American teenager Taylor Phinney struck gold in the men’s pursuit to end the United States’ 16-year wait for the title at the UCI World Track Championships in Poland Thursday.
Phinney fulfilled pre-race predictions to overcome a strong challenge from Australian Jack Bobridge, who finished second. Belgian Dominique Cornu won bronze after beating Volodymyr Dyudya.
With 2008 world and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins not competing, the way was open for the likes of Phinney, considered the new sensation of American cycling, to strike gold.
He dominated qualifying in style, with a new American record of 4 minutes, 15.160 seconds for the 16 laps of the track.
In what turned out to be a battle of the 19-year-olds in the final, Bobridge fought valiantly, keeping Phinney within his sights over a tight first half of the race.
No teenage panache here, eh?: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images
However, Phinney soon began to edge ahead, and by the 3000m mark took his advantage to 0.5 of a second over Bobridge.
In the end Phinney finished in a time of 4:17.631 to become the first American champion in the 4km event since Mike McCarthy in 1992.
Born in Boulder, Colorado, Phinney is the son of successful cycling parents. Father Davis won bronze in the 100km time trial in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the same year his mother Connie Carpenter won gold in the women’s road race.
The world record in the event is 4:11.114, set by Britain’s Chris Boardman at Manchester in 1996.
Britain redeems itself with women’s team pursuit gold
Britain finally grabbed a gold medal on Thursday after successfully defending their women’s team pursuit crown against New Zealand.
Australia beat the Netherlands in the bronze medal match.
In the absence of Olympic pursuit champion Rebecca Romero of England, northern Irishwoman Wendy Houvenaghel was the elder stateswoman for Britain, who went nearly three seconds faster than their qualifying time to finish in 3 minutes 22.720.
New Zealand fought hard throughout the race, but the efforts of the earlier session appeared to take their toll in the latter stages.
After trailing by just 0.138 of a second at the 2000m mark, a further four laps on the Kiwis finished the race in 3:23.9.
It’s the second medal of the championships for both Houvenaghel and New Zealand’s Alison Shanks, who beat Houvenaghel to gold in the women’s individual event on Wednesday.
The Netherlands proved no match for the Australian trio of Ashlee Ankudinoff, Sarah Kent and Josephine Tomic, who took the bronze in a time of 3:24.972.
Women’s team sprint
Australian pair Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch stunned defending champions Britain to win gold in the women’s team sprint final Thursday.
Lithuania claimed the bronze medal in a tight medal match-up with France.
Starting on first wheel Meares, who claimed silver in the women’s 500m time trial Wednesday when she lost her world record, powered over the first lap of the track to lead Britain’s Shanaze Reade by the slimmest of margins.
Despite having to hold off world and Olympic sprint champion Victoria Pendleton, McCulloch, just 21 years old, finished off the job to bring Australia home in a time of 33.149 seconds.
Britain clocked a time of 33.380.
Pendleton took a well deserved bronze in the 500m time trial Wednesday, but after losing this crown will turn to more serious matters in the women’s sprint tournament.
Meares is not competing in the coveted speed event. However, Lithuania’s Simona Krupeckaite, the new world 500m champion and record holder, will be one of the Englishwoman’s big rivals.
Krupeckaite proved her worth when she overcame Clara Sanchez in the latter stages of their two-lap battle for the bronze to clock a time of 33.495.
Men’s scratch event
Frenchman Morgan Kneisky upset the field in a chaotic men’s scratch final to win gold on Thursday.
Dario Colla of Argentina took the silver with Austrian Andreas Mueller taking the bronze.
Britain’s Mark Cavendish was left fighting a late battle to catch up with six leaders who had broken away around 12 laps into the 60-lap race and eventually lapped the field.
Australian Travis Meyer, whose older brother Cameron won the points race on Wednesday, helped drive the front runners throughout the race but in the end the 19-year-old had nothing in the tank when Kneisky made a late decisive move with less than a lap to go.
It is France’s second gold of the championships, following their victory over Britain in the men’s team sprint on Wednesday.
Cavendish, a four-time stage winner at last year’s Tour de France, won the Milan-San Remo one-day classic last week with his professional road team Columbia.
A defending two-time champion in the two-man Madison, the Isle of Man rider will look to make amends in Saturday’s event.
Germany’s Maximilian Levy was crowned world keirin king Thursday.
British duo Matthew Crampton and Ross Edgar faded in the last lap as Frenchman Francois Pervis claimed silver and Dutchman Teun Mulder the bronze.
In the motor-paced power event Sergey Borisov of Russia was the first to accelerate, his move with three laps to go being countered by Crampton.
With two laps to go, Levy moved to the front, putting space behind him and the field before Pervis finally inched closer on the final bend.
Last year’s champion Sir Chris Hoy, the reigning Olympic champion, is absent due to injury. That left Britain’s hopes resting on the shoulders of Jason Kenny, Edgar and Crampton. However, they did not have the perfect start in trying to make the final.
In their respective first round heats all three British riders failed to secure either of the first two places that paves the way to the crucial second round, forcing all three into repechages.
Kenny then had the misfortune to fall victim to a faster Crampton in their repechages heat, one in which fancied Kevin Sireau – who helped France to team sprint gold on Wednesday – flattered to deceive by finishing fifth.
Diminutive Scot Edgar, who took keirin silver behind Hoy at the Olympics, made no mistake by surging into an unassailable lead.
Levy, by contrast, had a comparatively easy path to the final, winning his first round heat to go straight into the second round, which he won to qualify for the final.
He becomes the first German since track great Jens Fiedler, in 1999, to lift the keirin crown.
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© BikeRadar & AFP 2009