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2008 UCI Track Cycling World Championships - CM
Great Britain, March 26-30, 2008
Day 1 - March 26: Men's individual pursuit
Men's Individual Pursuit Finals
Wiggins shows his class
By Ben Atkins and Shane Stokes in Manchester
Order was restored in the gold medal final as Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins class came through in victory over surprise fastest qualifier Jenning Huizenga of the Netherlands, giving the host nation their first gold medal of the championships in only the second event. The reigning World and Olympic champion has laid down the challenge to his rivals for this year's main target in Beijing in just over three month's time.
Huizenga started the fastest - taking over three-quarters of a second lead over the Briton in the first lap, but Wiggins was soon up to speed and was up by a tenth by the end of the first kilometre. He was over a second up by kilometre two, and over three by number three. Almost having his opponent in his sights in the final kilometre Wiggins seemed to ease up slightly as he sat up and punched the air as he crossed the line almost five seconds faster than the Dutchman.
"I am really satisfied, it is a great relief." Wiggins told Cyclingnews after his triumphant ride. "To win in Manchester is fantastic, a great feeling. I am just pleased I got the job done. I said before I wasn't too bothered about my time... I knew what time I was capable of riding."
The newly re-crowned champion confirmed the impression that he had eased up towards the end of qualification, which allowed the Dutch rider to get the fastest time. "I was a bit excited earlier in the day in the qualifying during the first couple of kilometres; I had to throttle back in the last kilometre so as not to do too much damage for the final."
Wiggins' split times were consistently slower than his qualifying time; Huizenga's even slower as it began to appear that his surprise performance this afternoon had taken more out of him than the defending champion. A massive roar went up on either side of the track as the partisan crowd willed the local hero around each lap. He will now join the Great Britain pursuit team - now short of the withdrawn Hayles - and hope to retain that title too.
"I think the final was just a case of going on a schedule that I knew the Dutch guy wouldn't be able to do. This is about the three events I have got here....I am back up tomorrow [in the Team Pursuit] so I had to throttle back a bit and just do enough to win it."
In the ride off for bronze, Russian Alexei Markov took an early one second lead over New Zealander Hayden Roulston, and never looked in trouble as the Kiwi could make no impression despite riding the second kilometre slightly the faster.
Huizenga shocks Wiggins
By Ben Atkins in Manchester
The one certainty of this afternoon's qualification was that home rider and reigning World Champion Bradley Wiggins would qualify fastest – the only question was by how much. Unexpectedly, Dutch rider Jenning Huizenga, whose only notable result this season has been a silver medal at the Los Angeles World Cup – not only managed to stay with Wiggins for the whole distance, but actually overtook him on the last lap to qualify fastest. The two will meet again in this evening's final though, as Wiggins finished not far behind in second place.
Alexei Markov of Russia flew through his qualifier and caught his opponent just as he crossed the line to temporarily take the lead from a blistering Hayden Roulston, who had set the early best time. The New Zealander caught his opponent – Germany's Robert Bengsch – who was disqualified for taking pace for almost half of the race. Markov and Roulston will ride off for bronze this evening.
An odd number of riders started the afternoon session in the absence of Great Britain's Rob Hayles, who was declared unfit to start this morning after a UCI blood control found him to be over the 50% haematocrit limit.
David O'Loughlin, Ireland's only representatives at the championships, knocked almost five seconds off his personal best time – the Irish national record – but it wasn't quite enough for the medal finals and he finished in sixth place. Australian former World Champion Bradley McGee started steadily and accelerated towards the end, but was ultimately pushed into fifth. Seventeen year-old World Junior Champion Taylor Phinney (USA) put in a very solid ride for seventh place against the far more experienced opposition.
Finals For Gold 1 Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) 4.18.52 (55.701 km/h) 2 Jenning Huizenga (Netherlands) 4.23.47 For Bronze 3 Alexei Markov (Russian Federation) 4.21.10 4 Hayden Roulston (New Zealand) 4.23.66 Qualifying 1 Jenning Huizenga (Netherlands) 4.16.34 (56.174 km/h) 2 Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) 4.17.02 3 Alexei Markov (Russian Federation) 4.18.24 4 Hayden Roulston (New Zealand) 4.18.33 5 Bradley McGee (Australia) 4.20.43 6 David O'Loughlin (Ireland) 4.20.91 7 Luke Roberts (Australia) 4.21.89 8 Taylor Phinney (United States Of America) 4.22.36 9 Antonio Tauler Llull (Spain) 4.22.65 10 Volodymyr Dyudya (Ukraine) 4.22.73 11 Alexander Serov (Russian Federation) 4.22.74 12 Dominique Cornu (Belgium) 4.22.79 13 Sergi Escobar Roure (Spain) 4.24.13 14 Jens Mouris (Netherlands) 4.24.48 15 Marc Ryan (New Zealand) 4.24.78 16 Robert Bartko (Germany) 4.25.14 17 Phillip Thuaux (Australia) 4.26.43 18 Vitaliy Popkov (Ukraine) 4.27.04 19 Sun Jae Jang (Korea) 4.28.40 20 Carlos Eduardo Alzate Escobar (Colombia) 4.29.94 21 Jairo Perez Suarez (Colombia) 4.33.50 22 Dominique Stark (Switzerland) 4.36.39