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Track World Cup 07-08 Round 1 - CDM

Sydney, Australia, November 30-December 2, 2007

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Session 2 - November 30: Men: Individual pursuit, Team sprint, Points race, Kilometre TT; Women: Individual pursuit, Sprint, Scratch race

Women's individual pursuit: Mactier gets the party started

By Paul Verkuylen

Katie Mactier (Australia)
Photo ©: John Veage
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Australia's favourite for the women's 3000m individual pursuit, Katie Mactier, did not disappoint in tonight's first final, winning her match-up against Lithuanian Vilija Sereikaite to take the first gold medal of this World Cup. The home crowd went wild as Mactier crossed the line, and shortly afterwards she was congratulated by new fiancee Greg Henderson. The kiwi rider had just finished his warm-up and was heading out to compete in the points race.

"I'm delighted," said Mactier of her performance. "Our split times in qualifying were so close and I have never come up against her before, so it was always going to be an interesting final. We had a game plan going in and I followed it to a T."

Mactier may have known very little about Sereikaite, but didn't let that get the better of her. "I know nothing about her. That's not uncommon for me, I don't pay much attention to who I'm up against. What can I do?

"It's the thing I like best about this race; no-one is going to affect my outcome."

An arm injury slowed the Australian down at the start, but once she was on top of her gear, Mactier continued to gain time over Sereikaite. "I am notorious for going out quickly," she explained, "but with my injury, it has put a dampener on my start. I don't have the ability to get on top of the gear as quickly as I usually do."

By the time they had reached the half-way point, Mactier was already more than 1.5 seconds ahead. Looking strong and smooth on the track, she continued to increase the gap, winning by over two seconds at the finish.

"It's always important to win," she said, and with Olympic selection up for grabs the points that come with winning are all important.

In the bronze medal ride-off, former world time trial champion Karin Thürig faced off against Wendy Houvenaghel of Great Britain. After starting slowly the Swiss time trial specialist slowly picked up time on Houvenaghel to win by .454 of a second.

"I knew I was down on her, but after 1500m I saw that I was up on her. I tried to keep that gap, but I really died on the last lap," Thürig told Cyclingnews while warming down on the rollers. "I am very happy. I was in New Zealand for two weeks training. So I am looking forward to Beijing now."

The Swiss powerhouse also has ulterior motives for her trip to Beijing. "I want to take a look at the road time trial course as well," she said.

Men's points race: Experience and patience nets Henderson points gold

By Karen Forman

Kiwi Greg Henderson
Photo ©: John Veage
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Thirty year-old New Zealander Greg Henderson used a combination of experience, wisdom and patience to fend off former professional roadie, Spaniard Toni Tauler and youthful Australian Cameron Meyer, to glide to a well deserved victory in the men's 30km points race at Sydney's opening round of the 2007 Track World Cup tonight.

In a fast-paced event that delighted the opening night crowd, Henderson consistently added to the 25 points he was awarded after taking a lap early with Tauler and Meyer to finish the event with a grand total of 31 points.

The 2004 world champion was a gracious winner, saying that although a rider could never expect to win the gold going into a World Cup event, he had hoped to be on the podium and was delighted he had made it. "My training has been coming up and up for the past few weeks but I didn't really know where I would be until I raced," he said. "This showed me. I am absolutely pleased."

Silver medalist Tauler, 33, who finished with 27 points, was also a happy bike rider, saying he had just started on the track after retiring from road racing after winning the Spanish time trial championship in 2006. "I was not expecting to do so well," he said. "I just started and attacked the first time, then I found I had one lap more and one lap more . . . I think it's crazy! I am retired!"

Bronze medalist Meyer (24 points), of Australia's new Team Toshiba, also wasn't expecting a win. At 19 and with more than 10 years of youth on Henderson, he hoped to do well but went into the race considering it a good learning experience. "I never expected to be on the podium but I am really happy to be there," he said. "I think from Greg tonight I learned how to better position myself for the sprints. I wasn't feeling all that good while out there, but it came together."

Meyer is off to the Belgian World Cup round next week and is focused on gaining a spot at the Olympics. "I won the Oceania two weeks ago and now I've had a third place in the World Cup, so I would say things are going pretty well," he said.

