Posted by Editoress on 03/26/09
The first day of competition at the Track Worlds saw four titles awarded, with none going to the powerhouse British squad. Canada had one rider contesting a final - Zach Bell in the Men's Points Race, where he finished a career high ninth.
Men's Points Race
Australian Cameron Meyer won this through tactics rather than brute strength, letting World Cup champion Chris Newton (GBr) take lots of early seconds and thirds to build up a lead, before attacking hard in the second half of the 160 lap race to win four intermediate sprints to win the title. Newton was bumped to third by a young Danish rider Daniel Kreutzfeldt, who also scored some points late in the race. Meyer had one scare let in the race, when the defending champion, Vasili Kiryienka (Belarus) came close to taking a lap, and 20 points, but led the chase to limit the loss.
Bell, who came into the race with only a week of track training, was happy with the progress he has made in the event, finishing his first ever final at the Worlds. Bell scored points in two early sprints, and then again late in the race, but missed some key moves that took points in the middle part of the competition.
"For me it went okay, given the time I've put into the track," commented Bell afterwards. "It wasn't a fantastic result, but I raced smart, and I don't think there was much more I could have done. It's a Personal Best for me at the Worlds."
"Coming in, we were targeting a top-5, but the way the race surged a lot hurt me. I've been training mostly road, so it hurt me a bit here. It didn't play to my strengths."
As usual, the final came down to the Brits versus the French, but the British squad was missing their anchor man Hoy, with only Jamie Staff from the Olympic gold squad racing. This gave the French a rare opportunity to take the title, but only by 0.359 seconds. Germany took an even closer bronze medal final over Australia, by 74/100ths of a second.
Women's Individual Pursuit Final
New Zealand's Alison Shanks beat favoured Wendy Houvenaghel (GBr) for the gold medal, after the Olympic silver medalist faded badly in the final kilometre. Vilija Sereikaite (Lithuania) defeated World Cup champion Joanna Rowsell (GBr) for the bronze medal. Canada's Tara Whitten finished seventh, a vast improvement over last year's 16th place.
Women's 500m TT
Another upset here, with Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaite not only beating world record holder Anna Meares (Australia), but demolishing the Australian's two year old world record by nearly two tenths of a second. Krupeckaite rode around the track after her ride with her hands over her mouth, shocked by her accomplishment. Olympic sprint champion Victoria Pendleton (GBr) took the bronze medal.