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2008 UCI Track Cycling World Championships - CM
Great Britain, March 26-30, 2008
Day 2 - March 27: Women's individual pursuit
Romero hammers Hammer
By Ben Atkins and Shane Stokes in Manchester
It really must be time to stop referring to Rebecca Romero as "former rower" after she showed defending champion Sarah Hammer who is now the undisputed number one in this discipline. Romero rode the first kilometre over a second faster than Hammer and never looked like relinquishing anything as Hammer was visibly tiring.
The Briton maintained the pressure throughout - and had the American in sight in the final laps - to punch the air as she finished six an a half seconds clear, less than a second slower than her national record breaking qualification time.
"I had no idea what was going on, to be honest," Romero told Cyclingnews. "My plan was just to ride my pace. In the race I developed it to two kilometres and then from that point I really just raced it home.
"It doesn't matter where it is," she continued. "It is basically an individual time trial. I had discussed with my coach that he would stand on one side of the line or the other in the last kilometre, depending on where I was, but I didn't believe that he was giving me the right information. He might have been telling me I was up, but she could have been right up my backside. So I didn't know."
Despite having now completed the crossover to cycling, her rowing roots are difficult to ignore. "The foundations of the athlete I am came from rowing, that is part of me and without that I wouldn't have got to where I am at the moment," said Romero.
However, the partisan home crowd definitely spurred the new champion on, and is something she never experienced on the water. "In rowing you would never get that," explained Romero. "To be here in our home world championships and have such a big crowd, that is unbelievable. I have rowing medals but there was never such a crowd. The winning is awesome but it is the sharing it with everyone, which makes it worthwhile.
"This was phenomenal," she concluded.
The Bronze medal run was decided by Australian Katie MacTier, who beat local Wendy Houvenaghel in a tight run. In the end, less than two seconds separated the two.
Women's pursuit qualifying ends in déjà vu final
The qualifying rounds of the women's pursuit ended in a near repeat of last year, with the same four women qualifying for the gold and bronze medal finals. The times, however, were much closer between the top four places, with Great Britain's Rebecca Romero using the home town crowd to propel her to the top seed, smashing the national record in the process.
The final two heats provided the most excitement, with the four fastest women saved for last. In the penultimate heat, Katie Mactier (Australia) led from the first lap, pulling over half a second out of Wendy Houvenaghel (Great Britain), but the British woman stayed in touch throughout and managed to overhaul the Australian on the final lap and break the British record in the process. Houvenaghel had just a few minutes to enjoy her new record, as the next –and final – pair on the track was the gold and silver medallists from Mallorca last year, and the two fastest women in the world.
After a slow start, both Sarah Hammer (USA) and Romero started to pile on the pressure and soon eclipsed the current fastest split times. After 2000m, the pair were in a near dead-heat, but in the final kilometre, Romero pulled a steady 0.4 seconds per lap out of her opponent, and went on to not only smash Houvenaghel's new national record but break the track record too.
The medal finals will be repeats of the final two heats with Romero taking on Hammer once again, and Houvenaghel against Mactier.
With a British rider in both races it should be a real treat for the very partisan Manchester crowd. World Cup Winner Vilija Sereikaite looked to be on for a strong ride, but her very fast first thousand metres couldn't be sustained and she faded rapidly in the latter stages and ended up a lowly 11th.
Final 1 Rebecca Romero (Great Britain) 2 Sarah Hammer (United States Of America) Qualifying 1 Rebecca Romero (Great Britain) 3.29.59 (51.528 km/h) 2 Sarah Hammer (United States Of America) 3.31.04 3 Wendy Houvenaghel (Great Britain) 3.31.75 4 Katie Mactier (Australia) 3.32.04 5 Eleonora Van Dijk (Netherlands) 3.32.51 6 Lesya Kalitovska (Ukraine) 3.33.93 7 Alison Shanks (New Zealand) 3.35.21 8 Maria Luisa Calle Williams (Colombia) 3.35.51 9 Karin Thürig (Switzerland) 3.36.23 10 Verena Joos (Germany) 3.36.36 11 Vilija Sereikaite (Lithuania) 3.36.37 12 Lada Kozlikova (Czech Republic) 3.37.93 13 Elena Chalykh (Russian Federation) 3.39.08 14 Yelizaveta Bochkarova (Ukraine) 3.40.42 15 Leire Olaberria Dorronsoro (Spain) 3.41.56 16 Tara Whitten (Canada) 3.42.93 17 Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) 3.44.24 18 Min Hye Lee (Korea) 3.44.93 19 Olga Slyusareva (Russian Federation) 3.45.30 20 Svetlana Paulikaite (Lithuania) 3.48.25