GB tops LA track Worlds medal table
track championships in Los Angeles have drawn to a close, and, after a great four days of
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Great Britain ended the Los Angeles world track championships at the head of the international medal table to emphasise their growing power as a world force. It was the nation’s most successful Worlds campaign ever. Another emotional victory in the final session of racing, by veteran Rob Hayles and wide-eyed debutant, 19-year-old Mark Cavendish, took Britain’s haul of gold to four, as the pair stole a lap in the Madison to clinch victory. Team GB also won silver and bronze in the men’s kilometre time trial. “The next training sessions are going to be ridiculous,” said Hayles, “with all these world champion’s jerseys knocking around.” But with two golds, three silvers and three bronze, the Netherlands, another national squad with fast-developing young talent, were hot on British heels, despite having much smaller budgets. With the Beijing Olympic Games already uppermost in most minds, it seems clear that sprint talents such as Theo Bos are the coming force in Dutch track cycling. The closing session on the tight bends of the ADT Center velodrome in Carson saw Olga Slyusareva of Russia take gold in the women’s scratch race, with Rene Wolff of Germany claiming the men’s sprint title from Mickael Bourgain of France. The Madison title brought a second gold for Hayles (and tears to the eyes of his partner Cavendish), while Clara Sanchez of France was crowned champion in the women’s keirin. Elsewhere, gold medals were few and far between for the French, Australians, Russians and Italians, although the Aussies in fact won more medals – nine in total – than any other nation, even if the Dutch ran them close with eight. But these were Team GB’s championships and the rise of the track cycling team is making waves around the world’s velodromes. “When I first came to major championships with the team nobody spoke to us,” Team GB Performance Director David Brailsford said. “This time, I’ve had three well-known coaches from other nations come up to me give me their CVs.” And Brailsford is bullish about what the future holds. “Out of 18 medal possibilities in cycling at the Beijing Games, as things stand today, I think that we can get on the plane with 15 real shots at a medal,” he said.