Britain’s Chris Hoy created one of the biggest upsets of the second day of the world track cycling championships by eliminating world sprint champion Theo Bos Thursday.
Former world kilometre champion Hoy, who is set to compete in the keirin and sprint at the Olympics Games in Beijing, will now face Italian Roberto Chiappa in Friday’s semi-finals.
The other semi-final will be an all-French affair between Kevin Sireau and Mickael Bourgain.
Hoy, who helped Britain to the team sprint silver behind champions France on Wednesday, looked to be out after Bos, the reigning world sprint and keirin champion, stunned him with a great tactical move in the first leg of their quarter-final.
However, the big Scot fought back valiantly to level in the second race, then pushed the big Dutchman out by the length of a wheel rim with a strong burst to the finish first in the decider.
It was the first time that Bos, the silver medallist at the Olympics in Athens, had failed to win a sprint round since 2005.
“I’m really gutted. I haven’t lost in a world championship sprint or World Cup since 2005 and I wanted to really keep a hold of the jersey,” said Bos, who has kept a relatively low profile this season as he works with his new Czech coach.
“I have to give credit to Hoy. He beat me fair and square. Now I know there will be some work to do before the Games.”
Hoy, who only turned to the individual sprint fairly recently because his former speciality of the kilometre is no longer in the Olympics, now has a chance to succeed Bos as world champion.
“People see him as invincible, but nobody’s unbeatable – and today I proved that,” Hoy told AFP, admitting that Bos may have been shaken up by doing a third leg decider.
“It always rattles your confidence if you expect to go straight through and you are mentally preparing yourself for two rides – it’s definitely a psychological disadvantage. And so much of this game is psychology.”
The French meanwhile will be glued to what should be an epic duel between 20-year-old Sireau and Bourgain, his training partner and room mate at the French national training centre at Hyeres in southern France.
Sireau will be hoping however to get a good night’s sleep after what he said was a difficult first day of sprinting.
“It’s the first time I’ve been involved in such an intensive sprint competition, it’s nothing like the World Cup (series),” said Sireau, who on paper is likely to have the edge over Bourgain.
“I know my rival well – he’s my training partner and room mate, so it should be an exciting race.”
For more reports, results & photos from the track world championships, see Cyclingnews.com.
© BikeRadar & AFP 2008