London 2012: Australia fights back over Great Britain’s dominance of the velodrome
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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

London 2012: Australia fights back over Great Britain’s dominance of the velodrome

by Ben Atkins at 1:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track, Olympics
 
Anna Meares beats Pendleton, but Hoy defends Keirin and Trott wins women’s Omnium

chris hoyThe final night in the London 2012 velodrome saw Great Britain on top once again, but the host nation did not have things by any means.

In the women’s Omnium, Great Britain’s Laura Trott, who hails from Cheshunt - less than ten miles from the London Olympic Velodrome - took a close-as-possible victory over the United States’ Sarah Hammer in a race that went down to the final 500 metre time trial event. The 20-year-old became the first ever British woman cyclist to take two gold medals, after taking the Team Pursuit three days before.

Anna Meares silenced the London crowds however, to take the gold medal in the women’s Sprint and deny Great Britain’s defending champion Victoria Pendleton in the local rider’s retirement race.

The final event of the Games was the men’s Keirin though, and Sir Chris Hoy saw off the rest of the field to successfully defend his title from four years before, take his second gold medal of London 2012, and a sixth in all; the most ever for a British Olympian.

Laura Trott takes the women’s Omnium to the wire
Beginning the day equal on 12 points each, competition leaders Hammer and Trott were to be separated after the Individual Pursuit, but only by a single point. As a former four-time World champion at the discipline - and holder of the World record - it was hardly surprising that Hammer won the event, in a time of 3:29.554, but Trott was not far behind. The British World champion’s time of 3:30.547 was good enough put her into second place, and so kept her in touch on 14 points to Hammer’s 13.

Canadian Tara Whitten was third, in a time of 3:31.114, but a disastrous Elimination Race the previous day meant that the former two-time World Omnium champion was way off the pace of the two leaders, in joint third place with Australia’s Annette Edmondson on 21 points each.

A cagey Scratch Race saw a number of riders from lowere in the classification try to get away and lap the field in the first half. Trott herself led a break with 11 laps to go, which was briefly countered by Hammer, but all of the big names managed to keep each other under control.

With four laps to go the peloton slowed, but Hammer took it on as the penultimate lap began, with Edmondson on her wheel. Trott tried to get over the top of the two riders but, as the world champion was forced to check a little and go around the outside, the Australian held on to take the win ahead of Hammer, with Trott in third. The result strengthened Edmondson’s hold on the bronze medal over Whitten, who finished sixth; and it raised Hammer’s lead over Trott to two points, with just the 500 metre time trial to come.

Finally, the 500 metres gave France’s sprinter Clara Sanchez an event she could excel at, and the time of 35.451 seconds she set in the second heat was to stand until close to the end. Edmondson - who had finished just a few thousandths of a second behind Trott in the World championships - posted a personal best of 35.140 in the penultimate heat, to confirm the bronze medal ahead of Whitten.

The final event is Trott’s speciality however, and she too went faster than she had in Melbourne back in April, to post 35.110 and victory in the event. Hammer’s time was also faster than Melbourne, but 35.900 was only good enough for fourth, which meant that World champion Trott became Olympic champion too.

Results women’s Omnium

Individual Pursuit
1. Sarah Hammer (United States)
2. Laura Trott (Great Britain)
3. Tara Whitten (Canada)
4. Annette Edmondson (Australia)
5. Tatsiana Sharakova (Belarus)

Scratch Race
1. Annette Edmondson (Australia)
2. Sarah Hammer (United States)
3. Laura Trott (Great Britain)
4. Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)
5. Jolien D’Hoore (Belgium)

500 metre Time Trial
1. Laura Trott (Great Britain)
2. Clara Sanchez (France)
3. Annette Edmondson (Australia)
4. Sarah Hammer (United States)
5. Marlies Mejias (Cuba)

Final overall standings
1. Laura Trott (Great Britain) 18pts
2. Sarah Hammer (United States) 19
3. Annette Edmondson (Australia) 24
4. Tara Whitten (Canada) 37
5. Jolien D’Hoore (Belgium) 45

Anna Meares slays Queen Victoria to take women’s Sprint
Pendleton made it past Germany’s Kristina Vogels in the first race of the semi-final, while Meares also beat China’s Guo Shuang in theirs; despite Guo almost taking the Australian off the track as they both swung down off the banking. Both also won their second races, despite Vogels and Guo putting up more of a challenge this time, and went through to what would be a repeat of the Beijing final from four years ago.

Guo took the first race over Vogel in the race for third place and, despite a strong challenge from the German in the second race, cruised through to take the bronze medal to add to the one she won in Beijing four years before.

Pendleton led out the first contest between the two big rivals, with Meares happy to come around her on the final bend. The defending champion just managed to hold off the Australian though, taking the victory by less than the width of her front tyre. After some deliberation however, the commissaires ruled that Pendleton had strayed from the sprinters’ lane and awarded the race to Meares.

The second race saw Meares try to trap Pendleton against the barriers, but the British rider came around to take the lead. Pendleton hesitated however, allowing Meares to come up behind her and, as they sprinted for the line, the Australian cruised past to almost silence the London crowds.

Result women’s Sprint
1. Anna Meares (Australia)
2. Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain)
3. Guo Shuang (China)
4. Kristina Vogels (Germany)

Sir Chris Hoy is the King of the men’s Keirin
Hoy began the defence of his Keirin title in his usual dominant manner with an attack on the penultimate lap that only New Zealand’s Simon van Velthooven could follow. The second heat went to Germany’s Maximilian Levy, ahead of Teun Mulder of the Netherlands, while the third was taken by Frenchman Mickaël Bourgain - who was appearing on the track for the first time, having bizarrely come to the Olympics as part of France’s road team - ahead of Malaysia’s Azizulhasni Awang.

The repechages offered a second chance to Christos Volikakis (Greece), Juan Peralta (Spain), and Njisane Phillip (Trinidad & Tobago), who went through in the first race, and Kazanuri Watanabe (Japan), Hersony Canelon (Venezuela) and Shane Perkins (Australia) in the second.

The first of the second round races had to be restarted as Peralta came off at the start after breaking his pedal straps. On the restart, Hoy adopted a similar tactic to his first round ride, coming around Awang with two laps to go and riding to the finish. Awang refused to let go of the Scotsman’s wheel, despite the attentions of Mulder, and the three crossed the line in that order with Phillip a close fourth.

Bougain tried to ride the second race in the same way as Hoy but, as the rest battled for the places behind him, the Frenchman found himself passed by Levy, van Velthooven and Perkins just before the line.

The final race saw Awang take the front again, as soon as the derny bike had pulled away. Hoy came around him with two laps to go however, and set about his usual tactic of leading to the line. Levy had other ideas however, and came around Hoy in the final lap, but Hoy had the inside of the track and was able to come around the German in the finishing straight to take the victory by half a length.

Levy held on to take the silver medal, while the commissaires were unable to separate van Velthooven and Mulder, who were both awarded bronze.

Result men’s Keirin
1. Chris Hoy (Great Britain)
2. Maximilian Levy (Germany)
=3. Simon van Velthooven (New Zealand)
=3. Teun Mulder (Netherlands)
5. Shane Perkins (Australia)
6. Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia)

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