How it unfolded

Cameron Meyer (Toshiba)
Photo ©: John Veage
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Twenty four riders lined up for the start, with Great Britain rider Chris Newton leading the field out and setting a snappy pace. Sergiy Lagkuti (Arda Natura Pinarello Ukraina), Dane Daniel Kreutzfeldt and Dutch rider Peter Schep made a break with 114 laps to go and started frantically swamping turns, but nobody was planning on letting anyone go this early in the peace and the gap was closed quickly.

It was while the field was still considering its options after the early attack that Meyer had the foresight to make his move, tailed by Henderson and Tauler. At the bell for the first sprint Tauler and Meyer were off the front with Henderson, already showing the wisdom of conserving his energy for the long journey ahead, following. The trio managed to steal a lap right away and in the first sprint, picked up 25 points for their trouble.

Understandably, the pace was then on in the main field. Three riders had just lapped the field with 107 to go. The second of 12 sprints gave points to Kiryienka, Canadian Zachary Bell, Russian Mikhail Ignatiev and Ivan Kovalev (Moscow). At this point Tauler led the race on 25, Meyer was second with 23 and Henderson third on 22.

A group of five then attacked, with Henderson choosing to remain in the main field, helping to reel the breakaway in. The third sprint went to Ignatiev, Kovalev, Kiryienka and Lagkuti, with the three race leaders untouched. It was the same after Newton, Schep and Kiryienka took the fourth sprint points, with Kiryienka trailing in fourth with nine points.

With 77 laps to go the field was obviously tiring, strung out in single file and Meyer was at the back, obviously feeling the effects of the pace

A new player, Makoto Iijima of Japan, staged an attack with 73 to go and was joined swiftly by Martin Blaha (ASC Dukla Praha) and Ukrainian Rybin Volodymyry, but it was a short lived effort. Australian Mark Renshaw led out the fifth sprint and picked up points for second when Pole Rafal Ratajczyk breezed around him to win that effort.

Henderson leads the field
Photo ©: John Veage
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With the leaders pacing themselves (Henderson at the back of the field and Meyer in second wheel of the main field), the sixth sprint was contested by Kovalev, Kam-Po Wong (Hong Kong), Nicolas Rousseau (France) and Schep.

Sprint seven saw the group together but in single file with Henderson taking first place to narrow the gap in the total pointscore; Newton sprinting through for second and Meyer for third. Competition hotted up at this point, with only one point separating the three leaders.

Henderson decided it was time to add more points to his tally at the eighth sprint with third place behind Kovalev and Bell. Meyer missed out. With 37 to go Henderson was race leader with 27 and Meyer two points behind and determined to hang in there.

The ninth sprint went down to Ratajczyk, Iijima and Henderson, who elevated his total to 29. Tauler was on 25 and Meyer 24 with three sprints - and a maximum 15 points - to go. None of the main players contested the tenth sprint 10 and it was won by Schep ahead of Kluge and Newton. Having initiated the first attack of the race, Bell decided to have another go with 12 to go. He won the 11th sprint and Martin Blaha and Tauler picked up the extra points.

With four to go Henderson was once again to be found on the front of the chasing bunch and had the break reeled in within half a lap. Lucky he had the energy after being careful with it earlier in the race.

The bunch all together in the bell lap for the final sprint. Bell, Newton and Kluge made a last ditch attack off the front, but it was Henderson who was the hero of the event, gliding around the leaders to hit the finish line in third position behind Newton and Kluge and win the event.

Men's team sprint: Down to the wire

By Paul Verkuylen

Team Toshiba
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

Australia won its second gold medal of the opening night when the Toshiba men's team sprint trio put on an awesome display of power to annihilate the German squad in a thrilling final that had the crowd on its feet. After one false start by the German squad that did little to disturb either team, Daniel Ellis burst out of the blocks to once again set a personal best on the opening lap. Ryan Bayley then put in a superb lap to set up Shane Kelly, who finished off with one of the fastest last laps seen in the men's team sprint.

"We got a good start and we came away with the win. Not quite as good as the qualifying but a still a win's a win so we are happy with that," Kelly said after the event.

