Posted by Editoress on 03/16/06
Commonwealth Games Melbourne, Australia
Reports made possible by the support of MAXXIS tires
Men's Points Qualifying photos
There were no surprises in this morning's qualifying round of the Men's Points Race, with all the top riders easily qualifying for tonight's final. Canadians Martin Gilbert and Zach Bell rode in heats one and two respectively and qualified for tonight.
In the first heat eight riders ended up lapping the field, and in the second five did the same. Gilbert made the break group in the first heat, while Bell missed that front group and had to get his spot through riding aggressively in the sprints.
Martin Gilbert: "I had a really good ride; and just tried to avoid using too much energy. I got three points in the first sprint, and then I joined a group of four which lapped the field after seven or eight laps. After that we rode towards the back of the field and avoided any chance of crashing.
I think tonight Greg Henderson (New Zealand) will be good - he looks strong and has a good helper (Hayden Roulston). The Brits will have about 11 guys; I know they are "split up", but theywill be all together I think. Zach and I, we will attack, go for points, watch the big guys and get into some breaks if we can. Zach and I both have good form right now, so it should be good."
Zach Bell: "I only get three or four opportunities a year to do a Points Race, so not so many chances to practice. So this morning I was going for sprints, making sure that I was in good position; just working on tactics and skills."
We also had a chance to talk to Zach about his Pursuit ride last night; a ride that saw him smash the Canadian national record by a good four seconds, with Svein Tuft coming within a second of the record on his first attempt at the discipline.
"Yeah, I broke it by a few good seconds. That was the goal for this race - after Sydney (World Cup) I was within two seconds, so we decided for the Games to go for the Canadian record. I knew that the Scots and the Brits were going for gold, so this was a goal for me.
I had a good ride - it wasn't perfect, but almost. Anytime you start to change the schedule it takes a while to get into it. I've had a twelve second decrease since the beginning of the year, so once I get the technique then I think I can maybe take of another two seconds.
I thought early in the ride that I was going out too fast. I lost a few tenths in the last two laps, but that's pretty good. I probably could have been a little steadier - I have to work on my start. I am working on bringing the first kilo down but still be comfortable in kilos two and three."
Zach also spoke about Svein Tuft and his pursuit: "Everyone knows he's an engine; by the next ride he'll get a better start and improve four seconds. Hopefully he does stick with it; it gives us huge potential for the Team Pursuit. With Martin's (Gilbert) speed and one more guy we could be good.
Eric (Wohlberg) could be great if he is interested; we tried to talk (Geoff) Kabush into doing the Pursuit here, but he says he needs a year with an extra six months to train for it..."
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