USA) Momentum Cycling 2 Jinjie Gong (Chn) Giant Pro Cycling 3 Willy Kanis (Netherlands) 4 Valentina Alessio (Italy) 5 Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) 6 Dana Glöss (Germany) Final 1-6 1 Jennie Reed (USA) Momentum Cycling 2 Willy Kanis (Netherlands) 3 Jinjie Gong (Chn) Giant Pro Cycling 4 Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez (Cuba) 5 Swetlana Grankowskaja (Russian Federation) DNF Anna Meares (Aus) Team Toshiba Final 7-12 7 Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) 8 Jane Gerisch (Germany) 9 Dana Glöss (Germany) 10 Valentina Alessio (Italy) 11 Olga Panarina (Ukraine) 12 Diana Maria Garcia Orrego (Colombia) Men's madison 1 Belgium 8 pts Kenny De Ketele Tim Mertens One lap behind 2 Denmark 18 pts Michael Morkov Alex Rasmussen 3 Germany 12 pts Roger Kluge Olaf Pollack 4 Netherlands 8 pts Pim Ligthart Wim Stroetinga 5 Team Slipstream 7 pts Michael Friedman Colby Pearce 6 Italy 6 pts Angelo Ciccone Fabio Masotti 7 Great Britain 4 pts Robert Hayles Peter Kennaugh 8 Colombia 3 pts Carlos Alzate Escobar Juan Pablo Forero Carreno 9 Australia 3 pts Cameron Meyer Glenn O'shea 10 Spain Joan Llaneras Rossello Asier Maeztu Billelabeitia Two laps behind 11 New Zealand 5 pts Hayden Godfrey Hayden Roulston 12 Arda Natura Pinarello 2 pts Sergiy Lagkuti Vasyl Yakovlev 13 Argentina Jose Fernando Antogna Angel Dario Colla DNF United States Charles Bradley Huff Bobby Lea DNF Canada Zachary Bell Ryan Mckenzie DNF Poland Rafal Ratajczyk Mariusz Wiesiak