Kelly was quick to pour praise on his young team-mates for their amazing work before his last lap effort. "Young Dan is great," he said. "Week after week he is just backing up and doing quick times. Ryan Bayley in front of me, he's always on and you know you are going quick with him in front of you.

"We didn't really expect it, we had good form from winning the Oceanias," Kelly said.

Bayley also echoed his team-mate's comments, saying, "We were expecting to run top five, we were being a bit realistic and we were trying a few things with the team. We did really well and it has given us a lot of confidence in this team. We are proving that we are back up there."

The Australian Team Toshiba
Photo ©: John Veage
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Reflecting on the past few years that has seen the team further down the results sheet, Bayley explained some of the factors that have made the entire squad lift its game in the lead-up to the Olympics. "Anna Meares has stepped up, which has made us boys look a bit stupid," he said, just as Meares flew past on her way to winning a round of the women's sprint.

And showing just how well respected 35 year-old Shane Kelly is within the national squad, Bayley said, "If someone on this team doesn't look up to him then they are sick and they probably shouldn't be riding a bike."

Daniel Ellis' first lap charge set the Aussies up for the win in an event often decided by fractions of a second and he was happy to have contributed so well to the success. "I set a couple of PBs out there today, so I am real happy with that and it has put me a step closer to the Olympic team," said Ellis.

The bronze medal ride-off was a repeat of the world championship final from 2006, as Great Britain took on France. Only two riders from the original teams were riding, Arnaud Tournant for France and Chris Hoy for Great Britain, but the result was still the same with the French squad beating the Brits by the smallest of margins.

Men's individual pursuit: Dyudya confirms

By Paul Verkuylen

Volodymyr Dyudya (Ukraine)
Photo ©: John Veage
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Ukrainian Volodymyr Dyudya, who qualified fastest earlier in the day, dominated his pursuit match against Phil Thuaux, finishing in the same straight as the recently married Australian.

Dyudya started out strongly and gradually built up time on Thuaux, who explained afterwards that he and coach Gary Sutton had tried something different for the final after he set a personal best time in qualifying. "Yeah what can I say? I never really got on top of the gear. We tried something different tonight than in qualifying, but it didn't work. I think we went in the right direction but maybe need to take it a little further," Thuaux explained.

By the time the two had completed the 4000 metres, Dyudya had built up a five-second lead, having enough time to salute the crowd as he crossed the line. Thuaux was philosophical in defeat, and hopes to put the experience gained to good use. "We got some positive things out of the race. Next week I will go to Beijing with the Australian squad so that will be good," he said.

Thuaux, much like compatriot Katie Mactier, didn't know much about his opponent, explaining that it would not affect the final outcome. "Someone offered to show me his splits, but I said sure, after the race. Knowing what his times are is not going to help me when I am out there."

After qualifying fourth fastest, Alexander Serov of Russia, went one better in his final ride, beating New Zealand's Marc Ryan to take out the bronze medal.

Women's scratch race: World champion wins bunch sprint for scratch gold

By Karen Forman

Out of the last turn
Photo ©: John Veage
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World champion Yumari Gonzalez Valdivieso rode a strong race and followed up with victory in a fast bunch sprint after attacking with 25 metres to go to take gold in the women's scratch race at Sydney's Dunc Gray velodrome tonight.

Cheered on by the crowd which turned out to watch the opening rounds of the first Track World Cup fixture of the season, the Cuban beat Italian Annalisa Cucinotta and Russian Anastasia Chulkova in an exciting finish. The 30 year-old, who lives in South Espadrille, appeared untouched by the event afterwards, saying she had felt very strong and was very happy with her result. She gave credit to her team mate for helping her and said she looked forward to the points race on Saturday.

Cucinotta, who has been riding for 14 of her seven years, having followed her older brother into the sport, said she had hoped to do better. "I prepared hard for this event," she said. It was her fourth visit to Sydney. She won the event in 2005, but didn't have the results she sought in 2000 and 2006. The scratch race, she said, was her favourite event "because there is only one sprint".

Cucinotta, who now lives near Venice, has a special tie to Australia. Her mother lived Down Under before Cucinotta was born and her daughter says she has always loved it. "I will be doing all the World Cups now," she said, when asked what's up next for her. "I dream of winning a medal at the Olympics."

