Posted by Editoress on 01/23/11
Canadian cyclist Tara Whitten of Edmonton, AB, continues to show her domination in women's track cycling with yet another podium performance, by winning the gold medal in the women's Omnium, her third in as many events on the 2011 UCI Track Cycling World Cup Tour and her first career World Cup victory in an individual discipline.
Whitten, the world champion in the new Olympic event, won the gold medal in Beijing, site of the third stop of the 2011 World Cup Tour. With only one more event to go, Whitten has a significant lead of 12 points in the UCI World Cup overall standings.
"I am really happy. This is actually my first individual World Cup win, so this is pretty exciting for me. This is my last World Cup prior to the Worlds, so it is great to leave the 2011 World Cup on a high note," said a jubilant Whitten from Beijing, after the medal ceremonies.
Whitten has won medals in the Omnium events at each of the three UCI World Cup stop - once the gold medal and twice the silver medal.
"It's really nice for my confidence to know that I can consistently be on the podium in the omnium, every race I enter. It's a lot of events [six races] and anything can happen, but I am really happy that it came together three times this season."
Entering Day Two of the women's Omnium in the lead, Whitten went on to win the Individual Pursuit, and then finish tenth and sixth in the Scratch race and the final Time Trial to finish her Omnium with 24 points; huge 13-point lead over the silver medallist, Kristen Wild of the Netherlands.
"I definitely feel more pressure, knowing that I am capable of winning and have won this event, but at the same time I take a lot of confidence knowing I already won before. [Entering the season] I wasn't really thinking about the overall World Cup title," added Whitten. "I am really excited to be in a position to win it, but the main goal of the season was certainly to put myself in a good position for Olympic qualifications, and I have done that. I am really happy about that."
Whitten credits her success to her time spent in Los Angeles at the training centre: "I have been based in LA since July, so that has been a bit of a change. I can get a lot of access to the track, and have high quality training. The team has been here since September, so it's been great to have training partners and an atmosphere of excellence and camaraderie."
With just one more World Cup event to go, Whitten has a 12-point lead over her closest rival in the season's overall standings, virtually guaranteeing her the World Cup Title. Whitten will not be competing at the next World Cup in Manchester, taking a break to prepare for the 2011 World Championships, where she will defend her World title in the Women's Omnium and the Points race
"I am going to skip Manchester to have the chance to do some good training in preparations to the World Championships," explained Whitten. "Every year, I learn a bit better on what kind of training I need to be in peak form, and I think I can put in practice this year what I've learnt so far. I'll have two strong months of training prior to the Worlds, so I am excited to have that opportunity."
North Vancouver's Zach Bell, who won the silver medal in the men's Omnium event on Saturday (ad the overall World Cup lead), took fifth place of the men's Points race, scoring a total of 16 points.
In the Women's Keirin, Monique Sullivan of Calgary, took second place in the opening round to move into the repechage round, where she finished second again, finishing 13th overall.
Stéphane Cossette of Bromont, QC, finished 19th in the men's 1000 metre time trial race, with a time of 1:05.325.
In the men's Sprint event, Travis Smith of Calgary, Alberta, started the day with the 19th fastest time of the qualifiers at 10.555 seconds, falling short of moving on to the quarterfinals. Joseph Veloce of Fonthill, ON, finished 28th.
The Canadian track cycling team will now head back to Los Angeles to continue their training for the main goal of the season: the World Championships to be held in Apeldoorn, Holland in March.
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