Posted by Editoress on 03/27/09
Women's Sprint, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4 finals
Men's Team Pursuit, qualifying and final
Day Three of the Track World Championships saw the start of the Sprint events, with the women doing their Flying 200 metre qualification and the first rounds of competition. The women's Scratch Race also took place, as well as the Kilo and Team Pursuit for the men. Canada had two competitors - Monique Sullivan in the Sprint and Tara Whitten in the Scratch Race.
There were no surprises in qualifying, with defending champion and Olympic gold medalist Victoria Pendleton (GBr) taking the top spot, followed by 500m TT winner Simona Krupeckaite (Ltu) second. Sullivan qualified 19th in 11.702 seconds, which put her up against veteran Willy Kanis (Ned) in the first round. Sullivan tried leading from the front to force Kanis up and around, but the Dutch rider was too strong and came around her in the last two corners to eliminate Sullivan.
Top seeds Pendleton and Krupeckaite made it through the next two rounds without much problem to move onto tonight's semifinals, but Olympic bronze medalist Guo Shuang (Chn) was defeated by a very fast Olga Panarina (Ltu), while Kanis knocked out World Cup champion Lyubov Shulika (Ukr).
"It's my first Worlds, so there is a lot still to learn," said Sullivan. "I wanted to go out and try something, to treat Willy as an equal when I raced against her. I made a mistake at the end, when I came out of the pole lane, which let her in. Without that, i think the race might have been a little closer."
"I didn't want to go into the race already defeated; my goal was to be bold in the race. I think I did the best I could; my preparation was right and I have to be happy with the experience. I give it an E for Effort."
Sullivan took a semester off school to go down to Los Angeles and train with former world champion Tanya Dubnicoff, her coach.
"It was a big change to my lifestyle, I did all the World Cups, got use to all the travel and what is required. Now I am coming onto the track feeling comfortable, which is a big improvement for my confidence, but there are still so many little skills to learn."
In this race everyone was watching to see if young American star Taylor Phinney would take his second title of the championships. However, it was the German veteran sprinter Stefan Nimke who blew away the competition with a time of 1:00.666 (fastest ever recorded at sea level). Phinney took silver with a ride that was the opposite of most, who get slower on the final lap, by getting faster and faster as his four lap ride progressed. "This is how a pursuiter rides a Kilo," he joked. Mohamed Rizal Tisin came close to beating Phinney with 1:01.658 (to Phinney's 1:01.611), and gave Malaysia their first medal of the championships.
Men's Team Pursuit
This was Denmark all the way. After qualifying first with the only sub-4 minute ride (3:59.892), they went even faster in the final, at 3:58.246 . However, a young Australian squad gave them a bit of a scare in the gold medal round. When the Danish lost their first man barely halfway into the race they were a second up, but then the Australians began to fight back, closing to within six-hundredths of a second by the finish. New Zealand beat a young British squad for the bronze, shutting the Olympic champions out of the medals.
Women's Scratch Race
This was a very aggressive race, mainly due to the efforts of Canada's Tara Whitten. Whitten worked hard through the race to get a break established, only to either see it chased down, or die because of lack of horsepower. In the final laps the bunch was still together, and it was going to come down to a sprint, with Cuban Yumari Gonzalez easily outkicking World Cup champion Elizabeth Armistead (GBr) and Belinda Goss (Aus).
"My plan was to go out aggressive, because I had nothing to lose and I wanted to make it a real race," explained Whitten. "It didn't work out because none of the breaks stayed away and no one was working. I don't have the tactics yet for pack racing, so it is better if I can get away. It took a little bit out of my legs for the final sprint, but I'm still learning about bunch races."
However, Whitten is optimistic for the Omnium (Saturday): "This gives me confidence. It didn't work today, but it feels like I have a lot of power in my legs."
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