Team Great Britain failed to repeat their Olympic success on the first day of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Pruszkow, Poland.
They bagged two silver and two bronze medals yesterday, but with Sir Chris Hoy injured and several young riders making their World Champs debut, it was clear there would not be the same domination as in Beijing.
Points race: Meyer leaves ’em gasping
Australia’s Cameron Meyer won the tough battle in the points race. The 21-year-old Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 professional took the second half of the race by the scruff of the neck and pushed Denmark’s Daniel Keutzfeldt into second spot and Britain’s Chris Newton into third.
Newton took an early lead in the 160-lap race but he was forced to do a lot of work pulling back breakaway groups intent on taking a lap. Meyer was in a lot of the attacking action as was Colby Pearce (USA), Kam Po Wong (Hong Kong) and 2008 champion Vasili Kirienka (Belarus).
Meyer managed to break away in a group containing Germany’s Roger Kluge, Pearce and Kirienka, and the leaders mopped up the sprint points. Meyer took most of the points in 4 of the last sprints.
“I really wanted the rainbow jersey,” said Meyer. “I was so hungry for it tonight. I didn’t want to come fourth again. I have gone out and picked up early points in the last few points races I have done so this time I sort of sat back a little. There were a lot of tired legs at the halfway stage and I had the legs when the move went, and to come away with the jersey is unbelievable.”
Cameron Meyer (Australia) just can’t stop smiling after he wins gold in the points race
Women’s pursuit: Shanks turns the tables on Houvenaghel
Kiwi Alison Shanks reversed the positions from the pursuit qualification when she outgunned Wendy Houvenaghel (Great Britain) to win the gold medal in the women’s 3,000m individual pursuit.
Houvenaghel had the lead after 1,000m but Shanks scorched round the track to win by over 1.5 seconds with the Brit not able to live up to her position as pre-race favourite. Vilija Sereikaite (Lithuania) beat British youngster Joanna Rowsell in the bronze medal final.
“It felt good today,” said Shanks. “We went out there with a game plan to ride my own race for the first 6 laps to make sure I had enough left in the tank to race in the second half and it worked. Over the past few years I have always gone faster in the second round and I realised that if I nailed it technically and didn’t blow myself up, that I would be able to fight for it in the last 4 laps where it counts.”
In qualifying, Houvenaghel went fastest, zipping round the warm track while outside the snow lay on the ground in temperatures dropping to below zero. Shanks needed to improve by a least 1.5 seconds if she was to beat the British rider in the final.
When the pair met in the same qualifying ride, Houvenaghel led from the first kilometre and appeared in no danger of losing. Edyta Jasinska finished off the first qualifying session after the Polish rider got a restart after crashing earlier during qualifying.
Alison Shanks (New Zealand) delighted after winning
Women’s 500m time trial: Krupeckaite shows world-record-breaking perfection
Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) blasted round the 250m track to smash the world record and emerge the gold medal winner in the women’s 500m time trial.
Australia’s Anna Meares had set the early time to beat when she recorded 33.796sec and this time stayed top of the board before it was challenged.
Britain’s golden girl Victoria Pendleton could only manage 34.102 but that was enough to give her the bronze medal. The Lithuanian’s winning time was half a second faster than Meares’s.
Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) broke the world record
Men’s team sprint: France back on top
The French trio of Gregory Bauge, Mickael Bourgain and Kevin Sireau won the men’s team sprint final against Great Britain. The British team were without triple Olympic medallist Chris Hoy, but any country would be proud to have Matt Crampton, Jason Kenny and Jamie Staff in their lineup.
The French team got off to an amazing start when they edged the British team, led off by fast starter Jamie Staff on the first lap. The French trio held on to win the gold.
Germany beat Australia in the bronze medal ride off. The Aussies had started slightly quicker and were ahead after the first 2 laps but the German team just managed to claw their way back to take the final podium place.
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