The 22 year-old said she had felt good before the race but her position was not so good. "I think it was a very fast race, with a lot of attacks," she said. "I was attacking as well. I like attacking."

Chulkova started riding aged 12 on both road and track but has now chosen to specialize in track. She said she particularly likes the scratch race as "there is only one finish". With her Olympic dream burning, she next moves on to Beijing World Cup.

How it unfolded

World Champion Yumari Gonzalez Valdivieso
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

Although it didn't quite match the pace of the men's points event, the pace of the women's scratch race was solid throughout with a generous sharing of turns by the competitors.

The main field didn't appear too concerned as Louise Moriarty (Ireland) attacked off the front early in the race and managed to get a third of a lap ahead with 34 to go, choosing instead to maintain a steady pace and keep an eye on her. It wasn't too long before she was joined by Tess Downing (Drapac Porsche) and quickly tucked back in behind .

Dutch rider Adrie Visser forged a break with two others but the group chased hard to latch on and the pace slowed. Everyone was protecting themselves at this point of the race, preserving energy for the final sprint to come.

With 23 to go Dutch rider Marlijn Binnendijk attacked with Jong Kong rider Yiu Wan Wong and Canadian Gina Grain hot on her heels. Giorgia Bronzini (Safi Pasta Zara Manhattan) worked hard at the front of the main bunch and seemed to have plenty to spare.

With 17 to go the paced slowed considerably... the cat was getting ready to pounce. At this point the world champion was sitting in second wheel and biding her time. The expected increase in pace came with 14 to go and the USA took the lead. Bronzini went on the attack, but was quickly controlled.

With seven to go there were six riders out the front and Australian Belinda Goss was working very hard on the front of the chasing bunch. Her work paid off as the break was reeled in with five to go.

Three more attacks were launched before the bell signaled the final lap. Goss led out a huge bunch sprint and the well placed Gonzalez raced from third or fourth wheel, around the group down the straight, to take the gold medal.

Women's sprint: Firing Willy beats tired Meares for sprint gold

By Karen Forman

The women's sprint podium:
Photo ©: John Veage
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An in-form Kanis Willy form the Netherlands beat out Australia's golden girl Anna Meares 2-1 to take the gold medal in the women's sprint final. The 23 year-old won a hard-fought final which Meares later conceded was the right result on the night.

Meares led out both times; a small mistake in the first race leaving her caught napping when Kanis made her move. Meares was out of the saddle in the straight, but Kanis was quicker, taking the race in 11.949 seconds, with an average speed of 60.256 km/h.

Meares was obviously feeling the effects of a long day on the track in the second race. Kanis, in second wheel again, attacked at the bell and managed to get three bike lengths ahead of her opponent. Meares tried hard and managed to get level with Kanis momentarily, only to be pipped at the post.

"It was hard," Kanis said. "Sprinting is not my best. But I have to do it because it is important. I was surprised to beat Anna. She is very respected."

Kanis said she didn't know what had let Meares down tonight, but said she had thought, when Meares drew near, that it was over. "I thought, forget it. I will have her in the third race, but I won it."

Anna Meares (Team Toshiba)
Photo ©: John Veage
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Meares conceded she had come to Sydney to win the sprint and earn as many points as possible towards Olympic selection, but was accepting of her silver medal. "I felt very strong and relaxed out there but was a little bit bummed out that I stuffed up in the final," she said. "But really, I am really happy with where I am at, although probably I am not at the top level. The home crowd advantage definitely spurred me on when I was down."

Meares said she was feeling tired after riding early to be racing at 9am - to finish at 10.30pm - and was looking forward to going to bed. "I'm going to sleep like a log tonight and nobody better come knocking at my door," she said.

