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2008 UCI Track Cycling World Championships - CM
Great Britain, March 26-30, 2008
Day 3 - March 28: Men's points race
Kiryienka takes second Gold for Belarus
By Ben Atkins and Shane Stokes in Manchester
Vasili Kiryienka has won Belarus' second gold medal of these World championships after Aliaksandr Lisouski's Scratch Race title yesterday. After taking second in the first sprint, the Belarusian won the second and held his lead right to the end.
"My start was delayed because my bike was too light," said Kiryienka, who rides on the road for Tinkoff Credit Systems. "I was very angry with that and that is why I really wanted to win."
"The victory is important to me as I have now qualified for the Olympic Games," he added. "Also, I have a daughter who is one and a half years old and I won this for her."
The first serious attack of the race was from Milton Wynants Vazquez of Uruguay, he was quickly followed by Andreas Graf (Austria) and Milan Kadrec (Czech Republic), but they never really looked like taking a lap and the rest of the field swept them up after only a few laps. The next attack came quickly from Juan Esteban Arango Carvajal of Colombia, but no one joined him and it came to nothing more than the acquisition of a few points.
An early challenge came in from Australian Cameron Meyer, but he was unable to match the consistent scoring of some of the others and despite a late rally was unable to get into the medals. At just after halfway, Canadian Zachary Bell touched a wheel towards the back of the line and came down heavily. He was visibly winded, but seemed to be unhurt, his race though, was definitely over.
Last year's champion Joan Llaneras Rosello of Spain was active throughout the middle section of the race, but picked up very few points for his troubles. The expected challenges from Great Britain's Mark Cavendish and Belgium's new six-day king Iljo Keisse never materialised, both riders remaining anonymously in the bunch for most of the race, picking up a scant few points between them.
With around 30 laps to go, reigning Olympic champion Mikhail Ignatiev launched a powerful attack and was quickly joined by Meyer and Kiryienka, but the rest of the contenders were in no mood to let them go, particularly 2006 champion Peter Schep (Netherlands) who had begun to mount a challenge.
A few laps later, French rider Christophe Riblon launched a powerful attack, he was followed by Martino Marcotto of Italy and Kiryienka himself - worried about the Frenchman, who if he managed to get a lap would take 20 points and victory.
"I was chasing and got close to the bunch, but couldn't close the last bit," the Frenchman explained. "I thought that I was going to do it, they were just there ahead of me, but they got faster and I couldn't make it."
When asked about this late charge Kiryienka explained that it was riders behind him rather than the lone one ahead that he was concerned with. "I was not worried when the French rider broke away," he said. "I was more worried about the Dutch rider [Schep] or the New Zealand rider [Greg Henderson, who finished in fifth place]."
At one point, Riblon and the bunch were almost in the same straight, but it was to no avail. He managed to take the final two sprints to take him into silver medal position - just one point behind the Belarusian - but Kiryienka hung on to take gold. Schep had done enough mid-race to take the bronze medal ahead of Meyer's late points surge.
1 Vasili Kiryienka (Belarus) 24 pts 2 Christophe Riblon (France) 23 3 Peter Schep (Netherlands) 19 4 Cameron Meyer (Australia) 18 5 Greg Henderson (New Zealand) 17 6 Milan Kadlec (Czech Republic) 14 7 Juan Esteban Arango Carvajal (Colombia) 9 8 Rafal Ratajczyk (Poland) 8 9 Kampo Wong (Hong Kong, China) 5 10 Mikhail Ignatiev (Russian Federation) 5 11 Milton Wynants Vazquez (Uruguay) 5 12 Martino Marcotto (Italy) 4 13 Iljo Keisse (Belgium) 4 14 Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) 3 15 Makoto Iijima (Japan) 3 16 Joan Llaneras Rosello (Spain) 3 17 Marco Arriagada (Chile) 3 18 Andreas Graf (Austria) 2 19 Colby Pearce (United States Of America) 1 20 Casper Jorgensen (Denmark) DNF Zachary Bell (Canada) DNF Dimitrios Gkaliouris (Greece) DNF Chun Kai Feng (Chinese Taipei)