Track World Championships: More “Ashes” battles dominate the penultimate day as former champions take back their titles
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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Track World Championships: More “Ashes” battles dominate the penultimate day as former champions take back their titles

by Ben Atkins at 10:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track, World Championships
Trott takes the Omnium; Meyer responds with the Points Race; Baugé takes back his sprint crown; Meares gets a Keirin consolation

gregory baugeDay four in the Melbourne velodrome saw yet more “Ashes” battles between host nation Australia and its old enemy Great Britain. The women’s Omnium and the men’s Points race went down to close fights between the two rival nations, while the Individual Pursuit was to see almost total dominance from members of the defeated Australian Team.

The men’s Sprint and women’s Keirin were to go to old champions, both of whom had a point to prove.

Women’s Omnium: Laura Trott takes second gold in pre-Olympic test
After the two of them were locked together on eleven points at the end of day one, the second half of the Omnium was always going to be a battle between Great Britain’s Laura Trott and Australia’s Annette Edmondson. Round one went to Trott, as she finished third in the morning’s Individual Pursuit, one place ahead of Edmondson; victory for defending champion Tara Whitten of Canada though, with a time of 3:30.011, and second place for the United States’ Sarah Hammer saw the two North Americans move back into contention.

A tactical Scratch Race saw Trott and Edmondson mark one another as Liere Olaberria of Spain outsprinted Belgium’s Jolien D’Hoore for the victory. Once again, better placings for Hammer and Whitten - with ninth and 11th respectively - saw them close further, with Trott and Edmondson back in 13th and 14th.

Trott went into the final 500 metre Time Trial with a two point cushion over the Australian, with Edmondson needing to beat the 19-year-old Briton by at least three places to take the title.

The 500 metres is Trott’s strongest event however, and a time of 35.173 was good enough to win the event, although Edmondson was just seven-thousandths of a second slower in second place. Just one point to add to her cumulative total meant that the rider who lives less than 20 miles from London’s Olympic velodrome will go into the summer’s games as the reigning World champion.

Result Individual Pursuit
1. Tara Whitten (Canada) 3:30.011
2. Sarah Hammer (United States) 3:31.651
3. Laura Trott (Great Britain) 3:31.789
4. Annette Edmondson (Australia) 3:32.454
5. Evgenia Romanyuta (Russia) 3:36.049

Result Scratch Race
1. Liere Olaberria (Spain)
2. Jolien D’Hoore (Belgium)
3. Sofia Arreola (Mexico)
4. Huang Li (China)
5. Kanako Kase (Japan)

Result 500m Time Trial
1. Laura Trott (Great Britain) 35.173
2. Annette Edmondson (Australia) 35.180
3. Hsiao Mei Yu (Chinese Taipei)
4. Sarah Hammer (United States)
5. Marlies Mejias Garcia (Cuba)

Final Women’s Omnium Standings
1. Laura Trott (Great Britain) 28pts
2. Annette Edmondson (Australia) 31
3. Sarah Hammer (United States) 36
4. Tara Whitten (Canada) 39
5. Huang Li (China) 53

Men’s Individual Pursuit: Michael Hepburn defeats Jack Bobridge in all-Aussie final
Doubtless still smarting from their home venue defeat in the Team Pursuit, the Australian men came out fastest in the Individual event. Surprisingly however, it was not World record holder Jack Bobridge that qualified in first place, but compatriot - and GreenEdge teammate - Michael Hepburn that put himself into pole position with a time of 4:13.224.

Drawn against Hepburn in the qualification, Bobridge was by far the fastest in the opening 3000 metres; he faded in the final kilometre however, to finish a second and a half behind, but was still good enough to go through to the final.

The ride for gold went the same way as qualification, with Bobridge starting the fastest, but fading in the closing kilometres, and the more steady Hepburn took the rainbow jersey in a time of 4:15.839.