Bronze medalist Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus) said she had done about as well as she had expected. "I am training for the Olympics. These competitions - not this time," she said. "I am focused on the sprint because it is an Olympic event. Also, the keirin."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by John Veage

Images by Stoyan Vassev


Evening session

Women's 3000m individual pursuit - final

For gold and silver

1 Katie Mactier (Australia)                               3.38.379 (49.455 km/h)
2 Vilija Sereikaite (Ltu) Safi - Pasta Zara Manhattan     3.40.393 (49.003 km/h)

For bronze

3 Karin Thürig (Switzerland)                              3.40.300 (49.024 km/h)
4 Wendy Houvenaghel (GBr) scienceinsport.com              3.40.754 (48.923 km/h)

Men's points race - final

1 Greg Henderson (New Zealand)                           31 pts
2 Toni Tauler Llull (Spa) Iles Balears                   27
3 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Toshiba                       24
4 Rafal Ratajczyk (Poland)                               15
5 Ivan Kovalev (Rus) Moscow                              14
6 Chris Newton (Great Britain)                           11
7 Zachary Bell (Canada)                                  11
8 Peter Schep (Netherlands)                              11
9 Vasili Kiryienka (Belarus)                             11
10 Mikhail Ignatiev (Russian Federation)                  9
11 Roger Kluge (Ger) Team Focus                           6
12 Kampo Wong (Hong Kong, China)                          4
13 Makoto Iijima (Japan)                                  3
14 Mark Renshaw (Australia)                               3
15 Martin Blaha (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha                     3
16 Nicolas Rousseau (France)                              2
17 Joan Llaneras Rossello (Spain)                         2
18 Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Denmark)                           1
19 Milton Wynants Vazquez (Uruguay)                       1
20 Unai Elorriaga Zubiaur (Spa) Cespa Euskadi             1
21 Ioannis Tamouridis (Greece)                             
22 Volodymyry Rybin (Ukraine)                              
23 Maxime Bally (Switzerland)                              
24 Sergiy Lagkuti (Ukr) Arda Natura Pinarello Ukraina

Women's scratch race - final

1 Yumari Gonzalez Valdivieso (Cuba)
2 Annalisa Cucinotta (Italy)
3 Anastasiay Chulkova (Russian Federation)
4 Eugeniya Romanyuta (Russian Federation)
5 Belinda Goss (Australia)
6 Rebecca Quinn (United States Of America)
7 Pascale Jeuland (France)
8 Joanne Kiesanowski (New Zealand)
9 Gina Grain (Canada)
10 Adrie Visser (Netherlands)
11 Kate Cullen (GBr) braveheartcyclingfund.com
12 Tess Downing (Aus) Drapac Porsche
13 Leire Olaberria Dorronsoro (Spa) Cespa Euskadi
14 Satomi Wadami (Japan)
15 Christy King (USA) South Bay Wheelmen
16 Karelia Judith Machado Jaimes (Venezuela)
17 Mei Wu Yun (Chn) Giant Pro Cycling
18 Catherine Cheatley (New Zealand)
19 Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Safi - Pasta Zara Manhattan
20 Yoanka Gonzalez Perez (Cuba)
21 Belem Guerrero Mendez (Mexico)
22 Louise Moriarty (Ireland)
23 Marlijn Binnendijk (Netherlands)
24 Wan Yiu Wong (Hong Kong, China)

Men's team sprint - final

For gold and silver

1 Team Toshiba                                            44.639 (60.485 km/h)
   Ryan Bayley (Aus)          
   Daniel Ellis (Aus)          
   Shane John Kelly (Aus)          

2 www.radnet.de                                           44.813 (60.250 km/h)
   Robert Forstemann (Ger)          
   Matthias John (Ger)        
   Stefan Nimke (Ger)        

For bronze

3 Cofidis                                                 44.746 (60.340 km/h)
   Didier Henriette (Fra)          
   Kévin Sireau (Fra)              
   Arnaud Tournant (Fra)          

4 Great Britain                                           45.050 (59.933 km/h)
   Matthew Crampton	          
   Chris Hoy		          
   Jason Kenny	

Men's 4000m individual pursuit - final

For gold and silver

1 Volodymyr Dyudya (Ukraine)                              4.25.485 (54.240 km/h)
2 Phillip Thuaux (Australia)                              4.30.279 (53.278 km/h)

For bronze

3 Alexander Serov (Russian Federation)                    4.29.327 (53.466 km/h)
4 Marc Ryan (New Zealand)                                 4.31.522 (53.034 km/h)
Women's sprint - final

For gold and silver

1 Willy Kanis (Netherlands)                              11.949          11.983
2 Anna Meares (Aus) Team Toshiba                                 11.614

For bronze

3 Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus)                         11.503  12.425
4 Shuang Guo (People's Republic of China)      

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