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2006 UCI Track Cycling World Championships - CM

France, April 13-16, 2006

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Women's 500m time trial

Tsylinskaya does it again

By Mal Sawford in Bordeaux

Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus)
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Young French rider Sandie Clair was first off, and posted a respectable time of 35.114. Her time survived the next six challengers, including one of the medal chances, Australia’s Kerrie Meares. The first to lower the time was 18-year-old Cuban Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez, who stormed through the opening lap in 19.218, which eventually proved to be the best start of all the women. She stopped the clock in 34.609, a time which stood until the final two riders. Shuang Gao (China) Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) and Victoria Pendleton (Britain) were all less than a tenth of a second slower, but Anna Meares ended the debutant's dream of a world title when she took the top position in 34.332.

While Guerra’s time surprised many, the rider herself had high hopes. When asked if she expected to do so well, she replied “Yes, actually I was training in the [UCI] world cycling centre, and with my times in training and after getting focussed for the world championships and how I was going in the training, I knew I was going to take a medal.”

Tsylinskaya has dominated the time trial since 2002, only missing 2004 when Meares took the win. The powerfully built 30-year-old was once again up to the pressure, beating Meares’ start time by a tenth, and pulling further away in the second lap to win in an impressive 34.152. Spectators could have been excused for thinking it was Tsylinskaya’s first win as she jumped for joy on the podium. “This is my seventh title,” she said through an interpreter later, “but each time is like the first time! I really wanted to win it. I didn’t really have a doubt that I could, but you never know until the race is over.” The champion has no plans to stop at seven rainbow jersey’s either. “I am 30 years old, but I will keep going at least until Beijing, and then we’ll see…”

Meares was all smiles after her race, but admitted to being “a little bit stuffed now, but I’m very happy with that. I had the Comm Games a couple of weeks ago and one thing I bought out of that was, ‘cos I haven’t ridden time trials much this year, was that I really needed to emphasise my lines; riding on the black. I did that really well I think, and I’m very happy with my time.”

The slow times in the morning session left many riders pondering gear selections, but Meares eventually opted to leave things unchanged. “I wasn’t sure how the track was. This morning it was slow because it’s cold and the things with the times [tonight] was you couldn’t really tell if the track was fast or not. So I really couldn’t get a good judge on it - I thought ‘ah, bugger it, just get out and do what you normally do’”. With the sprint and keirin to follow, Meares is on track for a successful campaign, and has had no trouble with her back in recent weeks. “It’s been really good, and that’s a good sign for next season as well. I really want to get a good twelve months of solid training under my belt, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Guerra may have looked a little lost during the presentation ceremony, but expects to get a lot more practice in years to come.Cyclingnews asked if she could see herself on the top step in the future; she had no hesitation in answering, “I think so, yes.” As to the timing: “Next year! I hope so, I will be better by then.”


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mitch Friedman/www.mitchophoto.com


1 Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus)             34.152
2 Anna Meares (Australia)                    34.352
3 Lizandra Guerra (Cuba)                     34.609
4 Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain)         34.614
5 Jens Mouris (Netherlands)                  34.668
6 Shuang Guo (China)                         34.717
7 Sandie Clair (France)                      35.114
8 Céline Nivert (France)                     35.187
9 Tamilia Abassova (Russia)                  35.262
10 Yvonne Hijgenaar (Netherlands)            35.330
11 Elisa Frisoni (Italy)                     35.384
12 Nancy Contreras (Mexico)                  35.399
13 Dana Gloss (Germany)                      35.510
14 Kerrie Meares (Australia)                 35.551
15 Miriam Welte (Germany)                    35.665
16 Magdalena Sara (Poland)                   36.005
17 Diana Maria Garcia Orrego (Colombia)      36.060