New Zealand’s Westley Gough managed to prevent an all-Australia podium with victory over Rohan Dennis in the race for bronze. As in the gold medal race, Dennis - who had qualified a second faster - surged ahead in the opening laps and was almost a second and a half up by the 3000 metre point. The Australian faded badly in the closing kilometre however, with the more consistent Kiwi taking the race by a similar margin.

Result Men’s Individual Pursuit
1. Michael Hepburn (Australia) 4:15.839
2. Jack Bobridge (Australia) 4:16.313
3. Westley Gough (New Zealand) 4:16.945
4. Rohan Gough (Australia) 4:18.594
5. Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)

Women’s Keirin: Anna Meares exorcises Sprint demons with a dominant display
After the disappointment of losing out to big rival Victoria Pendleton in the previous day’s sprint - and having to settle for the bronze medal in front of her home crowd - Australia’s Anna Meares cruised to retain her Keirin title.

The 28-year-old Queenslander won both of her first and second round races, then took the front in the final and never looked like being passed by the others. Ekaterina Gnidenko of Russia pulled alongside as they hit the line, but Meares was already easing up to celebrate her title with the Australian crowd; Kristina Vogel, who was half of the German pair that had defeated Meares in the Team Sprint, took the bronze medal.

Result Women’s Keirin
1. Anna Meares (Australia)
2. Ekaterina Gnidenko (Russia)
3. Kristina Vogel (Germany)
4. Guo Shuang (China)
5. Clara Sanchez (France)

Men’s Sprint: Grégory Baugé takes back his crown amid yet more disqualifications
Frenchman Grégory Baugé dominated the men’s Sprint championship to take back the jersey - that was taken away from him by anti-doping authorities over whereabouts violations - from the man it was awarded to, Great Britain’s Jason Kenny.

The multiple World champion beat the British Olympic silver medallist in the first race, but Kenny attacked from the gun in the second race, sprinting for the entire 750 metres, and managed to prevent Baugé from coming past. The commissaires were to have their say again however, since Kenny had visibly moved off his line on the final bend, and the race - and the title - were awarded to Baugé.

Kenny’s presence in the final has doubtless complicated things for the Great Britain team’s Olympic selection, since he defeated three-time Beijing champion Chris Hoy to get there.

Hoy himself cruised past the challenge of Australia’s Shane Perkins in two races to take the bronze medal.

Result Men’s Sprint
1. Grégory Baugé (France)
2. Jason Kenny (Great Britain)
3. Chris Hoy (Great Britain)
4. Shane Perkins (Australia)
5. Robert Förstemann (Germany)

Men’s Points Race: A late lap wins a third title for Cameron Meyer
On one of the rare occasions that the host nation was to get the better of old enemy Great Britain in head to head battles, Australia’s Cameron Meyer took a super-close victory over Ben Swift in the men’s Points Race, having taken a lap on the field in the closing stages.

The early running was made by Swift, who took the first two sprints without too much effort, but as the race progressed he began to face pressure from Belgian six-day star Kenny De Ketele and Spain’s Unai Elorriaga, as the pair of them racked up the points.

In a highly aggressive race there were a number of major attacks, but nobody was able to get far enough away from the attentive peloton to gain a lap. This was until Meyer set off with New Zealander Aaron Gate; Swift tried to follow at first, along with a few other riders, but the two southern hemisphere men managed to get away and join the rear of the field.

During the attack Meyer had also taken the penultimate sprint - with Swift only managing third - and so, as they approached the finish line, the Australian had 33 points to De Ketele’s 30, and Swift’s 27. Victory in the sprint for the British rider lifted him above the Belgian, but Meyer was out of reach and he crossed the line to take an oh-so-close, but highly emotional third World title in front of his home fans.

Result Men’s Points Race
1. Cameron Meyer (Australia) 33pts
2. Ben Swift (Great Britain) 32
3. Kenny De Ketele (Belgium) 30
4. Aaron Gate (New Zealand) 28
5. Unai Elorriaga (Spain) 24


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